The poor Bush administration just can't seem to win in the War on Terrorism. They seem surprised that it's so tough for them to secure allies in the fight, despite their track record of overthrowing bad boy regimes they don't like.
This weekend, the State Department released a document complaining about Cuba and Venezuela's unwillingness to do their part in making the world a safer place. "Cuba remained a state sponsor of terrorism, while Venezuela virtually ceased its cooperation in the global war on terror, tolerating terrorists in its territory and seeking closer relations with Cuba and Iran," the report notes.
The report fails to spell out just how Cuba supports terrorism, but retreated from earlier administration claims that Cuba was harboring biological weapons. Nevertheless, it doesn't forget to mention limited contacts between Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, and North Korea that have been monitored by U.S. intelligence services.
All this complaining about the lack of cooperation on the part of Venezuela and Cuba is so much blather given U.S. policy towards the two nations. To wit, after the CIA briefly ousted Hugo Chavez from power in 2002, it's unreasonable to expect he'll cozy up to Bush and Co. anytime soon. And public berating him as an authoritarian thug doesn't help matters either.
As for Cuba, the history, of course, runs much deeper. The State Department report notes that Cuba
continues to permit U.S. fugitives to live legally in Cuba, and is unlikely to satisfy U.S. extradition requests for terrorists harbored in the country. In previous years, the government responded to requests to extradite U.S. fugitives by stating that approval would be contingent upon the U.S. returning wanted Cuban criminals.
In particular, Cuba has demanded the extradition of Posada Carriles, a CIA operative who planned and executed the 1976 bombing of a Cubana Airlines flight, killing 70 passengers on board. While the U.S. is right to demand the return of the five "murderers" harbored by Cuba, these five are hardly "terrorists" as the U.S. claims. Carriles, on the other hand, is, and once supported by the U.S. government to boot! Which brings up an uncomfortable question: Can the United States be labeled a state sponsor of terrorism?