Cuba publishes list of accused terrorists, including Miami mayoral candidate

  • World
  • Saturday, 09 Dec 2023

FILE PHOTO: An honour guard stands at the entrance of the Revolution Palace ahead of the G77+China summit in Havana, Cuba, September 14, 2023. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini/File Photo

HAVANA (Reuters) - Cuba published late on Thursday a list of foreign nationals and entities it accuses of involvement with terrorism, including influencers, many long-time dissidents who reside in the United States and a candidate for mayor of Florida's Miami-Dade County.

The list, which identifies 61 people and 20 entities for alleged involvement in promoting or planning "acts of terrorism," comes just days after an annual U.S. government report said Cuba "grants safe harbor to terrorists," charges that Havana denies.

The tit-for-tat allegations from the two long-time rivals underscore the still-icy relationship between Cuba and long-time foe the United States, which has warmed little under the administration of President Joe Biden.

The Cuban list, published in the country`s National Gazette late Thursday, alleges the involvement of dozens of people in hotel bombings, plots to foment unrest, and assassination attempts against Cuba`s former and now-deceased leader Fidel Castro, some of which are 30 years old.

More recent cases on the list include that of Alex Otaola, a social media influencer in Miami who is running for mayor of Miami-Dade County, and is accused by Cuba, in a 2021 case file, of "promoting armed aggression against Cuba."

Otaola denied those allegations on social media on Thursday, but said his inclusion proved he had gotten under the skin of Cuban authorities.

"I have never promoted armed aggression, I have never asked for violent acts against public officials," he said. "Being on this list of names ... is an honor. It is the greatest diploma they can give me."

The Biden administration last year partially rolled back some Trump-era restrictions on remittances and travel to the Communist-run island nation and has ramped up the processing of immigrant visas for Cubans wishing to travel to the United States.

But Biden has not budged on a decision by his Republican predecessor, Donald Trump, who separately designated Cuba a state sponsor of terrorism before leaving office in January 2021, a measure which saddled Cuba with fresh and severe sanctions.

The listing was part of Trump’s reversal of rapprochement with Cuba initiated by his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, under whom Biden served as vice president.

(Reporting by Dave Sherwood and Nelson Acosta; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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