Blacklisted Cuba Says U.S. Shelters 'Terrorists'


The Cuban government on Saturday rejected a U.S. decision to keep Cuba on its blacklist of countries that allegedly support terrorism and accused Washington of sheltering the "real terrorists."

The Cuban Foreign Ministry said the U.S. does not have "the least moral authority or right whatsoever" to judge Cuba, citing the case of a Cuba-born former CIA operative wanted for a string of bombings and residing in Miami.

"We call on the U.S. government to punish the real terrorists who now reside in U.S. territory," the ministry said in a statement published by local media.

The U.S. State Department said Thursday that despite Cuba's public stance against terror and terror financing, there "was no evidence" that it "had severed ties with elements from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)," a leftist guerrilla movement at war with Bogota since the 1960s.

The Cuban government responded by calling on the United States to prosecute the elderly former CIA operative, who is wanted in Venezuela and Cuba for several deadly bombings.

"America acts as if it has not permanently harbored the confessed criminal Luis Posada Carriles and refused to charge him with terrorism, despite having ample evidence," added the Cuban government's statement.

The Cuban and Venezuelan governments -- close leftwing allies critical of U.S. "imperialism" in Latin America -- accuse Carriles of bombing a Cuban airliner in 1976, killing 73 people.

"He walks freely and with impunity through the streets of Miami after being acquitted in a sham court in El Paso, Texas," the ministry said, referring to a Texas court that in April found Carriles not guilty on charges of perjury and immigration fraud.

The Cuban government added that "as irrefutable proof of its double standards," the United States continues to imprison five Cuban anti-terrorist agents who were convicted of espionage in 2001.

Havana considers the "Cuban Five" political prisoners and said their aim was not to spy on the U.S. government but to gather information on "terrorist" plots by Cuban expatriates in Florida, a bastion of anti-Castro fervor.

In recent months Havana and Washington, which have had no formal ties since 1961, have swapped criticism, especially after Cuba sentenced U.S. contractor Alan Gross to 15 years in prison for "acts against the independence or integrity of the state."

Countries the United States considers to be "state sponsors of terrorism" -- Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria -- receive no economic aid and do not benefit from trade advantages or financial treaties.