The United States announced Thursday it has retained communist Cuba on a list of countries that allegedly support terrorism.
The State Department report lumping Cuba with Iran, Syria and Sudan was released weeks after US President Barack Obama made overtures to Havana, which is under a decades-old embargo, by lifting curbs on travel and money transfers.
Despite keeping Cuba on the blacklist, the report also highlighted positive steps taken by the government in Havana.
The report said “the Cuban government continued to provide safe haven to several terrorists,” even if it “no longer actively supports” armed struggle beyond its shores.
It said members of the Basque separatist ETA, the Colombian rebel group FARC and the Colombian group ELN remained in Cuba last year after some arrived to help conduct peace negotiations with the governments of Spain and Colombia.
It also said that the government of President Raul Castro “continued to publicly defend the FARC,” the Spanish acronym for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.
But it noted that on July 6 last year former president Fidel Castro urged the FARC to release the hostages they were holding without preconditions.
And Castro “has also condemned the FARC’s mistreatment of captives and of their abduction of civilian politicians who had no role in the armed conflict,” it added.
It said that the United States had “no evidence of terrorist-related money laundering or terrorist financing activities in Cuba,” but pointed out that Cuba’s banking systems remain among the most secretive and opaque in the world.
It also said Havana still allowed members of US militant groups like the Boricua Popular, or Macheteros, and the Black Liberation Army to live on its territory, even though they were fugitives from US justice.
“In keeping with its public declaration, the government has not provided safe haven to any new US fugitives wanted for terrorism since 2006,” it added.