Friday, December 19, 2014

The United States Department of State’s Designation of Cuba as a State Sponsor of Terrorism and Freedom House’s Listing of Cuba as “Not Free”

The United States Department of State’s Listing of Cuba as a State Sponsor of Terrorism
Cuba’s Communist Castro dictatorship has been designated as a state sponsor of terrorism since 1982:  In its designation from 2013, the latest year available, the State Department cites Cuba as long having provided safe haven to terrorists, including from ETA (the Socialist Basque separatists) and the FARC (Marxist narco-terrorists of Colombia).  The State Department also notes that Cuba harbors and provides economic support to fugitives from the U.S. 

Freedom House’s Listing of Cuba as “Not Free”
Freedom House, the leading organization in the world that ranks states around the world on levels of freedom lists Cuba as “Not Free,” with a 6.5 ranking out of 7, the lowest possible score, for 2013, the latest year available:

Freedom House observes that Cuba is a “one-party system, in which the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) controls all government and most civil institutions.”  The system is dominated by brothers Fidel and Raul Castro.  As Freedom House explains, “All political organizing outside the PCC is illegal.  Political dissent, whether spoken or written, is a punishable offense, and dissidents are systematically harassed, detained, physically assaulted, and frequently sentenced to years of imprisonment for seemingly minor infractions.”  The Castro dictatorship held over 100 Cubans by the end of 2013 as political prisoners after its most recent crackdown on dissent, according to Freedom House. 

News media in Cuba is “owned and controlled by the state” while “the independent press is considered illegal.”  Internet access is limited and heavily censored, according to Freedom House’s ranking.  Freedom House notes restrictions on religious and academic freedom and a lack of freedom of assembly or even association in terms of political parties, independent associations or even labor unions, as workers may not even bargain collectively, let alone strike.  The judiciary is not independent of the state and racial discrimination against blacks continues to be practiced unofficially by elements of the regime, according to the freedom-ranking organization.  “Freedom of movement and the right to chose one’s residence and place of employment are restricted,” particularly for those who wish to work abroad, Freedom House observes.

The continued lack of economic freedom, despite minimal economic liberalization by the regime, is also noted by Freedom House.  For example, Freedom House found a lack of “expansion of the private sector beyond survival-oriented microenterprises.”

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