Sun | Jun 16, 2024

CARICOM urges US to delist Cuba as state sponsor of terrorism

Published:Saturday | May 25, 2024 | 10:39 AM
Contributed photo.

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, CMC – Caribbean Community (CARICOM) foreign ministers have renewed calls for the United States to remove Cuba from its list of states that are “not cooperating fully” in the fight against terrorism.

A statement issued following the Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) late Friday noted that the foreign ministers of the 15-member regional integration grouping had welcomed the decision by Washington to remove Havana from its list of State Sponsor of Terrorism (SSOT).

“COFCOR notes, however, that the Republic of Cuba remains on the US State Department's list of countries that have been deemed by the USA to be State Sponsors of Terrorism. COFCOR therefore renews its call for the urgent removal of Cuba from the list of countries deemed to be State Sponsors of Terrorism,” according to the brief statement issued by the regional foreign ministers.

Earlier this week, Belize joined Dominica that had earlier called for Washington to reverse “this unmerited and unjust listing of Cuba as a state which sponsors terrorism,” with Roseau saying it holds firmly that there is no evidence of state-sponsored terrorism acts being supported by Havana.

In its statement, Belmopan said it is “deeply concerned with the arbitrary decision” of the United States to continue to list Cuba on the US State Department's website as SSOT.

“The government of Belize denounces these baseless accusations as there is no evidence that the government of the Republic of Cuba is involved in any such activities,” it said, calling on Washington “to immediately remove Cuba from that list, which has caused and continues to cause much suffering to the Cuban people.”

Last week, Washington said it had removed Cuba from a short list of countries it alleges are “not cooperating fully” in its fight against terrorism.

The US State Department cited the resumption of law enforcement cooperation between Cuba and the US as one the reasons why the previous designation was deemed “no longer appropriate.

“The department determined that the circumstances for Cuba's certification as a 'not fully cooperating country' have changed from 2022 to 2023,” the official said.

Former US President Donald Trump separately designated Cuba a state sponsor of terrorism just prior to leaving office, a jab that Cuba maintains has contributed to a severe economic crisis on the island, and to shortages of food, fuel and medicine.

The Caribbean foreign ministers also reaffirmed their “rejection of the unilateral imposition by the United States of America of the economic, commercial, and financial embargo against Cuba.

“Both the designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism and the 62-year-old embargo are unjust and wrongly imposed upon the Cuban people and must be terminated,” they said in their statement following their two-day meeting.

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