View Full Version : U.S. Orders Ban of Arms Sales to Venezuela

05-15-2006, 05:44 PM
U.S. Orders Ban of Arms Sales to Venezuela
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060515/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/us_venezuela_8;_ylt=Arr_XZzQsPPzWmgnU9CLvqpjhuIA;_ ylu=X3oDMTBiMW04NW9mBHNlYwMlJVRPUCUl

By GEORGE GEDDA, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration is banning arms sales from the U.S. to Venezuela, America's fifth-largest source for oil imports, because of what it says is a lack of support by President Hugo Chavez's government for counterterrorism.

The U.S. action signals a further deterioration in relations with Venezuela, though Chavez shrugged it off and said he did not plan retaliation.
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Monday the United States was concerned about Venezuela's close relations with Iranand Cuba, both of which are on the department's list of state sponsors of terror.

"If you have a reasonable or rational expectation that somehow information that you share with them might make its way to just the groups that you're trying to combat, that's certainly negative," McCormack said.

He said the United States is also concerned about Venezuela's ties with two leftist guerrilla groups in Colombia: the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, and the National Liberation Army, or ELN. Both have been designated foreign terrorist organizations by the United States.

Chavez, on a visit to London, dismissed the U.S. move as irrelevant. "This doesn't matter to us at all," he told The Associated Press. He pledged efforts to find a solution to the problem.

Labeling the United States an "irrational empire," Chavez said it has a "great capacity to do harm to the countries of the world." Chavez previously has President Bush a terrorist and has accused the United States of plotting to overthrow him.

Earlier, at a London news conference, Chavez rejected U.S. claims that Iran's nuclear program is aimed at producing a nuclear bomb. "I don't believe that the United States or anyone else has the right ... to prohibit that a country have nuclear energy," he said.

The arms sale ban affects U.S. sales and licensing for the export of defense articles and services to Venezuela, including the transfer of defense items, said Darla Jordan, a State Department spokeswoman.

The sanctions are not expected to have a significant impact on U.S. business dealings with Venezuela. The State Department has expressed concern in the past about what it contends is an arms buildup by Venezuela, including the purchase of 100,000 rifles from Russia.

The department said Monday it has noted Venezuela's "multibillion-dollar arms acquisition program."

Thomas Shannon, who heads the State Department's Latin America bureau, said the administration had concluded that it could not tell Congress that Venezuela was cooperating in counterterrorism activities in any meaningful way.

"This was a step we took with great reluctance," Shannon said in response to a question during an appearance at George Washington University.

He also noted that the administration already had "decertified" Venezuela for lack of cooperation in combating drug trafficking. "We are now at the same point concerning terrorism," Shannon said.

Antoine Halff, an oil analyst at Fimat USA in New York, said it was too soon to determine how the oil market would react, though he anticipated a possible short-term increase in oil prices. He added that the U.S. has ample supplies right now and that any potential retaliatory action by Venezuela would be tempered by the fact that global demand appears to be weakening.

Indeed, crude-oil futures declined more than 3 percent Monday, falling below $70 a barrel, amid signs that high prices were slowing consumption in the United States.

05-16-2006, 05:26 PM
Cuba, [which is] on the department's list of state sponsors of terror

Why is Cuba on this list? What terrorist organisations does it sponsor? NONE!

Recycled Non Sequiturs

State Department Report Offers No Evidence that Cuba is a "Terrorist State"

By WAYNE S. SMITH - Counterpunch

In the case of Cuba, the State Department's annual report on "State Sponsors of Terrorism," issued on April 28 of 2006, is a complete dud. It presents not a shred of evidence to confirm that Cuba is in fact a terrorist state: nothing!

It says, for example, that: "Cuba did not attempt to track, block, or seize terrorist assets, although the authority to do so is contained in Cuba's Law 93 Against Acts of Terrorism, as well as Instruction 19 of the Superintendent of the Cuban Central Bank"

But the obvious response to that is "what assets?" There is no evidence at all that al-Qaeda or any other foreign terrorist organization has any assets in Cuba. So, there is nothing to seize. The statement does make clear, however, that Cuba has laws on the books against acts of terrorism!

The report goes on to complain that: "To date, the Cuban government has taken no action against al-Qaeda or other terrorist groups."

But, again, the charge is a non sequitur. Neither al-Qaeda nor any other terrorist group has a presence in Cuba and thus it is not at all clear what "action" Cuba could take against them.

The report complains further that: "Cuba did not undertake any counterterrorism efforts in international or regional fora."

But this is not really true. Cuba has signed all twelve of the UN's anti-terrorist resolutions. It also condemned the terrorist attacks on 9/11 and expressed its solidarity with the American people. Subsequently, the Cuban government offered to sign a bi-lateral agreement with the United States to cooperate in the struggle against terrorism. The Bush administration ignored the offer.

As though grasping for something--anything!--to say, the report complains that Cuba "maintains friendly ties with Iran and North Korea." True, but unless there is some evidence that those ties extend to cooperation in terrorist activities or planning--and no such evidence is presented --, they are not pertinent to the question of whether Cuba is or is not a "terrorist state."

The report repeats its annual complaint that Cuba permits American fugitives to live in Cuba and is not responsive to U.S. requests that they be extradited.

There are American fugitives in Cuba, yes. Most are hijackers who came in the 1970s and have lived in Cuba since then. There are a number, probably 7 or 8, wanted for crimes in the United States, and it is true that Cuba has not responded positively to U.S. requests for their extradition. But two things must be noted about that. First, the 1904 extradition treaty is for all practical purposes no longer operative because the U.S. has not honored a single Cuban request for extradition since 1959. Second, by and large, the "crimes" committed in the U.S. had a political background, and Article VI of the old 1904 treaty excludes the extradition of those whose crimes had a "political character."

Further, as Robert Muse, an international lawyer, noted in a report on the matter back in 2004, none of the U.S. fugitives in Cuba provides a basis for declaring Cuba to be a "state sponsor of terrorism." Legal authority to make such a designation is found in section 6(j) of the 1979 Export Administration Act, and under that section, it would have to be demonstrated that the fugitives had committed "terrorist" acts and that those acts were "international" in character. Muse states that he has been unable to identify a single U.S. fugitive in Cuba who meets those twofold criteria. And so, the fugitives are extraneous to the definition of Cuba as a "state sponsor of terrorism."[1]

Strangely, the report raises the case of Luis Posada Carriles, the Cuban exile arch-terrorist charged with the bombing of a Cubana airliner back in 1976 with the loss of 73 lives, for other terrorist acts in Cuba and for planning the assassination of Fidel Castro in Panama in the year 2000, under circumstances that could have cost the lives of hundreds. The report says Cuba demands that he be surrendered to them. This is inaccurate. It is the government of Venezuela that has requested his extradition, which the United States, without legal grounds, has refused. Posada Carriles is being held in custody in El Paso, Texas. Clearly, he has received preferential treatment from the U.S. government. Otherwise, he would have been deported to Venezuela or tried here for his crimes.

Posada Carriles joins a list of other exile terrorists being sheltered by the U.S. Orlando Bosch, who also participated in the bombing of the Cubana airliner back in 1976, is probably the most notorious of these. It would appear from this report, then, that it is the United States and not Cuba that is harboring terrorists!

As it does every year, the report mentions the presence in Cuba of members of the Basque ETA guerrilla organization, and the Colombian FARC and ELN. In past years, the State Department had tried to suggest that they were in Cuba against the wishes of their respective governments and had sinister objectives, but that suggestion has been shot down year after year by representatives of the Colombian and Spanish governments. This year, no such allegations are made. It is acknowledged that they are living in Cuba legally. Further, the report states that: "There is no information concerning terrorist activities of these or other organizations on Cuban territory.The United States is not aware of specific terrorist enclaves in the country."

If they are there legally and are not involved in terrorist activities, then how does their presence in any way lead to the conclusion that Cuba is a "state sponsor of terrorism?"

Indeed, how does anything in this report lead to that conclusion?

[1] See The Center for International Policy's International Policy Report, "Cuba Should Not be on the Terrorist List," November 2004, pp.4-5.

Wayne S. Smith is a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy (http://www.ciponline.org/) in Washington, D.C., and a retired foreign service officer with service in the Soviet Union and the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research