HAVANA, May 1 (Xinhua) -- Cuba on Thursday strongly protested against its inclusion once again on the United States' list of countries it claims sponsor terrorism, and demanded it be removed from the group.
"Cuba demands our country to be definitively removed from this spurious unilateral and arbitrary list, which is an affront to the Cuban people and discredits the United States government itself," Cuban Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement.
The U.S. State Department on Wednesday issued its annual list of alleged state sponsors of terrorism, including Iran, Sudan and Syria alongside Cuba.
Cuba also condemned the American manipulation of such a sensitive issue as international terrorism to punish countries politically opposed to its policies.
Cuba has never been or will ever be used as a haven for terrorists, the Cuban Foreign Ministry said, adding the State Department used the pretext that Cuba harbored U.S. fugitives, though none of them have been accused of terrorism.
"Some of these citizens were given legitimate asylum, while others who committed crimes in the United States were duly tried and punished here, and decided to reside in Cuba after serving their sentences," the ministry said.
Havana noted, however, that the State Department had no option but to recognize that in 2013 the government of Cuba supported and sponsored peace talks between the government of Colombia and that country's largest armed leftist insurgent group (FARC).
The U.S. report also acknowledged that there is no information that the Cuban government has provided weapons or paramilitary training to terrorist groups, and that members of the Basque separatist group ETA residing in Cuba were relocated in cooperation with the Spanish government.
Cuba countered that the United States has provided asylum to terrorists targeting Cuba, such as Luis Posada Carriles, who is wanted by three countries in the Americas for causing the explosion of a Cubana de Aviacion plane in 1976 that killed 73 people.