U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, made the following statement on the State Department's recommendation to not change Cuba status on the State Sponsors of Terrorism (SST) list. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"The State Department's announcement yesterday that it intends to keep Cuba on the State Sponsor of Terrorism (SST) list reaffirms that the Castro regime is, and has always been, a supporter and facilitator of terrorism. The unlawful actions against our nation include the Castro regime's order of the Brothers to the Rescue shootdown in 1996 which caused the deaths of U.S. citizens over international waters.
"The Cuban tyranny continues to undermine our interests at every turn and provides a safe haven for members of terrorist organizations like the FARC and ETA. The Castro brothers have long been collaborators with fellow SST members Iran and Syria, and Cuba acts as a sanctuary for fugitives from our country, including Joanne Chesimard wanted for the murder of a New Jersey State Trooper. Cuba also continues to operate its vast spy network within the United States, posing a direct threat to our national security.
"While I'm pleased that the State Department isn't taking Cuba off the SST list, I am disappointed it has not indicated a willingness to re-designate North Korea as an SST country. Removing North Korea form the SST list was a poor decision and it has not stopped the Pyongyang regime from undermining U.S. interests and from continuing its support to other SST members such as Iran and Syria. The illicit actions by the regimes in Cuba, Iran, Syria, North Korea, and Sudan all warrant their inclusions on the SST list.