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State Department: Cuba still a state sponsor of terrorism

Critics of US-Cuba policy would like to see the island nation removed from the State Department's list of state sponors of terrorism, but no such luck.

Cuba, along with Iran, Sudan and Syria, was included in the department's report for 2008 -- released today. But with the Obama administration showing signs of wanting to improve relations with Havana, the language on Cuba appears a little less bellicose than in the past.

Full language from this year's report and last follows the jump.

From the 2008 report: "Although Cuba no longer actively supports armed struggle in Latin America and other parts of the world, the Cuban government continued to provide safe haven to several terrorists. Members of ETA, the FARC, and the ELN remained in Cuba during 2008, some having arrived in Cuba in connection with peace negotiations with the governments of Spain and Colombia. Cuban authorities continued to publicly defend the FARC.

"However, on July 6, 2008, former Cuban President Fidel Castro called on the FARC to release the hostages they were holding without preconditions. He has also condemned the FARC's mistreatment of captives and of their abduction of civilian politicians who had no role in the armed conflict.

"The United States has no evidence of terrorist-related money laundering or terrorist financing activities in Cuba, although Cuba has one of the world's most secretive and non-transparent national banking systems. Cuba has no financial intelligence unit. Cuba's Law 93 Against Acts of Terrorism provides the government authority to track, block, or seize terrorist assets.

"The Cuban government continued to permit some U.S. fugitives-including members of U.S. militant groups such as the Boricua Popular, or Macheteros, and the Black Liberation Army to live legally in Cuba. In keeping with its public declaration, the government has not provided safe haven to any new U.S. fugitives wanted for terrorism since 2006."

And 2007: "The Government of Cuba remained opposed to U.S. counterterrorism policy, and actively and publicly condemned many associated U.S. policies and actions. To U.S. knowledge, the Cuban government 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. No new counterterrorism laws were enacted, nor were any executive orders or regulations issued in this regard. The Government of Cuba provided safe haven to members of ETA, the FARC, and the ELN. It maintained close relationships with other state sponsors of terrorism such as Iran and Syria.

"The Cuban government continued to permit more than 70 U.S. fugitives to live legally in Cuba and refused almost all U.S. requests for their return. These U.S. fugitives include convicted murderers (two of them killed police officers) as well as numerous hijackers, most of whom entered Cuba in the 1970s. The government returned one American citizen fugitive when that person sailed his boat into Cuban waters and it was determined that he was wanted on fraud charges in the state of Utah. The Cuban government stated in 2006 that it would no longer provide safe haven to new U.S. fugitives entering Cuba.

"The Cuban government did not extradite suspected terrorists during the year."