Colombian President Iván Duque said on Friday that persecuting terrorist organizations is not being “warlike” but being on the side of legality, just two days after the United States included Cuba in the list of countries that do not cooperate in the fight against that scourge.
“Here, more than the warlike spirit, what prevails is the spirit of legality. And to confront any form of illegality is to fulfill the duty of defending the homeland,” said the president in the virtual promotion ceremony of 152 police second lieutenants.
From the Casa de Nariño, headquarters of the Executive, Duque maintained that the “fight against terrorism is a moral thing because there are many voices that tear their clothes pointing out and attacking corruption”, for which he emphasized his determination to confront groups on the margins of the law as the guerrilla National Liberation Army (ELN).
On May 13, the US State Department included Cuba in its list of countries that “do not fully cooperate” in the fight against terrorism, a measure that prohibits the sale of arms to the island and that also affects Venezuela, Iran, Syria and Korea. from North.
This is the first time that Cuba appears on that list since 2015, when the government of the then US president, Barack Obama, withdrew the island in the context of the bilateral thaw process.
The justification cited by the State Department to affirm that Cuba “does not cooperate fully” has to do with the presence on the island of members of the ELN, who traveled there to carry out peace negotiations with the Colombian government.
The ELN began peace negotiations with the former Colombian government in February 2017 in Quito, which in May 2018 were transferred to Havana where the last round of dialogues concluded without progress in early August.
However, President Duque made the continuation of the peace talks conditional on that group ceasing to kidnap and releasing the people it holds in captivity.
The process came to a standstill after the terrorist attack committed by the ELN on January 17, 2019 against the Francisco de Paula Santander General Police School in Bogotá, which left 22 cadets dead, including one from Ecuador, and 66 wounded.
As a result of this attack, Duque asked Cuba to surrender the guerrilla negotiators who are in Havana, which has not been answered by the island’s government.
The head of state today headed the virtual graduation ceremony for 152 cadets in which he asked to “remember the memory” of those he called “22 heroes and angels” who died in the terrorist attack against that training center.
Duque mentioned the names of the 22 victims of terrorism and noted that “we all remember them this day for their dedication to the homeland.”
The president noted that said attack was “also a moment where the country united to reject terrorism and pray for those who had left when they were beginning the path of formation with the highest commitment to the interests of the homeland.”