This is a unilateral and arbitrary list, without any foundation, authority or international backing, and, as we know, only serves the purposes of slander and coercion against countries that refuse to obey the will of the United States Government in its sovereign decisions.
The main argument used by the United States Government was the presence in Cuban national territory of members of the peace delegation of the National Liberation Army (ELN) of Colombia.
As is widely known, the peace delegation of the Colombian National Liberation Army (ELN) is in our territory because, by virtue of Ecuador’s sudden abandonment of its status as a headquarters and at the request of the Colombian Government and the ELN, the peace process was moved to Havana in May 2018.
This peace dialogue had begun on February 7, 2017 in Quito. Cuba, along with Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Venezuela and Norway, has served as guarantor of the peace process, at the request of the sides.
Since the inauguration of Mr. Ivan Duque Marquez as President of Colombia on August 7, 2018, representatives of that Government have held, from August 8 of that year until January 2019, several exchanges with Cuba and the ELN peace delegation with the aim of continuing the dialogues that had begun during the mandate of President Santos, a process in which our country acted with due discretion and rigorous compliance with its role as guarantor.
After the attack at the Bogota Police Cadet School on January 17, 2019, the President of the Republic of Cuba and the Minister of Foreign Affairs immediately expressed their condolences to the Colombian Government and people, in particular to the families of that attack’s victims, and reiterated our country’s firm position of rejection and condemnation of all terrorist acts, methods and practices in all their forms and expressions.
The Colombian government then took political and legal action against the ELN peace delegation that was on Cuban territory and broke off the peace dialogue. It also decided to disregard the Protocol of Rupture, in clear abandonment and breaking of the commitments acquired by that State with six other signatory nations.
The Rupture Protocol was signed in the framework of the peace negotiations by the Government of Colombia, the ELN and the Guarantor countries on April 5, 2016. It provides for the safe return of the guerrilla delegation to Colombia in case of a breakdown in the dialogue.
The Cuban government maintained and still maintains that what is appropriate, according to the agreed documents, is the application of the Protocol. This position, widely supported by the international community and sectors committed to the search for a negotiated solution to the Colombian armed conflict, is a universal practice recognized and repeatedly ratified as it complies with International Law and the commitments of the Guarantor and Host Country of the dialogues. Due to the non-application of this Protocol, the members of the ELN peace delegation are still in the country.
The Colombian government has engaged in a series of hostile actions against Cuba, including public statements, threats and subpoenas, through the manipulation, ungrateful and politically motivated, of our unobjectionable contribution to peace in Colombia. Among these actions, there was a change in Colombia’s historic position in support of the Resolution adopted each year by the United Nations General Assembly demanding the end of the United States economic, commercial and financial blockade that causes damage and suffering to the Cuban people. This action significantly changed the consistent and invariable position of all Colombian governments since 1992.
The same day that the US announced the inclusion of Cuba in the list of countries that allegedly do not fully cooperate with US efforts against terrorism, the High Commissioner for Peace of the government of Colombia, Mr. Miguel Ceballos Arevalo publicly stated that the decision of the State Department to include the island was an “endorsement” of the government of Colombia and its “insistent request” that Cuba hand over the members of the ELN peace delegation.
These declarations by Mr. Ceballos have been criticized in Colombia by broad sectors committed to peace and several Colombian politicians have demanded an explanation from the government about them and about the lack of knowledge of the Rupture Protocol.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs strongly rejects the statements of the high Colombian official.
What is clear from the comments of the High Commissioner for Peace is that the behavior of the Colombian government has served and facilitated the arguments for the aggressive purposes of the United States against our Nation and that it has given its “backing” to the outrages of the United States against a nation in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The presence of ELN representatives in our territory, upon which the U.S. accusation is based, is nothing but a weak and dishonest pretext, devoid of meaning and facilitated by the ungrateful attitude of the Colombian government, if any credit is due to Mr. Ceballos’ statements.
In any case, and even with this alleged help from the Colombian government, the United States’ accusation is totally unfounded. There is solid evidence, some of it very recent, of our bilateral collaboration with the United States in the fight against terrorism and in joint law enforcement efforts, in actions of particular interest to it, which makes the qualification announced by the State Department a deliberate act of distortion of the truth.
It should be noted that Cuba is a country that has been the victim of numerous terrorist acts organized, financed and executed from United States territory by groups and individuals who have enjoyed government tolerance and protection there, a reality that is public knowledge. It has also been a victim, in the past, of State terrorism perpetrated directly by the United States Government, which has sometimes acted in conspiracy with organized crime in that country. For actions of this type, 3478 Cubans have died and 2099 suffer or have suffered some kind of disability.
Last April 30, our Embassy to the United States was the target of a terrorist attack. Since then, the United States Government has maintained an accomplice silence, without condemning or even rejecting the act, and it abstains from taking actions against individuals and terrorist groups based in United States territory that incite violence against Cuba and its institutions.
As a result, after the terrorist attack on our diplomatic mission to Washington, there have been threats against the integrity of Cuban diplomats and embassies inside the United States, as well as in Mexico, Costa Rica, Antigua and Barbuda, Canada, Cyprus, Austria and Angola, all of which have been reported to the respective governments.
The attitude of evident complicity of the United States government carries the danger of being assumed as support for terrorism. It is consistent with the tightening of the policy of aggression and instigation of violence against Cuba, taken even to the countries where Cuban health personnel work in bilateral cooperation programs.
Our Nation’s commitment to energetic action and the condemnation of terrorism is reflected in the Constitution. It is absolute and categorical against any of its forms and manifestations, particularly State terrorism, and is backed by the appropriate legislation. There is every reason to doubt that the United States Government can make such a categorical statement about its position on terrorism.
Cuba has invariably maintained its support for peace in Colombia and has worked in its capacity as guarantor in the implementation of the peace agreement between the Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC-EP), despite the fact that the Colombian Government has not guaranteed the protection of that agreement and has not ensured strict compliance with it.
As it has been suggested through diplomatic channels, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs requests the Government of Colombia to know its position on the status of the Guarantors in the Colombian Peace Process, particularly that of Cuba.
It also requests to know what is the government’s position on the implementation and compliance with the Peace Agreement between the Government of Colombia and the FARC-EP.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs urges the Government of Colombia to declare its official position on the reasons for the inclusion of Cuba on the list drawn up by the United States Department of State and to clarify the role and position of its officials in previous exchanges with the United States on this matter.
As a country that has been a victim of terrorism, Cuba condemns any manifestation of political manipulation and opportunism in dealing with such a sensitive issue.
Havana, June 1, 2020