U.S. Church leaders: Designating Cuba a state sponsor of terrorism is ‘overkill’

U.S. Church leaders: Designating Cuba a state sponsor of terrorism is ‘overkill’

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at the National Press Club in Washington Jan. 12, 2021. He reclassified Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism Jan. 11, 2021, five years after the island nation was removed from that list.(Credit: Andrew Harnik/Reuters, via CNS).

A day after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo re-designated Cuba as a “state sponsor of terrorism” Bishop David Malloy of Rockford expressed his “profound disagreement” with the decision.

NEW YORK — A day after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo re-designated Cuba as a “state sponsor of terrorism” Bishop David Malloy of Rockford expressed his “profound disagreement” with the decision.

“We need more relations between the United States and Cuba, not less, in order to construct mutually beneficial trade, cultural, and scientific ties that will yield a lasting prosperity for both our nations,” Malloy, the chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace said in a statement Tuesday.

In a press release on Monday, Pompeo cited that Cuba harbors several U.S. fugitives and refuses Colombian government requests to extradite 10 members of the National Liberation Army – a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization – living in Havana.

Pompeo also said that by supporting Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro, Cuba helped create “a permissive environment for international terrorists to live and thrive within Venezuela.”

Cuba was removed from the blacklist by President Barack Obama during his presidency. And in 2015, the former president restored full diplomatic relations. The other three countries on the list are North Korea, Iran and Syria.

Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami told Crux the decision was “overkill,” citing Great Britain’s unwillingness to extradite Julian Assange.

“We have people in Great Britain we would like extradited and Great Britain refuses to extradite them and we don’t put Great Britain on the terrorist list,” Wenski said.

Bishop Frank Dewane of Venice told Crux that when it comes to state sponsored terrorism, “I don’t know that Cuba is a country that pops into the mind of most people.”

In the statement, Malloy said the USCCB and the Holy See will continue to urge collaboration between the United States and Cuba, as well as the full lifting of the economic embargo against the island nation.

“I pray that we never tire of working towards these goals and that both sides recognize the need for friendship and collaboration,” Malloy said.

Follow John Lavenburg on Twitter: @johnlavenburg

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