Thousands sign OffTheList letter to US ambassador
Campaign News | Monday, 29 January 2024
More than a thousand people have signed a letter to the US ambassador calling for Cuba to be removed from the US State Sponsors of Terrorism list. Please join them by adding your name today.
On 30 November 2023 the US State Department reiterated its designation of Cuba as a ‘State Sponsor of Terrorism’ alongside the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran and Syria.
Although Cuba was removed from the SSOT list by the Obama administration in 2015, Donald Trump put them back on a few days before the end of his term on 11 January 2021. The economic consequences of being on the list are catastrophic: Cuba is unable to access international banking systems, and there are increasing shortages of basic necessities including food, fuel, medicine and hygiene products. Forty-five international banks immediately terminated relations with Cuba when it was returned to the list.
In justifying its most recent decision to designate Cuba an SSOT, the US State Department issued a report which cited the refusal to extradite ELN leaders in Havana in 2019 when Cuba was hosting peace talks between the ELN and Colombian government. The report acknowledged however that Colombian President Gustavo Petro has called Cuba’s continued inclusion on the list a “profound injustice.”
Several US Democrat politicians renewed their demands to Joe Biden to remove Cuba from the list in December after being shocked to discover that the State Department had not even begun the review process.
Numerous countries also condemned the decision during the November 2023 United Nations General Assembly debate, which saw 187-2 vote against the illegal US blockade.
Cuba’s Foreign Ministry (MINREX) released a statement on 2 December in which it rejected “in the strongest terms the slanderous reference against Cuba.” MINREX said the report was based on unfounded accusations used for political purposes, i.e. to justify the US’ attacks against Cuba, including the inhumane economic, commercial and financial blockade.
MINREX said that Cuba would “maintain its efforts in the fight against terrorism, of which it has been a victim, at the cost of 3,478 deaths and 2,099 people injured, all as a consequence of actions organised, financed and perpetrated fundamentally from the territory of the United States by individuals and organisations there. They operate with the tolerance, complicity and protection of the government of that country.”
Many of those who have left messages when signing CSC’s open letter to US Ambassador Jane Hartley have also referenced Cuba’s long-standing role in the peace talks in Colombia.
Paula Barker, MP for Liverpool Riverside, said: “It would be more accurate to describe Cuba as a state sponsor of peace given its historic role in hosting peace talks.”
Richard Burgon, MP for Leeds East, agreed: “I urge the US government to take Cuba, which has helped bring peace to one of Latin America’s most troubled countries, off the State Sponsors of Terrorism list.”
Fr Geoffrey Bottoms, a lead campaigner for freedom for the Miami Five, said: “Cuba is the victim of US terrorism rather than the sponsor of terrorism. The Cuban Five were unjustly imprisoned for fighting terrorism against their country which only sponsors international solidarity in the struggle for peace, equality and justice. End the blockade and take Cuba off the US State Sponsors of Terrorism List. Respect Cuba’s right to self-determination!”
British-based Cubans have also signed the open letter. Armando Lao Alvarez wrote: “My family has never been involved in any terrorist activities. Why should my ill mum and little nephews pay for something that they haven’t done? The US is the richest country in the world, how can Cuba, a little country in Caribbean, be dangerous to you?!! Stop this madness and let our people live in peace and prosperity.”
Miriam Palacios-Callender, a Cuban scientist who has lived in the UK for more than 30 years, implored the US ambassador to take action to relieve the suffering of her own and other families in Cuba: “As a British Cuban I witnessed the pain and shortages faced by my family in Cuba. The US foreign policy toward Cuba is inhumane and we also suffer the financial restrictions of the unilateral inclusion of Cuba in the SSOT list which prevents us from sending money home. The pressure forces people to leave the country. I am myself part of the brain drain triggered by US blockade. Living in the UK for more than 30 years has made me very bitter towards the US when we are supposed to be neighbours in science. I think that you can do something as I always believe that women understand better the needs of families. Do something for the Cuban families.”
WRITE TO THE US AMBASSADOR TODAY
Write to the US ambassador and demand that the US government remove Cuba from its State Sponsors of Terrorism list and end the inhumane blockade.
– Please add your name at bit.ly/cubaoffthelist
– Share and ask your friends, family, work colleagues, party and trade union branches to sign and circulate
– If you have no internet access you can also call us with your name and message and we will add you to the letter
PETITION, POSTERS & POSTCARDS
You can download posters and a petition to collect signatures at events or meetings from the CSC website. Please share the postcard included in this issue of CubaSí and contact us if you would like more.
Messages to the US ambassador
“There is no justification for keeping Cuba on the State Sponsors of Terrorism list. I hope the US Government can do the right thing – take Cuba off the list, end the illegal blockade and move towards peace and cooperation.”
Mick Whelan, General Secretary, ASLEF
“As Colombian President Gustavo Petro pointed out, Cuba’s placement on this list for its role in hosting Colombia’s peace talks is a profound injustice. I urge the United States to take Cuba off the list.”
Kenny MacAskill, MP for East Lothian
“On behalf of the General Federation of Trade Unionists, we call for the cruel blockade to end and for Cuba to be removed from the SSOT list.”
Gawain Little, General Secretary, GFTU
“We should all join hands with Cuba in solidarity to end the inhumane, unjust US blockade.”
Claudia Webbe, MP for Leicester East
“There are no grounds for considering Cuba a terrorist state, or one sponsoring terrorism. There are many states who do fall into this category, but Cuba is not one of them.”
Phil Thompson, on behalf of UNISON, London Region
“The presence of Cuba on the SSOT list is costing lives and preventing Cuba from effectively trading with other nations. There is no evidence to support their presence on this list and in the names of justice and humanity Cuba should be removed from the list.”
Allan Eldred, CWU executive
“Cuba has suffered over sixty years of punishment for daring to make this beautiful country and the lives of its citizens better – to end poverty and to educate. It’s time for this injustice to end; it’s immoral, unjust and pathetic. End the blockade!”
Andrew Hudd, ASLEF Vice President
Diane Abbott MP
Kevin Courtney, Chair, CSC
Ian Lavery MP
Chris Law MP
Mick Lynch, General Secretary, RMT
Daniel Kebede, General Secretary, NEU
John McDonnell MP
Grahame Morris MP
Barbara Plant, President, GMB
Gary Smith, General Secretary, GMB
Steve Turner, Assistant General Secretary, Unite the Union
Sarah Woolley, General Secretary, BFAWU
For a full list of signers and messages visit bit.ly/cubaoffthelist