The Cuban government has arrested four Cuban exile Americans in Havana for an alleged plot to commit “terrorist actions” against the Cuban government, mere weeks after the United States renewed Cuban’s designation as a state sponsor of terror.
According to the Associated Press, Jose Ortega Amador, Obdulio Rodriguez Gonzalez, Raibel Pacheco Santos, and Felix Monzon Alvarez were detained on April 26 for “intend[ing] to attack military installations with the goal of perpetrating violent actions,” according to a statement by the Cuban military.
The government alleged that the four were conspiring to commit actions against the communist government under the direction of a group of septuagenarian exiles in Miami, the Miami Herald notes. The Cuban government also attempted to claim 86-year-old Luis Posada Carriles, a former CIA agent and anti-communist activist currently living in Miami, was involved in the alleged plot. Despite being found not guilty of several accusations, Cuba and Venezuela have both sought to extradite the political activist for alleged “terrorism.”
“We categorically deny that Luis has absolutely anything to do with this or has any knowledge of any of these individuals who were allegedly arrested in Cuba,” Posada Carriles’s attorney, Arturo Hernández, said in a statement.
The Cuban government’s secrecy in arresting the American residents has raised some suspicion, as well as the lack of evidence the communist government has provided.
The news of the arrests follows a vitriolic response from the Cuban government to their renewed status on the United States’ State Sponsor of Terror list, which continues to impose sanctions on the government in addition to the decades-long embargo. The government said in a statement it “energetically rejects the manipulation of a matter as sensitive as international terrorism by turning it into an instrument of policy against Cuba and it demands that our country be definitively excluded from this spurious, unilateral and arbitrary list.”
Meanwhile, the Cuban government continues to harbor the leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a terror group that once deeply held to Marxist principles but now mostly uses violence to participate in the international drug trade. Cuba’s safe haven has given the FARC leverage to negotiate with the Colombian government in long-term peace talks that hold off significant military attacks from the Colombian government.
The Colombian situation has led to growing frustration on the right after American intervention, in cooperation with former President Álvaro Uribe, almost completely eradicated the FARC threat. In addition to combating the FARC and their ally, the Cuban government, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos may have had his correspondence compromised after law enforcement officials discovered a criminal syndicate had been intercepting communications between the government and FARC terror leaders in Havana.