Press Advisory: Good first step: Center for a Free Cuba welcomes Biden Administration recognizing Cuba not cooperating in fight against terrorism

Press advisory

Good first step: Center for a Free Cuba welcomes Biden Administration recognizing Cuba not cooperating in fight against terrorism

Contact: John Suarez (612) -367-6845

Center for a Free Cuba. Washington DC. May 23, 2023. The Center welcomes the news that the Biden Administration recognizes that Cuba is not cooperating in the fight against terrorism. This is a step in the right direction. Havana has a decades-long track record of harboring, sponsoring, and training terrorists. 

“Today, Cuba is one of the biggest supporters of Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine that uses terror as a  weapon. Targeting of civilian buildings, hospitals, schools; rape, torture and assassination of prisoners and civilians; and other atrocities, are common among Putin’s troops, just as they were in the Soviet and Nazi armies in WWII. We view with alarm the news revealed on May 18, 2023 by Valery Revenka, Head of the Department of International Military Cooperation – Assistant to the Minister of Defense of the Republic of Belarus for International Military Cooperation, that Cuban military personnel will carry out military training in the Republic of Belarus,  highlighting military cooperation between the two countries.  Belarus permitted Russian Armed Forces to carry out military drills on its territory prior to the war, and to start part of the invasion from its territory. They have also allowed Russian  missile launchers in their territory to attack Ukrainian targets. Cuban troops in Belarus with an in-depth knowledge of Russian weaponry raises questions of possible Cuban involvement in the neighboring conflict,” observed Ambassador Otto J. Reich, president of the Center for a Free Cuba.

Furthermore, the Cuban government has directly engaged in acts of state terrorism. The February 24, 1996 Brothers to the Rescue shootdown is one such example, that killed three U.S. citizens and one resident.

One of the fugitives that Havana still harbors today is William “Guillermo” Morales, a member of the “Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional” (FALN), who made the bomb used in the Fraunces Tavern bombing of January 24, 1975 in New York City that killed four, and wounded over 50 more. FALN was started in the mid-1960s and its members received advanced training in Cuba. According to the FBI, one of the authors of this attack, Filiberto Ojeda Ríos “spent several years in Cuba in the 1960s and received training from the Government of Cuba as an intelligence officer.”

In 2020, Havana refused Colombia’s requests to extradite ten Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN) leaders living in Cuba. ELN claimed responsibility for the January 2019 bombing of a Bogota police academy that killed 22 people and injured over 87 others. Like the FALN, the Cuban government trained, armed, and supported the ELN terrorist group since 1964. Failure to handover the terrorists led to Cuba being returned to the State Department’s list of terror sponsors in 2021.

“The US Congress should hold hearings to investigate Havana’s continued malign actions as a sponsor of state terrorism”, said John Suarez, executive director, Center for a Free Cuba.