On May 12, 2020, the U.S. State Department announced that Cuba, among other countries, would be certified as “not cooperating fully” with U.S counterterrorism efforts. This alarming, politicized and counterfactual move proves dangerous as it may lead to the reinstatement of Cuba on the “state sponsors of terrorism list”—from which it was removed in 2015—compromising future possibilities for cooperation, dialogue, and the normalization of U.S.-Cuba relations.
In a public note, the State Department justified its actions by mentioning Cuba’s non-compliance with Colombia’s request to extradite National Liberation Army (ELN) peace negotiators in Havana, which would have violated the agreed-upon protocols from the 2016 Havana peace accords. Thus, Cuba has been punished by the United States for honoring the protocols and not extraditing ELN peace negotiators, who are in Havana per explicit request of the Colombian government, after Ecuador withdrew its participation as a host nation.
The Witness for Peace Solidarity Collective echoes the calls of our Cuban and Colombian partners—who have together played a foundational role in the formation of the peace accords—in denouncing this destructive move by the United States.
The retaliatory move comes a day after Cuba denounced the U.S government for its silent complicity and incitement of recent terrorist attacks on the Cuban embassy in Washington D.C. Not only does this hypocritical decision represent a huge blow to international law and the current peace negotiations with the ELN, but serves as another attempt to dismantle the historic peace agreements between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and the Colombian government, widely opposed by the Colombian and U.S. ruling right-wing elite.
It is a clear contradiction that the U.S., with a historical trajectory of state-sponsored terrorism, has labelled the guarantor country of Cuba as complicit in international terrorism, constituting a serious affront to the construction of peace, codification of justice and movement for reparations in Latin America and the Caribbean.