Colombian President reiterates that it is unjust to include Cuba on list of State Sponsors of Terrorism

The President of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, reiterated this Monday, in a press conference with the U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, that the inclusion of Cuba in the U.S. list of countries sponsoring terrorism is unjust.

"Personally, in this meeting that has just taken place I said that what has happened with Cuba is an injustice", Petro said in the meeting with the head of the U.S. diplomacy, who is visiting Colombia.

A Colombian government asked Cuba to host negotiations with the National Liberation Army (ELN) and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Petro recalled.

He recalled that in the talks with the FARC an overseer of the administration of Barack Obama participated and then another Colombian government asked the government of Donald Trump to declare Cuba as a country that stimulates terrorist activities for having in its territory the peace negotiating delegation, "and that is an injustice," Petro emphasized.

"Therefore, in my opinion, it does not depend on us, it must be corrected," Petro stressed at the press conference at the Casa de Nariño, seat of the Colombian presidency.

He explained that his government recovered the role of guarantor countries for the processes now being initiated by Norway, Cuba, Venezuela and -he stressed- there are other nations such as Spain that have requested the same status.

For his part, Blinken said that "the United States has clear criteria, laws and requirements and will continue to consider and see if Cuba will continue to have such designation".

A few days before the end of his term, the government of Donald Trump included Cuba in the questioned list and the then commissioner for peace Miguel Ceballos assured that it was an endorsement of the U.S. government to the Colombian government.

For its inclusion, the false argument of the refusal of the Cuban government (guarantor of the peace dialogue between the ELN and the Colombian State) to a request by Iván Duque, who demanded the extradition of the ELN negotiating leaders who were in Havana after an attack on a police academy in Bogotá, was used.

The former president made the demand, despite knowing the existence of protocols designed and agreed by the parties with strict attention to the provisions of international law for the solution of internal armed conflicts, including the protocol for the event of the breakdown of the talks.

The concert of voices to exclude Cuba from that arbitrary list is growing in Colombia and today more than 100 renowned intellectuals and academics demanded the removal of Cuba from that list, who join the demand of more than 80 congressmen and hundreds of women, among others.

Likewise, some 300 faith-based organizations, churches and believers from 23 countries asked Blinken to remove Cuba from the list "of countries that sponsor terrorism".

Yesterday, the Colombian Foreign Minister, Avaro Leyva, affirmed to a local press media that this protocol was ignored by the previous administration against all international norms.

"We are reviving it, there is the chapter on how to return them, how to bring them back, how to take them, how to restart those conversations within a legal framework that implies the suspension of the legal action", he clarified.

"You cannot talk to a person seeking peace and at the same time request his extradition, it would be a contradiction in terms and it would rather be an alternate declaration of war," the minister assured.

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