For the Record: Continuing the Fight: Commemorating 2 years of Cuba’s July 11th protest

Text prepared by John Suarez

After the protests began on July 11, 2021, Cuban President  Miguel Díaz-Canel stated on state television, “The order of combat is given, revolutionaries take to the streets.” This command incited government  security forces to attack civilians. They  shot and killed unarmed people in a state terror campaign against nonviolent Cuban protesters.

This was not the first time.

In 1959, the Castro regime took power through a terrorism campaign against Cuban nationals. Throughout the 1950s, Castro’s July 26th Movement terrorized and killed Cuban citizens with repeated bombings. Raul Castro, dubbed “the father” of modern skyjacking by some, plotted several skyjackings. On November 1, 1958, 17 civilians were killed in one of Castro’s skyjackings.

Terrorism as a tactic did not end with the Castro brothers’ ascension to power.

In 1966, the Castro dictatorship established a Terrorist International. The  Tricontinental Conference,  held in Havana from January 3-16, 1966, and the establishment of the Organization for the Solidarity of the Peoples of Asia, Africa, and Latin America (OSPAAL) sought to support terrorist groups worldwide, including the United States. “Castro insisted that ‘bullets not ballots’ was the only way to gain power.”  He maintained that “conditions for an armed revolutionary struggle existed.”

Castroism views terrorism as a legitimate means to advance its goals. In 1970, Havana published the “Mini Manual for Revolutionaries” authored by Brazilian urban terrorist Carlos Marighella. Translated into other languages, it includes a chapter on terrorism in which the author states, “Terrorism is a weapon the revolutionary can never relinquish.”

On January 24, 1975,  a Wall Street crowd was having lunch at the Angler’s Club in New York City’s Fraunces Tavern, unaware that members of the Puerto Rican terrorist group, Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional (FALN), had placed a briefcase containing ten pounds of explosives in the building’s hallway just minutes before. The bomb exploded at 1:29 p.m., damaging the building’s internal structure. The staircase and entryway were destroyed, but the brick walls remained intact.The terrorist blast  killed four people and injured 63 more.

FALN was founded in the mid-1960s and its members received advanced training in Cuba. According to the FBI, the author of the attack, Filiberto Ojeda Ríos “spent several years in Cuba in the 1960s and received training from the Government of Cuba as an intelligence officer.” Guillermo “Willie” Morales, the bomb maker, is still harbored in Cuba today.

In his 1979 study “Latin American Terrorism: The Cuban Connection” published by The Heritage Foundation, Samuel T. Frances found that “almost every significant Latin American terrorist group of left-wing orientation has had or has today links with Cuba.”

On March 1, 1982, Cuba was added to the  list of state terror sponsors. The US State Department confirmed Havana was employing a drug ring to smuggle arms and cash to the Colombian terrorist group M-19. M-19 members stormed Colombia’s Palace of Justice on November 6, 1985. Many hostages were killed in this attack, including 11 of Colombia’s 25 Supreme Court justices. Gustavo Petro, Colombia’s current president, was a member of M-19 and has paid tribute to the attacker as president.

In 1988, “3,000 [Cuban advisers] could be found in Libya and Algeria, among other things training terrorists.” Today, Havana works with  Hamas, Hezbollah, and other Middle Eastern terrorist groups.

On February 24, 1996, Havana carried out  Operation Scorpion, an act of state terrorism with the assistance of its intelligence network in the United States that killed four people in international airspace. The WASP Network  (La Red Avispa) targeted U.S. military facilities, planned  to smuggle arms and explosives into the United States, terrorize and then kill a former CIA operative residing in Bal Harbor using a mail bomb, among other active measures.

In order to improve diplomatic relations with Raul Castro, the Obama Administration withdrew Cuba from the list of state terror sponsors in 2015. It did not achieve the expected result.

In 2016, U.S. and Canadian diplomats in Havana reported brain damage. On January 2, 2017, Cuban troops marched in a parade, presided over by Raul Castro, chanting they would shoot President Barack Obama in the head so many times they’d make a “hat out of lead to the head.”  

In 2020, Havana refused Colombia’s requests to extradite ten 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 more.  Since 1964, Havana has trained, armed, and backed the ELN terrorist organization.  In 2021, Cuba was reinstated on the terror sponsor list for sheltering ELN militants.

It is no surprise that Moscow, and Beijing provided billions to Havana. However, what is surprising is that Europe, Canada and Japan through the Paris Club have forgiven Cuba billions in debts owed, and that Europe comprises 33% of Cuba’s foreign trade compared to only 8% by Russia. Knowing that money is fungible, one is left to wonder how many terrorist acts have been paid for by taxpayers in Western Democracies, or why some in Congress would like U.S. taxpayers to subsidize this dictatorship?