Yesterday, President Obama made a show of removing Cuba from the U.S. list of state-sponsored terrorist nations in an effort to normalize relations between the two countries.
Today, ten soldiers were killed and 17 others injured in western Colombia by militants who are believed to be from FARC, a leftist terror group. The violence breaks a four-month ceasefire between FARC guerrillas and Colombian forces.
Some FARC rebels are currently being harbored by the government of Cuba, instead of being turned over to Colombian authorities. According to documents released by WikiLeaks in 2010:
Image credit: World Affairs Journal
The [Cuban government] allows these groups to enjoy R&R in Cuba and receive medical care and other services… Reporting also indicates that the [Cuban government] is able to influence the FARC.
The secret cable sent in 2009 to Washington from the United States Interest Section in Havana (which operates out of the Swiss embassy there) also indicates that FARC doesn’t conduct operations in Cuba because the group has safe haven in the Caribbean nation. The cable also showed that FARC and Havana actively maintain a relationship through proxy political groups.
Cuban apologists counter that Havana has been hosting peace talks between FARC and Bogota since November of 2012, which demonstrates a willingness to combat terror.
But these negotiations don’t address the current status of any FARC rebels who may be hiding in Cuba. Plus, there have been other recent incidents linking Cuba to other types of support for terrorism or government interference, namely:
- The belief that the Cuban government is “actively developing and supporting the Venezuelan” government
- The July 2013 interception of a North Korean vessel that was carrying Cuban military aircraft and weapons (which were hidden under bags of sugar) headed for the Asian nation, which violates United Nations sanctions against North Korea
- The March detention by Colombian officials of a Chinese ship which contained undocumented weaponry headed for Cuba
- The indictment of pilots with the Cuban Air Force in connection with the 1996 premeditated attack on two U.S. civilian aircraft over international waters, which killed four people
In response to today’s attack on the Colombian troops, President Juan Manuel Santos has ordered the resumption of air attacks on FARC positions within the Latin American country.