By Leni Villagomez Reeves
Cuba State Sponsor of Terrorism but not Saudi Arabia?
The Trump regime placed Cuba on the U.S. State Sponsor of Terrorism list on Jan. 11, just five days after inciting a lethal right-wing riot and invasion of the U.S. Capitol.
Eleven days after selling $290 million worth of bombs to Saudi Arabia. Plus $4 billion in arms and helicopters to Kuwait, more than $65 million in warplane equipment to Egypt. And $23 billion worth of advanced weaponry, including bombing drones and stealth warplanes to the United Arab Emirates.
Of course, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates will continue to use this weaponry in unlawful air-strike attacks on Yemen, while they maintain an aerial and naval blockade, both killing huge numbers of civilians. Egypt is causing enormous civilian casualties in its campaign in North Sinai.
These arms sales are going to some of the worst human rights abusers in the world. The Saudi regime murdered and dismembered Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in 2018, engages in widespread systemic judicial and extrajudicial torture, has well-known oppressive anti-woman laws and practices, and…this could go on for 20 paragraphs.
Guantanamo Bay Prison Camp Starting 20th Year
Saudi Arabia is not on our bad list, but probably both the U.S. and Saudi regimes belong on the State Sponsors of Terrorism list themselves. We are just weeks after the 19th anniversary of the arrival of the first prisoners at the U.S. detention-with-torture-and-without-trial facility at Guantanamo Bay, the longest-standing war prison in U.S. history, where about 800 men have been imprisoned without trial. Today, 40 men remain.
Stolen from Cuba in an imperialist invasion, Guantanamo functions as an “island outside the law” where suspects are detained without process and interrogated without restraint.
Family Separation and Torture of Children as a Deterrent
At home, the United States has separated thousands of families, keeping no records to permit parents to reunite with children. About half a million child detentions were carried out during Trump’s term in office, with 40% of them for more than the legally permitted 72 hours, under conditions amounting to torture—cold temperatures with floor sleeping and inadequate food, clothing and hygiene.
Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a 2018 meeting, “We need to take the children away” in an attempt to stop their parents from seeking asylum and refuge in the United States.
Indigenous Environmentalists Killed in Honduras after U.S.-Sponsored Coup
State sponsors of terrorism? In Honduras in the past decade, about 150 land and environmental defenders were killed, most recently Felix Vasquez, who was killed in front of his family on Dec. 26. He, like the previously assassinated Berta Cáceres, was an indigenous Lenca.
The current government of Honduras came to power after a U.S.-supported coup in 2009. The coup removed an elected centrist president to replace him with a government that would favor U.S. and other international economic interests over human rights and indigenous land rights.
No Supporting Facts? No Problem
So what are the charges against Cuba? They support the elected government of Venezuela and they won’t give up Assata Shakur, who was granted asylum in 1984 as a political prisoner after COINTELPRO persecution and prosecution.
Moreover, after the Havana peace talks between the Colombian government and rebels failed, Cuba followed the international agreements regarding all negotiating parties, even the ELN (National Liberation Army). That’s about it.
Meanwhile, the United States exports weapons, sponsors coups against democratically elected governments in Latin America, tortures prisoners and migrants, and encourages fascism and White supremacy.
Cuba sends doctors and nurses around the world to help with medical care in disasters and serious epidemics. In the Covid-19 pandemic, Cuban health workers of the Henry Reeve International Brigades Specializing in Disaster Situations and Serious Epidemics have worked in more than 38 countries and territories.
The 46 brigades are made up of volunteers (in the sense that, although they are paid, participation is voluntary), 61% of whom are women, and treated more than 300,000 patients worldwide last year alone, in countries ranging from Italy to Angola, Azerbaijan to Mexico, Kenya to Peru. This is the latest in a long record of international health aid offered by Cuba.
The Henry Reeve Brigade, founded in 2005, has made an extraordinary contribution in disaster situations such as those caused by earthquakes in Pakistan, Indonesia, Peru, China, Chile, Nepal and Ecuador, and floods in Guatemala, Bolivia, Belize, Chile, Mexico, El Salvador, Peru and Sierra Leone.They have cared for hurricane victims in Haiti, Fiji, Dominica, Mexico and Mozambique and, indeed, Cuba offered help to the United States, which was rejected, after Hurricane Katrina.
In addition to assisting in major natural disasters, the Henry Reeve Brigade played a fundamental role in the care of victims of serious epidemics, most notably ebola in West Africa and cholera in Haiti.
Cuba is not only not a State Sponsor of Terrorism, it is a State Victim of Terrorism. Not even counting the lives lost and suffering created due to the U.S. blockade of Cuba, there have been almost 3,500 people killed as a result of U.S.-sponsored and -orchestrated aggressions and terrorist actions.
The State Sponsors of Terrorism list has always been political. This is a new depth of cynicism, however. The list and the process of creating it is ostensibly for promoting human rights.
Now it’s a personal Trump enemies list and a little reward for his Florida ultra-right allies.
Leni Villagomez Reeves is a local physician and activist. Contact her at email@example.com. Check out her news and views about Cuba on Facebook (fresnosolidarity/).