Shakur, Snowden, and the State Department: Is Cuba a State Sponsor of Terrorism? 1

By Rebecca Lullo and Phineas Rueckert, Research Associates at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs

On May 30, the State Department submitted its annual report on terrorism (“Country Reports on Terrorism 2012”) to Congress, notably maintaining Cuba on the list of state sponsors of terrorism along with Iran, Sudan, and Syria. Cuba was designated as a state sponsor of terrorism on March 1, 1982. It has remained ever since on the list of states that Washington accuses of repeatedly providing support for international acts of terrorism. The justification for Cuba’s presence on the list—that it is providing a safe haven for wanted fugitives and particularly for Assata Shakur—is flimsy at best. [1] Upon closer examination this assertion fails to be convincing. Cuba’s unfounded listing as a state sponsor of terrorism undermines U.S. credibility abroad, hampering its efforts to counteract authentic terrorism around the world.

As to the most common criteria for determining state sponsors of terrorism, the State Department has had to openly acknowledge that Cuba is not providing weapons or training to terrorist groups and is cooperating with the international community’s efforts to combat money laundering. Cuba is currently hosting peace talks between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), calling into question claims that Cuba is harboring FARC members. Nevertheless, the assertion that Cuba is a safe haven for terrorists provides the main justification for its classification as a state sponsor of terrorism and is entirely duplicitous in its argument.

Assata Shakur and Edward Snowden: Two Distinct Cases of U.S. Fugitives and Cuba

The contention that Cuba shelters U.S. fugitives primarily alludes to the case of JoAnne Chesimard, better known as Assata Shakur, who became the first woman placed on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list on May 2 of this year. [2] Shakur is wanted for escaping from jail and fleeing to Cuba after being convicted of murdering a state trooper in New Jersey in 1973. Her conviction remains highly controversial due to the lack of definitive forensic evidence of her involvement, though her presence at the turnpike where the incident occurred is uncontested. [3] Many believe that Shakur was unfairly targeted due to her leadership role within the Black Panther Party and membership in the Black Liberation Army. [4]

Even if Shakur’s conviction holds, her classification as an international terrorist does not. First, U.S. statute defines terrorism as using or threatening violence against civilians or civilian populations for political gains. [5] An active-duty state trooper is not a civilian; therefore, this murder cannot be considered an act of terrorism. Second, the crime was allegedly perpetrated in the United States by a U.S. citizen and against a U.S. citizen, thus ruling out any basis for classification as an act of international terrorism.

Despite these considerations, the United States continues to demand Shakur’s extradition even though Cuba is under no obligation to do so. The Cuban government first granted Shakur asylum in 1984 based on her reasonable fear of being persecuted or prosecuted for her political beliefs and race upon her return to the United States. [6] Granting Shakur asylum absolved the Cuban government of any legal responsibility to comply with the U.S. request. [7] Even if Shakur had not been granted asylum, the Cuban government is not obligated to extradite fugitives charged with political crimes in accordance with a 1904 treaty with the United States. [8] Consequently, the FBI’s convenient reclassification of Shakur less than a month before the state sponsors of terrorism list was released points to inter-agency collaboration within the federal government to justify the continued presence of Cuba on the list.

Recent events regarding National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden shed further light on the inappropriate nature of Cuba’s continued listing as a state sponsor of terrorism. After fleeing the United States and subsequently being charged with three counts of espionage, Snowden travelled first to Hong Kong and then to Moscow, where he requested political asylum from Ecuador. As there were no direct flights from Russia to Ecuador at the time, his publicized route included layovers in Havana and Caracas. Snowden’s transit is a highly political matter for all nations involved, since they can be implicated in giving refuge to a U.S. fugitive. However, the plane to Cuba took off without Snowden on board.

Story continues here: Shakur, Snowden, and the State Department: Is Cuba a State Sponsor of Terrorism?

Cuban Media: Camagüey Pays Tribute to Living Heroes of our History 1

Alejandro Ferraz Pellicer and Gilberto Garcia

By Alex López & Yurislenia Pardo/Radio Cadena Agramonte

Participants in the historical events known as the assault on the Moncada barracks and the landing of the expeditionary men aboard the Granma cabin cruiser in eastren Cuba were granted the replica of the coat-of-arms of Camagüey, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the assaults on the barracks in Santiago de Cuba and Bayamo.

Before a large representation of people from this city, gathered in the basement of the monument situated at the Ignacio Agramonte Revolution Square, these two men belonging to a generation of Cubans who didn’t allow the ideas of Jose Marti to die in 1953, received the emblem conferred by the Provincial Assembly of People’s Power.

Alejandro Ferraz Pellicer, combatant who took part in the assault on the Moncada barrack, joined the July 26th Movement in 1957, and since that moment on he was involved in very risky missions as part of the clandestine struggle of those years. On the other hand, Gilberto García Alonso was one of the expeditionary men who came in the Granma yacht, took part in the bloody Alegría de Pío battle and when the Revolution succeeded he worked for the Cuban intelligence service.

Shortly before the above-mentioned homage, these revolutionary combatants met a group of workers at the Ana Betancourt de Mora Mother and Child Hospital. There they were told about the functioning of Cuba’s second largest mother and child hospital and about the transformation it has been subjected over the last few months.


Their own anecdotes, endeavours of many, dreams that have come true were told in Camagüey by these two men who took part in historical events that would mark the future of the island nation.

The Ignacio Agramonte Camagüey University, first built by the Revolutionary Government, opened its doors and welcomed Alejandro Ferraz Pellicer and Gilberto García Alonso. In a very emotional meeting with students and professors, Santiago Lajes Choy, rector of this university, awarded these men the medal marking the 45th anniversary of the Higher Education. Lajes Choy gave details on the main challenges to improve the quality and level of the different courses and degrees as well as to get involved in the solution findings of many socio-economic problems.

Besides, the Jose Marti Pedagogical University welcomed the visitors who also participated in a very friendly talk on the challenges and achievements of the province, on the future of the Cuban youth, Fidel and the Homeland. During this cordial meeting, Alejandro Ferraz stressed the importance of the teacher in our society and insisted on the need to talk to the young people so that they do not forgive their roots and history.

Ferraz and García toured some places of the historic core of town. Besides, they learnt from specialist working for the City Historian’s Office how much Camagüey is doing to celebrate the 500th anniversary of former village of Santa María del Puerto del Príncipe, proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The visit of these two veterans of Cuba’s liberation struggle is part of a wide array of activates which commemorates the 60th anniversary of the assaults on the Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Céspedes barracks.

Senator Nelson, at Invite of Dissidents, Considers Cuba Visit Reply

Mark K. Matthews, Orlando Sentinel

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, said for the first time Wednesday that he would consider a visit to Cuba — but only if the trip would help both island dissidents and a U.S. contractor who has been held in custody there since 2009. “If I were to go to Cuba, I would want to see [U.S. contractor] Alan Gross and do what I can to get him home,” Nelson said in a statement. “It would be on a humanitarian mission to visit with pro-democracy groups and opposition figures.” Nelson’s comments were sparked by a Wednesday meeting with two Cuban dissidents: Guillermo “Coco” Farinas and Elizardo Sanchez. Earlier this month, Nelson also met with Gross’ wife to help bring attention to his plight.

Cuba has sentenced Gross to 15 years in prison for what it described as subversive activities related to his distribution of satellite Internet equipment to Jewish groups on the island. The U.S. State Department repeatedly has called for his release, noting a few months ago that he has “lost more than 100 pounds” since his confinement.

Argentina Turns Over Body of Cuban Diplomat Killed in 1976 2

(Prensa Latina – June 25, 2013) Argentinian authorities will deliver today to the Cuban embassy in this country the remains of Jesus Cejas Arias, a diplomat of the island, who was kidnapped in Buenos Aires in 1976 and later killed during the last military dictatorship.

This action ends a long and painstaking process of searching, finding and identification, in which the seriousness, friendship, and solidarity of the Argentinian judicial authorities, specialists and government were showed, Cuban ambassador Jorge Lamadrid said. The Mission chief said that the remains will be transferred to Cuba this weekend under the custody of historian Jose Luis Mendez, to be delivered to his relatives.

Argentinian officials and citizens, as well as the Cubans working in this country will pay tribute tonight to Jesus Cejas Arias, during a ceremony at the headquarters of the Cuban embassy in Buenos Aires. “This tribute is also to honor the thousands of Argentinians who were kidnapped, killed and missed during the dictatorship, especially under the sinister Operation Condor, among them 15 valuable youth from both sexes, who then worked at the Commercial Office of Cuba,” Lamadrid stated.

The Operation Condor is the name with which this country knows the maneuver of coordination between the sectors of the dictatorial regimes of the Southern Cone of America, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia, and sporadically Peru, Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador -with the CIA carried out in the 1970s and 1980s.

Cejas Arias was kidnapped on August 9, 1976 in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of Belgrano, along with his fellow countrymen Crescencio Galañena Hernandez, and both were held in illegal captivity and subjected to torture in the clandestine detention and torture center known as Automotive Orletti. His body, as well as that of Galañena Hernandez, was hidden in a metal drum of 200 liter capacity and filled with cement. The discovery occurred more than one month ago in an area of the locality of Virreyes, in San Fernando, a province of Buenos Aires, but until the entire process of identifying, and forensic and judicial processing was completed, the country did not decide the delivery of the remains.

The remains of Galañena Hernandez had been found in June last year in the same area in which that of Cejas Arias was found, along with the bodies of the Argentinian Maria Rosa Clementi and Ricardo Manuel Gonzalez, also kidnapped in August 1976 and hitherto were missing.

Edward Snowden May Be Cuba or Latin America Bound … Cuba Keeps Earning its Place on the State Sponsors of Terror List 2

By Jason Poblete, DC Dispatches

There are news reports this morning that NSA leaker Edward Snowden may be headed to Havana, Cuba to hide from U.S. authorities. If Snowden is going to Cuba, it is because he knows he will find safe-haven from U.S. law for doing things that have been extremely detrimental to our global war against radical Islam. If true, it further reinforces that the State Department’s recent report keeping Cuba on the state sponsors of terror list was the correct one.

Under U.S. law, the designation of placing a country on the list a legal and political decision by the Executive Branch. The legal justification is found in numerous laws including Sec. 6(j) of the Export Administration Act, Sec. 40 of the Arms Export Control Act, and Sec. 620A of the Foreign Assistance Act. Cuba earned its spot on the state sponsors of terrorism list since 1982. Please note that the release of the report does not constitute that there was a review by the U.S. government.

Why has Cuba and the Cuban Communist Party earned the designation? Here is a small and partial list based solely on what is in the public domain:

1. Cuba has a large number of individual and entities listed on the Treasury Department’s Specially Designated Nationals List (based on numerous legal authorities);
2. The harboring of an FBI fugitive in Cuba since 1984: cop killer Joanne Chesimard. Chesimard was a member of the radical left-wing terrorist group, the Black Liberation Army and is wanted for her role in the first-degree murder of New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster. Trooper Foerster was shot and killed with his own weapon in the name of “black power”. There is a petition to have Chesimard extradited to the United States;
3. Cuba’s harboring of Chilean terrorists linked to the assassination of Senator Jaime Guzman, founder of one of Chile’s conservative political parties, the Independent Democratic Union (The death of a conservative leader does not rank very high with Cuban regime supporters in the United States;
4. The false peace process the Cuba claims to be brokering the past few years with the Colombian FARC terrorist group and Colombia’s government;
5. The harboring of FARC terrorists;
6. The Cuban regime’s support of Venezuela and vice-versa. I could write several articles on this gem. Venezuela should have been added to the state sponsors list years ago. But that is a subject for another post;
7. Harboring of Spain ETA terrorists;
8. Cuba’s close and ongoing relationship with state sponsor of terror Iran and others state sponsors of terrorism;
9. Cuba has engaged, and likely still engages in a biological weapons program. If it does not, then why does the regime refuse to allow inspectors at sensitive sites throughout the island;
10. The Ana Belen Montes espionage case, among others including Kendall Myers and the Cuban Five;
11. And, the most important reason, it is in the U.S. national interest to do so.

A few weeks ago a Washington, DC think tank, CSIS, hosted a conference titled, “The Case to Remove Cuba from the Terrorist List.” You can listen to the panel here. Here are some of the reasons the panelists believe that Cuba should be removed from the terrorist list:

1. Calls from leaders in the Western Hemisphere to remove Cuba from the list (Note: with few exceptions, there are no leaders in the Western Hemisphere that are truly allies of the United States. Moreover, this is not a factor for putting Cuba on the list);
2. Strategic move by the United States by removing Cuba from the list would help people-to-people contacts (Note: this is not an element of any of the state sponsors terrorism designation criteria. And, what about prong 1 of U.S. policy, pressure on the Cuba regime?);
3. See #2 in the prior section of this post. The panelist argue it is not a factor, and if it were, they argued the “political exception” to extradition treaties and, at times, seemed to question the logic of calling Chesimard a terrorist;
4. They glossed over #7, supra, by saying Spain has asked Cuba to keep them in Cuba by granting them Cuban citizenship (Note: This is absolutely false and I have confirmed it with Spanish government colleagues currently serving);
5. Listing Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism is an “arbitrary and capricious” act (Note: for national security law purposes, this legal standard is a weak one to use and, at times, practically completely inapplicable to the Cuba question);
6. Judgements piling up in U.S. federal court because people are using the designation to file claims against Cuba (Note: I’d argue this is consistent with U.S. law and policy of pressuring the regime);
7. There are countries that should be on the list but are not on the list;
8. It serves no useful purpose (Note: if that is the case, why spend so much time talking about it?);
9. The Cuban government is a good at “spinning things” so they have used the designation for propaganda purposes in Cuba;
10. It is an extreme position to have Cuba on this list.

Interestingly, not once throughout the CSIS panel did any of the speakers discuss that U.S. law toward Cuba requires a two-prong approach: (1) helping the Cuban people and (2) isolating the Cuban regime. They focused only on prong (1). We could go on and on. Reach your own conclusions. Folks who support removing Cuba from the list are mainly people who oppose current U.S. policy. It is that simple. They are trying to make it political because it advances, in their minds, a path forward to ease sanctions on the regime.

The reality is that the political ball is in Cuba’s court, not the United States. The regime knows what it has to do and it choses not to change its ways. For now, a “small sector in Miami and DC” (as people said several times during the CSIS conference) will continue to advance efforts to isolate the Cuban regime as well as support the people of Cuba. That is a good thing. If we want to reach agreement on outstanding questions such as U.S. property claims against Cuba, Cuba’s debt, and much more (see my list as to why Cuba should stay on the terrorism list), we need to maintain a firm hand.

Study the history of modern, and not so modern dictatorships, and one thing stands out: they crumble sooner or later. The Castro brothers have lasted longer than most because Cuba is an island. Literally, an island in the middle of the Caribbean. In prior times, Cuba was important for Western Hemisphere geo-strategic purposes, but the U.S. can make due with the status quo. Just look at the last five decades. The U.S. has managed just fine without Cuba and, as a bonus, we even maintain a military base there.

We can argue ad nauseam who was right and what policy was not, but we won. That is all that matters. It is now up to the regime to decide how it wants to spend its waning days. Why do some people insist on handing over to Cuban one propaganda victory over another over another? That is what we do every time the U.S. weakens some component of U.S. policy. The have been trying to do so since the Bush Administration.

If Edward Snowden is headed to Cuba, he will become yet another token of the regime’s resistance to the U.S. The thing is, the Cuban people on the island are growing very impatient and the regime is running out of political tricks. We should take advantage of this political pressure cooker and increase economic sanctions once and for all. Then and only then will the Cubans regime come to its senses. And, if Snowden is not going to Cuba but to some other country in the Western Hemisphere, I can all but guarantee that Cuba is somehow lending a hand to make it so.

Rene Gonzalez Recalls his Life as a Cuban State Security Agent 2

Guantanamo’s Venceremos Newspaper –- After making his probably most risky flight on December 8th, 1990, René González Sehwerert, the first of the Five to return to his homeland, got infiltrated into Florida-based terrorist organizations such as Hermanos al Rescate, Movimiento Democracia, Partido Unido Nacional Democrático y la Fundación Nacional Cubano-Americana. In exclusive interview with Escambray newspaper and Radio Sancti Spiritus, the Cuban anti-terrorist fighter recalls his life as Cuban State Security agent, without putting aside his own personal life.

“If you say it could be tonight, I will figure out how to go to Havana”, I anxiously said when I made the telephone call to request an interview with René González Sehwerert. “Call us within 10 days”, he answered himself. Taking into consideration his legal condition at the moment, it was the appropriate thing to do.

The interview was scheduled to take place at the headquarters of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the People (ICAP, in Spanish), where he would later on said that returning to Cuba without his fellow comrades –Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero and Fernando González – was the nightmare of his imprisonment.

After having served a fifteen-year sentence on October 7th, 2011, Rene was required to complete 3 more years of supervised release. But this decision was modified last May 3rd by Judge Joan Lenard, who accepted his permanent stay in Cuba if he renounced to his US citizenship. On May 9th, Gonzalez received the US citizenship renouncement certification.

It is a cloudy afternoon. The noises of the street can be heard from the large ICAP hall, where Rene Gonzalez arrives accompanied by his wife Olga Salanueva. She attentively looks and his eyes and watches his hands, which he constantly crosses while recalling the few years he lived in Chicago, where he was born on August 13th, 1956.

It is just fragments of memories, he says. The family lived near Michigan Lake. He remembers the wooden pier on the lake, and the trip made to Cuba on board the Guadalupe.

It happened after the mercenary invasion to Playa Giron.

“Yes. My parents were members of the Pro justo trato a Cuba committee, so they demonstrated against the invasion. Thus, they faced retaliations, and were even victims of aggressions by right wing-people. After that they decided to come to Cuba. We came here in October 1961.

Rene Gonzalez, better known as “Beaver” within the State Security bodies -according to Brazilian Fernando Morais’s Los últimos soldados de la guerra fría (The last soldiers of the cold war)- returned to US on December 8th, 1990, after highjacking a plane in San Nicolas de Bari, in the present Cuban western province of Mayabeque.

Before departing, you left Olga some money and the lyrics of a song by Pablito Milanes inside a magazine. Was it a coded message?

It is a difficult thing to leave without letting your family knows what you’re going to do. During all these years, I fulfilled the most difficult tasks in Cuba, both of them in San Nicolas de Bari: saying no to the Cuban Communist Party membership process, and highjacking the aircraft. There are things not are not assignments, but where feelings are involved, leaving the family behind is one of them. It is a very hard thing to do. I left Olga the money I had saved, and the song inside a Bohemia magazine.

How many times did you revise the plan to highjack the aircraft that took you to Boca Chica, where you arrived almost without fuel?

It was not possible for me to check anything. I had to wait for the right moment and take advantage of it. And I did so, even when I knew the fuel was barely enough to get there. It was probably the most dangerous and risky flight I’ve ever made.

Upon arrival in Miami, you made a statement to the so-called Radio Marti radio station saying that after seeing Florida Keys, you felt like a real Cristobal Colon. How did you manage to play the traitor character, and convince public opinion?

I asked myself the question since the very moment I was assigned the mission. I don’t think anyone could be trained for that. Besides, I was all the opposite; I have never been a hypocrite person. Then, the key to play such role is the sense of duty, the satisfaction of deceiving someone who wants to inflict harm on my people.

I remember when I first met Félix Rodríguez, the Cat; it was the same day in which Hermanos al Rescate group was created. I had been invited by the head a group called CUPA (Cuban Pilots Association) to attend a press conference in Miami airport in which the group will be announced.

As soon as I arrived in the airport hall, I was introduced to Félix Rodríguez. I remembered some said: “This is the the man who killed Che”. I don’t know what I really felt. I shook hands with him and said: you are the one. I got amazed to myself, how could I have said that? When I left the place I knew I was ready for the task.

Being an intelligence agent might lead to the assumption that you had a comfortable life. How did you survive during the first months from the economic point of view?

I had the help of the many relatives I had there. I didn’t have any extra money, but I had where to live. I was welcomed by my grandmother. I began to work as soon as I arrived there, but it was my purpose to get closer to aviation people. Sometime after, I managed to get involved in Hermanos al Rescate group. I had to spend a lot on licence applications, which is very expensive. So, I had to do several different jobs. I had a modest life, and moving forward as a pilot was always my major goal.

Story continues here: Rene Gonzalez Recalls his Life as a Cuban State Security Agent

Analysis: Cuba, U.S. Take Steps Toward Rapprochement but Complicated Road Lies Ahead 1

Popular support growing for end to embargo, diplomatic stalemate dating to 1959.

Javier Galeano, The Associated Press

HAVANA, Cuba — They’ve hardly become allies, but Cuba and the U.S. have taken some baby steps toward rapprochement in recent weeks that have people on this island and in Washington wondering if a breakthrough in relations could be just over the horizon. Skeptics caution the Cold War enemies have been here many times before, only to fall back into old recriminations but there are signs that views might be shifting on both sides of the Florida Straits.

The countries have held talks in the past week on resuming direct mail service, and announced a July 17 meeting on migration issues. A U.S. federal judge in May allowed a convicted Cuban intelligence agent to return to the island. Cuba informed the family of jailed U.S. government subcontractor Alan Gross this month it would let an American doctor examine him, although the visit has apparently not yet happened. Cuban President Raul Castro has also ushered in a series of economic and social changes, including making it easier for Cubans to travel off the island.

Under the radar, diplomats on both sides describe a sea change in the tone of their dealings. Only last year, Cuban state television was broadcasting grainy footage of American diplomats meeting with dissidents on Havana streets and publicly accusing them of being CIA frontmen. Today, U.S. diplomats in Havana and Cuban Foreign Ministry officials have easy contact, even sharing home phone numbers.
Josefina Vidal, Cuba’s top diplomat for North American affairs, recently travelled to Washington and met twice with State Department officials, a visit that came right before the announcements of resumptions in the two sets of bilateral talks that had been suspended for more than two years. Washington has also granted visas to prominent Cuban officials, including the daughter of Cuba’s president.

“These recent steps indicate a desire on both sides to try to move forward, but also a recognition on both sides of just how difficult it is to make real progress,” said Robert Pastor, a professor of international relations at American University and former national security adviser on Latin America during the Carter administration. “These are tiny, incremental gains, and the prospects of going backwards are equally high.”

Among the things that have changed, John Kerry has taken over as U.S. secretary of state after being an outspoken critic of Washington’s policy on Cuba while in the Senate. U.S. President Barack Obama no longer has re-election concerns while dealing with the Cuban-American electorate in Florida, where there are also indications of a warming attitude to negotiating with Cuba.

Read more:

Int’l Cuba Solidarity Conference Set for July 24-27 in Venezuela 1

By Roger Calero in The Militant

Participants from more than two dozen countries across the Americas, as well as from Africa and Europe, will come together in Caracas, Venezuela, July 24-27 for the Seventh Continental Conference in Solidarity with Cuba. The gathering is called by the Venezuelan-Cuban Mutual Friendship and Solidarity Association, together with the Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP).

The conference is being organized as the main international celebration of the 60th anniversary of the July 26, 1953, assault on the Moncada army garrison in Santiago de Cuba led by Fidel Castro. That attack — during which Castro and 27 other revolutionaries were captured and imprisoned, and more than 50 massacred — became the clarion call to mass revolutionary struggle against the U.S.-backed dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista.

Conference organizers expect more than 600 participants in Caracas. The sixth solidarity conference was held in Mexico City in October 2011.

In plenary sessions and workshops, participants will discuss organizing solidarity around the world with Cuba’s socialist revolution. Several will focus on getting out the truth about Washington’s unremitting campaign to undermine and overturn the political power established by Cuba’s workers and farmers through the 1956-58 revolutionary war that overthrew the Batista tyranny in January 1959. This includes the economic and trade embargo imposed on Cuba for more than half a century. Other conference events will focus on the international campaign against the U.S. government’s frame-up and imprisonment of the Cuban Five.

Other topics will include the history and example of Cuba’s socialist revolution and proletarian internationalist course, as well as imperialist subjugation of Latin America and the Caribbean. The gathering in Caracas builds on the close relations between the governments of Venezuela and Cuba developed through extensive trade ties and by collaboration of tens of thousands of Cuban volunteers working on medical, education, agricultural and other social projects in Venezuela.

On the last day conference participants will join a solidarity march with other Venezuelans that will end with a vigil on the eve of what would had been the 59th birthday of former President Hugo Chávez, who died earlier this year.

Editor’s Note: The Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP) operates under the strong influence of the Directorate of Intelligence (DI). A keyword search on this topic will list this site’s extensive coverage.

Expelled Diplomat-Spy Denies Cuba’s Role in Human Trafficking 2

Cuba Strongly Rejects New US Slanderous Action

HAVANA, Cuba, June 20 (Cuban News Agency – CAN) Cuba strongly rejected new slanderous provocations by Washington, which included the island in an arbitrary and ill-natured report issued by the US Department of State on the trafficking of persons.

In a statement posted on the Foreign Ministry’s webpage, the director of the United States division at the Cuban Foreign Ministry, Josefina Vidal, says that Cuba is acknowledged around the world for its exemplary protection of children, youths and women and it is not a source, transit or destination country for the trafficking of persons.

However, in a new action aimed at discrediting Cuba and justifying its hostile policy against the island, the US administration once again included Cuba, in an arbitrary and ill-natured manner, in the worst of the categories of the US Department’s report on the trafficking of persons.

It is the US blockade of Cuba that really harms the Cuban children, youths and women, Vidal says in her statement and points out that the government of Cuba strongly rejects this slander and demands the definitive end of this shameful designation.

Washington has no moral to single out Cuba, after US authorities have been forced to admit that the United States is a source, transit and destination country of US and foreign men, women and children, who are submitted to forced labor, slavery, servitude and sexual trafficking, concludes the statement by Josefina Vidal, director of the US division at the Cuban Foreign Ministry.

Editor’s Note: Cuban Intelligence Office Josefina Vidal left the United States in May 2003 when her husband was one of 14 Cuban officials expelled from the United States for espionage. Cleverly, Washington had included a single spouse within two husband-wife spy teams, forcing Havana to recall a total of 16 diplomat-spies.