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President of Colombia reiterates that it is unfair to include Cuba in the list of State sponsors of terrorism

gustavo-petro-blinken-580x386The President of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, reiterated this Monday, at a press conference with the Secretary of State of the United States, Antony Blinken, that the inclusion of Cuba in the United States list of countries that sponsor terrorism is unfair.

“Personally, in this meeting that just took place, I said that what had happened with Cuba is an injustice,” Petro said in the meeting with the head of US diplomacy, who is visiting Colombia.

A Colombian government asked Cuba to host negotiations with the National Liberation Army (ELN) and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Petro recalled.

He recalled that an oversight body from the Barack Obama administration participated in the talks with the FARC and then another Colombian government asked the Donald Trump government to declare Cuba a country that encourages terrorist activities for having the negotiating delegation of peace, “and that is an injustice,” Petro emphasized.

“Therefore, in my opinion, it does not depend on us, it must be corrected,” Petro stressed at the press conference at the Casa de Nariño, seat of the Colombian presidency.

He explained that his government has recovered the role of guarantor countries of the processes that are now beginning for Norway, Cuba, Venezuela and – he stressed – there are other nations such as Spain that have requested that same status.

For his part, Blinken on this issue said that “the United States has clear criteria, laws and requirements and will continue to consider and see if Cuba will continue to have such a designation.”

A few days after the end of his term, the Donald Trump government included Cuba on the questionable list and the then peace commissioner Miguel Ceballos assured that it was an accolade from the US government to the Colombian.

For its inclusion, the false argument was used of the refusal of the Cuban government (guarantor of the peace dialogue between the ELN and the Colombian State) to a request from Iván Duque, who demanded the extradition of the ELN negotiating leaders who were in La Havana after an attack on a police academy in Bogotá.

The former president made the demand, despite knowing the existence of protocols designed and agreed by the parties with strict attention to the provisions of international law for the resolution of internal armed conflicts, including the protocol for the event of the breakdown of the talks.

The concert of voices to exclude Cuba from that arbitrary list is growing in Colombia and today more than 100 well-known intellectuals and academics demanded the removal of Cuba from that list, who join the demand of more than 80 congressmen and hundreds of women, among others.

Also, some 300 faith-based organizations, churches and believers from 23 countries asked Blinken to remove Cuba from the list “of countries that sponsor terrorism.”

Yesterday, the Colombian Foreign Minister, Ávaro Leyva, told a local media outlet that the previous administration ignored this protocol against all international standards.

“We are reviving it, there is the chapter on how to return them, how to bring them, how to take them, how to restart those conversations within a legal framework that implies the suspension of legal action,” he clarified.

“You cannot talk to a person seeking peace and at the same time request his extradition, it would be a contradiction and rather it would be an alternate declaration of war,” the minister assured.

(With information from Prensa Latina)

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