Menendez: White House Pressure to Remove Cuba From Terrorism List is Alarming

Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Menendez Statement on Removing Cuba from the List of State Sponsors of Terrorism

U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) issued the below statement following multiple press reports that the U.S. State Department is closing in on a decision to recommend the removal of Cuba from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list.

A recommendation to remove Cuba from the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism would represent another significant misstep in a misguided policy, and it is both discouraging and alarming to read about unwarranted pressure from the White House to rush the State Department’s review process.

As the Castro regime continues to provide sanctuary to Joanne Chesimard, who is on the FBI’s list of Most Wanted Terrorists for murdering a New Jersey State Trooper, the Obama Administration is ceding critical leverage in our efforts to bring a brazen criminal to justice. This decision would also ignore the fact that Cuba is harboring dozens of American fugitives – including cop killers, plane hijackers, bomb makers, and arms traffickers – and Basque terrorists wanted by the Government of Spain.

In 2013, Cuba was caught colluding with North Korea to smuggle jets, missile batteries, and other weaponry in direct violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions. And, earlier this month, the Government of Colombia detained a Chinese ship trafficking explosives and arms to Cuba.

The Castro regime’s utter disregard for international security standards should not be rewarded with continued concessions from the United States, and any decision to remove Cuba from the State Sponsors of Terrorism must have close scrutiny by the Congress.”

The Government of Cuba’s Record:

- The Government of Cuba continues to provide sanctuary to American fugitive Joanne Chesimard, who is on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s list of Most Wanted Terrorists, for her role in the murder of New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster.

- The Government of Cuba is harboring convicted arms trafficker Frank Terpil; Charles Hill, who is wanted for murdering a New Mexico State Police officer and hijacking a civilian plane; Guillermo Morales, a convicted arson wanted in connection with the 1975 bombing of New York’s Fraunces Tavern; and dozens of American fugitives.

- The Government of Cuba continues to provide sanctuary to Basque terrorists from the Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA), despite ongoing requests for extradition presented by the Government of Spain as recently as March 2015. The Department of State has designated ETA as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.

- In March 2015, the Government of Colombia seized over 100 tons of military grade explosives and munitions being trafficked illicitly to Cuba aboard a Chinese ship.

- In June 2013, the Government of Cuba colluded with the Government of North Korea in an attempt to smuggle 240 metric tons of weapons – including MiG jets, missile batteries, and explosives – through the Panama Canal. This incident constituted, to date, the single largest violation of United Nations Security Council sanctions against North Korea.

- Senior members of the Cuba military – including the former head of the Cuban Air Force, General Rubén Martínez Puente, and Cuban pilots Lorenzo Alberto Pérez-Pérez and Francisco Pérez-Pérez – are the subject of open federal indictments pending in the United States for the 1996 shoot down of American civilian planes operated by the Brothers to the Rescue humanitarian organization.