Overview: Cuba was designated as a State Sponsor of Terrorism in 1982 because of its long history of providing advice, safe haven, communications, training, and financial support to guerrilla groups and individual terrorists. This designation was rescinded in 2015 after a policy review found Cuba met the statutory requirements for rescission. Cuba maintains close and collaborative ties with designated state sponsors of terror such as Iran and North Korea. Citing peace negotiation protocols signed by Colombia in 2016 that stipulated safe passage for ELN negotiators back to Colombia, the Cuban regime continued to permit ELN negotiators associated with now-defunct peace talks to reside in Cuba, despite Colombia’s repeated requests for their extradition. Cuba also continues to harbor multiple fugitives who committed or supported acts of terrorism in the United States.
2020 Terrorist Incidents: There were no terrorist attacks within Cuba in 2020.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Citing peace negotiation protocols, Cuba refused Colombia’s request to extradite 10 ELN leaders living in Havana after that group claimed responsibility for the 2019 bombing of a Bogotá police academy that killed 22 persons and injured 87 others. The Cuban government did not formally respond to the 2019 extradition requests for ELN leaders Victor Orlando Cubides (aka “Pablo Tejada”) and Israel Ramírez Pineda (aka “Pablo Beltrán”) filed by Colombia.
Cuba also harbors several U.S. fugitives from justice wanted on charges related to political violence, many of whom have resided in Cuba for decades. For example, the Cuban regime refused to return Joanne Chesimard, aka Assata Shakur, a fugitive on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists List, who was convicted of executing New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster. Cuba also refused to return William “Guillermo” Morales, a fugitive bomb maker for the Armed Forces for National Liberation, who is wanted by the FBI and escaped detention after being convicted of charges related to domestic terrorism; Ishmael LaBeet, aka Ishmael Muslim Ali, who received eight life sentences after being convicted of killing eight persons in the U.S. Virgin Islands in 1972 and hijacking a plane to flee to Cuba in 1984; Charles Lee Hill, who has been charged with killing New Mexico state policeman Robert Rosenbloom in 1971; Ambrose Henry Montfort, who used a bomb threat to hijack a passenger aircraft and fly to Cuba in 1983; and Víctor Manuel Gerena, a Puerto Rican militant who stole $7 million in a bank heist. Cuba is also believed to host or has hosted U.S. fugitive terrorists Catherine Marie Kerkow and Elizabeth Anna Duke.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Cuba is a member of the GAFILAT, a FATF-style regional body. Its FIU, the Directorate General of Financial Transactions Investigation, is a member of the Egmont Group. There were no significant updates in 2020.
Countering Violent Extremism: Cuba conducted no CVE efforts in 2020.
International and Regional Cooperation: Cuba is not an active member of the OAS.