U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, commented today on the State Department's release of its Country Reports on Terrorism 2011. Cuba, along with Iran, Syria and Sudan, was once again designated by the State Department as a State Sponsor of Terrorism (SST). The report notes the Castro regime's ties to and active support for foreign terrorist organizations, such as the FARC in Colombia. The report also cites the regime's harboring of U.S. fugitives and its refusal to follow international money laundering regulations. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"Since 1982, Cuba's continual designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, just 90 miles away from our shores, reaffirms its threat to our national security. The Castro brothers are well known for their avid and long-term support for radical insurgent groups throughout Latin America, including their close ties to fellow despots in Iran, Syria, and Sudan who are also state sponsors of terrorism.
"It is disconcerting that this Administration is hell-bent on engaging the dictators in Havana despite its own reports illustrating the threat posed by the Castro regime. These thugs in Cuba have never and will never respond to friendly diplomatic gestures and continue to work to spread their anti-American propaganda worldwide.
"As the Administration continues to make nice with the Castros, a U.S. citizen unjustly languishes in a Cuban jail, the Cuban espionage apparatus continues to target the U.S., human rights are trampled and denied, and 11 million Cubans continue to watch as the world around them changes while their plight is ignored by Castro apologists.
"I urge President Obama to realize the failure of his Cuba policy and to stop appeasing the Castro brothers. It has not worked and it will not work. The suffering of an entire nation demands a change of course."