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Video by Rachel MARUSAK

Latest update : 2009-05-01

The US State Department has published its annual list of state sponsors of terrorism. Both Cuba and Iran are once again on the list. Meeting in Havana, representatives of the two countries denounced the classification.

AFP - Cuba, Iran and Venezuela assailed the US administration for a new report that lists Havana and Tehran as state sponsors of terrorism and raises concerns about Caracas.
The US State Department report, which singled out Iran as "the most active state sponsor of terrorism" in the world, was released in Washington Thursday as ministers from some of the countries named in the report were here for a meeting of non-aligned countries.
"With its support for the Zionist regime, racism, occupation" and "all it has done in the prison at Guantanamo, the United States is not competent" to accuse other countries of terrorism, said Iranian Foreign Minister Monouchehr Mottaki.
He said the President Barack Obama's administration speaks of change but some within it want past policies to continue.
"We do not recognize any political nor moral authority on the part of the United States ... to certify good or bad behavior," said Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez.
Rodriguez called the United States an "international delinquent" with "a long record of state terrorist actions, and not only against Cuba."
The release of the 2008 edition of the State Department's terrorist sponsor list followed overtures toward Cuba by Obama, who has sought to improve US relations with Latin America.
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro said the report was an example of US "double speak," saying it fit with the approach of the former administration of President George W. Bush.
"It is speech that extends a friendly hand and promises of change, but the real truth is that it is the imperial machinery that tries to dictate rules to us," Maduro said.
"They have to decide if they are extending a respectful hand to Latin America, to Venezuela," he said, or whether they will be carried along through inertia by "the worst sectors that governed that country during the past eight years."
The report said communist Cuba, which has been under a US embargo since 1962, continued to "provide safe haven to several terrorists" such as members of the Basque separatist group ETA and the Colombian rebel group FARC.
But it added that some members of these groups stayed in Cuba last year after having arrived "in connection with peace negotiations with the governments of Spain and Colombia."
It accused Venezuela of limiting its counter-terrorism cooperation because of President Hugo Chavez's ideological sympathy with Colombia's left-wing guerrilla groups.

Date created : 2009-05-01