As if the Mexican border crisis were not sufficiently compromising national security, the Biden administration invited officials from a communist country that appears on the government’s list of state terrorism sponsors to tour sensitive U.S. maritime security facilities. The bizarre secret jaunt was scheduled last week to grant a delegation from Cuba’s Border Guard and Ministry of Foreign Affairs access to the nation’s Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington D.C. as well as port facilities in Wilmington, North Carolina. Cuba appears on the State Department list of terrorist nations along with Syria, Iran, and North Korea. Cuba has a long history of providing advice, safe haven, communications, training, and financial support to guerrilla groups and individual terrorists, according to the State Department. Furthermore, Cuba maintains close and collaborative ties with designated state sponsors of terror such as Iran and North Korea and the communist island harbors multiple fugitives who committed or supported acts of terrorism in the United States.
It makes no sense for any administration, Democrat or Republican, to grant an adversary with a history like Cuba’s access to essential Homeland Security facilities, especially at a time when the country is getting slammed with unknown foreigners entering illegally in droves. Apparently, the excursion was part of the International Port Security Program, which seeks to reduce risk to U.S. maritime interests, including American ports and ships, and facilitate secure maritime trade globally in partnership with global maritime trading partners. “Through international port visits, the discussion and sharing of port security best practices and the development of mutual interests in securing ships coming to the United States enhance both U.S. port security and the security of the global maritime transportation system,” according to the U.S. Coast Guard’s description of the program.
However, none of that should apply to Cuba, which also harbors dozens of fugitives and terrorists from American justice. Among them is Joanne Chesimard, who appears on the FBI’s most wanted terrorist list and is also known by her Black Panther name of Assata Shakur. Chesimard was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted by a jury of the 1979 murder of a New Jersey State Trooper. With the help of fellow cult members, she escaped from jail and fled to Cuba. Chesimard is among the targets of bipartisan legislation introduced last year to force Cuba’s communist government to extradite more than 70 fugitives receiving safe haven on the island. “It is unacceptable that the Cuban regime continues to harbor criminals responsible for committing heinous acts in the United States, including terrorist bombings, murdering American police officers, hijacking planes, and trafficking arms,” said Democrat Bob Menedez, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, when the bill was introduced. The veteran lawmaker added that “the families of the victims of these fugitives, including many in my home state of New Jersey, have spent decades unable to find closure and see justice done as a direct result of the Cuban regime’s actions.”
Thanks to his Republican Senate colleague, Marco Rubio of Florida, the recent Coast Guard tour was cut short and the Cuban delegation only visited port facilities in North Carolina. In a letter to the president Rubio demanded that the visit be canceled and that Biden provide an explanation for sharing the nation’s security protocols with a foreign adversary. The senator reminds the commander-in-chief that Cuba is a state sponsor of terrorism for its broken commitments to cooperate with U.S. counter-terrorism efforts and its continued support of the Maduro narco-regime in Venezuela, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN) in Colombia. “Both of these foreign terrorist organizations carry out attacks against civilians and engage in narcotics trafficking that bring cocaine, fentanyl and other drugs to our shores,” Rubio writes. “It is unconscionable that you would allow security operatives from Cuba – a State Sponsor of Terrorism that actively cooperates with narcotics traffickers, China, Russia, and Iran – the opportunity to access sensitive national security installations and maritime security protocols.”
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