On January 12, 2021, the Department of State designated Cuba as a State Sponsor of Terrorism. The Secretary determined that the Cuban government repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism in granting safe harbor to terrorists.
Cuba was previously 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.
Cuba’s designation was rescinded in 2015 after a thorough review found that Cuba met the statutory criteria for rescission. In 2021, the Secretary of State determined that Cuba had repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism since its State Sponsor of Terrorism designation had been rescinded in 2015. 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 people and injured 87 others.
The Cuban government did not formally respond to the extradition requests for ELN leaders Victor Orlando Cubides (aka “Pablo Tejada”) and 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 murdering 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 his conviction on 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.