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Should Cuba be removed from the State's Sponsor of Terrorism List

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/10/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,882 times Debate No: 38743
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So Cuba has been enlisted on the US State Sponsors of Terrorism List since 1982 back when the Cold War was a thing. The Cold War is no longer in effect today, so many of the reasons that we justified putting Cuba on the list are almost all but gone.

My first point of observation in this debate is that Cuba no longer supports terrorism. We've seen from things like the peace talks between Colombian FARC rebels, as well as consolations for the victims of the Boston Marathon, that Cuba is no longer the "evil" nation that we use to consider them. They even signed all the UN denunciations of terrorism.

My second point of observation is that keeping them on the list undermines our credibility as a nation in terms of foreign politics as well as prevents effective counter terrorism to real threats. Real threatening nations like Iran, Syria, and North Korea should all be looked at first before we even talk about Cuba. Cuba has not been involved in any type of terrorism act for a very long time, and yet we keep them on the list despite all these. The reason we look uncredible in foreign politics is our loose definition of the word terrorist, as well as not being able to effectively combat it since our resources are devoted to keeping countries like Cuba on the list.

My third point of observation is justification. We've picked on Cuba for a very long time, and have a full fledged embargo on them. It has been proven multiple times that the embargo is a violation of human rights, but then the US feels the need to kick them when they are down by putting them on the terrorism list, which sanctions them from other types of trade like science diplomacy. We currently justify Cuba for being on the list with 3 reasons: that it has allowed Basque separatists to reside within its borders, that it has dealings with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and that it harbors fugitives wanted for crimes committed in the United States. The first two reasons are void because the countries concerned actually condone Cuba"s relationship with their adversaries. The third reason, being that Cuba harbors U.S. fugitives, barely has any merit for keeping them on the list.

All of these are the reasons that I believe we should remove Cuba from the List.


I would first like to establish some definitional parameters for the round, followed by my own case, and concluding with a rebuttal of Pro's case. I would like to thank Pro for instigating this debate--I had not really thought much on this issue until I saw this debate being offered. I always enjoy things that are thought-provoking, and I look forward to an excellent discourse.


Sponsor - to provide material or logistical support in for an event, activity, or individual.

International Terrorism - "activities that: (a) involve violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or of any State; appear to be intended to intimidate or coerce civilian populations, influence government policy by intimidation or coercion, or affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and occur primarily outside the territorial jurisdiction of the United States, or transcend national boundaries in terms of the means by which they are accomplished, the persons they appear intended to intimidate or coerce, or the locale in which their perpetrators operate or seek asylum." [1] This definition can be simplified to: "The unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property in order to coerce or intimidate a government or the civilian population in furtherance of political or social objectives." [2]

Note 1: Under this framework, a State can engage in acts of terrorism as well. For example, North Korea could use its nuclear arsenal to attempt to coerce the South Korean nation into doing something.

Note 2: Terrorism does not imply success. This means that if you use coercion to obtain some objective, you are engaging in terrorism, whether or not you succeed in obtaining that objective.


Contention One: Cuba has recently engaged in acts constituting "State-sponsored terrorism."

Cuba attempt to ship to North Korea "two anti-aircraft missile systems, nine missiles in parts and spares, two MiG-21 jets and 15 motors for this type of airplane." [3] While old, these are still weapons of war. A terrorist is a terrorist whether he is holding a revolver or a rocket launcher. In this case, North Korea is the terrorist. Their constant brinksmanship and use of coercion to gain concession from the West matches the definition of terrorism, and by providing them arms--regardless of those arms' utility--Cuba was abetting them in their efforts to bolster their military capacity.

Contention Two: Cuba is protecting terrorists.

"The Cuban Government did not extradite nor request the extradition of suspected terrorists in 2003. Cuba continued to provide support to designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations, as well as to host several terrorists and dozens of fugitives...The Government refuses to return suspected terrorists to countries when it alleges that a receiving government could not provide a fair trial because the charges against the accused are 'political.'" [4] Pro also acknowledges Cuba's detention of these terrorists. By doing so, Cuba is providing support for individuals engaged in terroristic acts, and is thus sponsoring terrorism.

Contention Three: If removed from this list, Cuba would be far more able and willing to increase its support for terrorists.

Cuba engages in hardline rhetoric in support of left-wing militant groups. It, as a Communist State, urges the proletariat to rise up against so-called oppressors. In light of its own propaganda, as well as its intransigence and unwillingness sot yield even under stiff sanctions, it would seem highly unlikely that Cuba will improve if removed from the list. In fact, alleviating sanctions could ENABLE Cuba to sponsor terrorism more actively.


1st Observation: Cross-apply my contention one here. Yes, Cuba still sponsors terrorism. And, Cuba does not recognize "revolutions" to be terrorism; hence, Cuba supports militant Basque extremists. So, while Cuba may sign a UN document to the effect, Cuba still supports terrorist groups.

2nd Observation: Cuba has incredibly close links to North Korea and Iran--to look at the latter two is to look at the former. If you acknowledge that North Korea is such a threat, then the fact that Cuba supports NK seems to bolster my own assertions. Yet, as to our credibility, we nations openly support violent rebel groups, and call for "revolutions" [4], it does not seem to be contrary to our principles to sanction them. Thus, it doesn't actually undermine our credibility.

3rd Observation: You say that the third reason "barely has any merit," imply, in fact, that it does have SOME merit for keeping them on the list. It would seem that, definitionally, Cuba is harboring terrorists and so is sponsoring terror. Moreover, the North Korea incident is justification in itself.


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Debate Round No. 1



Sponsor/International Terrorism - the con has given the definition, he must stick by it until the end of this debate, that means no changes.

ONE - The definition of the Con's "international terrorism"/ sponsor is flawed. On the ground that we use this definition, the Terrorism List would be more than Iran, Sudan, Syria, and Cuba. We might as well add Russia to the list because they have provided multiple countries with nukes and weapons that threat U.S. national security.

TWO - The framework argument only makes sense if the Cold War existed today, because that was the original reason Cuba was on the list. That is the basis of my framework, not the idea of engaging in terrorism or justifying the literature behind it.


Contention one: The shipment to North Korea contained obsolete weapons

The shipment contained "240 metric tons of obsolete defensive weapons" sent to North Korea "to be repaired and returned to Cuba." The equipment was manufactured in the mid-20th century...Cuba reiterates its firm and unwavering commitment with peace, disarmament, including nuclear disarmament, and respect for international law."

Observation: The point I am bringing forward is that countries that actually sponsor terrorism, like Iran and Sudan, would not likely sign any denunciations of terrorism, nor would they attempt to engage in peace talks. Cuba has done both. We also need to look from a world view of what kind of country Cuba is: they are a country that is in transition, not a national security threat that we should feel the need to continue and waste our resources onto instead of actively funneling those resources towards real states sponsors of terrorism. The cons definition merits to the fact of "logistical support." The evidence of the obsolete weapons sent to Russia is not in any way a logistical form of support, but rather just something blown up for more ways to justify Cuba being on the list.

Contention two: Cuba is not harboring or protecting terrorists, the FARC is in Cuba with Columbia's permission and Cuba is trying to broker a deal, not harboring terrorists

While there are ELN and FARC members in Havana, they are there with the acquiescence of the Colombian government, which continues to see Cuba"s efforts to broker the peace process in Colombia as "helpful and constructive."Much was made in the Cuban exile press a couple of years ago about the arrest in Colombia of Niall Connolly and three other members of the Irish Republican Army on suspicion of providing explosives to the FARC. This was seen as significant since Connolly had been the Sinn Fein representative in Cuba some years earlier. This must, said the exiles, point to a link between Cuba and guerrilla activities in Colombia. But no. Colombian authorities found no evidence that the three were providing explosives or training to the FARC

Observation: This is also something that has been misinterpreted a fair amount of times, which is the fact that FARC isn't hiding under Cuba's protection, but sent and permissed by Columbia.


The state department admits FARC rebels are in Cuba for peace talks
The language in the State Department's most recent terrorism report issue in April 2009 is much more tempered than in past versions of the annual report. The report begins by noting that "Cuba no longer actively supports armed struggle in Latin America and other parts of the world." While the report maintains that the Cuban government continued to provide safe haven to (ETA) and (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN), it notes that some were in Cuba in connection with peace negotiations with the governments of Spain and Colombia. The report states that Cuba continued to publicly defend the FARC- but also notes that in July 2008 Fidel Castro called on the FARC to release the hostages they were holding without preconditions, and condemned the FARC's mistreatment of captives and their abduction of civilian politicians who had no role in the armed conflict.

Observation: Once again, another peace of evidence showing that ETA and FARC's presence in Cuba is blown out of proportion. The con should not be able to say providing safe haven for rebels in other countries means they sponsor terrorism, because otherwise we should consider the U.S. a sponsor of terrorism because we provide safe haven for known terrorists who are under persecution or other rulings. The con also still looks at mere examples to keep them on the list, but never addresses how this list destroys ability to thwart real terrorism. As per the credibility argument, we are a nation that is committed to actively fight the War on Terror. It's non-existent in Cuba, only political justifications keep them there. Our fight against the WoT only gets worse when we keep them on the list because we use our resources wastefully.

Contention three: Removal of Cuba from the list opens up communication lines, It doesn't magically generate terrorism in Cuba. They want to be removed because of cooperation that could exist if they were removed.

Cuba"s placement on the list is widely recognized as inaccurate and dates to decades-old political dynamics that no longer exist. The most recent State Department report indicates that the Cuban government: provided no weapons or paramilitary training to terrorist groups, joined a regional group on anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism, and has distanced itself from Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) members living on the island. Furthermore, Cuba is sponsoring and hosting the Colombian-FARC guerrillas" peace talks, collaborates with the United States in counter-drug efforts, and has made international commitments to combat terrorism. Cuba"s inclusion on the list of state sponsors of terrorism undermines opportunities for the United States to use its influence to encourage continuing improvements in political freedom and human rights.


removing Cuba from the terrorist list would advance the process of other mutually-beneficial bilateral communications between Cuba and the United States. This is of the utmost importance to the United States. The Boston marathon tragedy highlights the importance of international cooperation against terrorism. The issue must not be politicized. As proud Americans, committed to the security of our nation, we urge the State Department to conduct a serious professional evaluation of Cuba"s presence on this list. Dealing with terrorism requires policy and leadership divorced from politics and distractions. Removing Cuba from the state sponsors of terrorism list will enable the United States to look at the current challenges and opportunities posed by Cuba. The island is a country in transition, not a national security threat

Observation: If Castro's government wanted to engage in acts of terrorism, nothing is stopping them right now. We STILL HAVE AN ENTIRE EMBARGO ON THEM. The terrorism list effectively blocks our communication lines and prevents bilateral cooperation, it doesn't fly a plan over Cuba and keep a team full of U.S. spies on the lookout for weapons. ALSO, the con said my use of "barely has any merit"means there is still merit, but it does NOT mean it has merit. The merit to which they use to keep Cuba on the list is 100% political, most commonly known for Alan Gross being in Cuba while we keep the Cuban 5 in the U.S. It is a game of "they started it," not a real justification. And the NK incident is a joke, but i've already covered that.



I will address the framework, then I will defend my own case, and conclude by addressing Pro's case.


Pro makes two points here: (1) that Russia should be included under my interpretation of the resolution. This is true--but at the same time Russia DOES sponsor terrorism, so, in theory, it deserves to be on the list. But, factoring in pragmatic concerns, it won't be added to it. Moreover, it's not my job to argue that the list is comprehensive and perfect; my only job is to assert that Cuba should be on it, regardless of what other state might or might not be included. (2) I disagree that the framework argument only makes sense in the context of the Cold War, as Pro claims. Yes, our world is ever-changing, but if a nation still sponsors terrorism, it still sponsor terrorism, irrespective of the era.

Extend my "Notes;" Pro never rebuts these. The impact of these extensions is twofold: (1) States can be terrorists, and (2) You do not have to be successful to be engaged in terrorism.


C1: Pro never answers my argument that "a terrorist is a terrorist whether he is holding a revolver or a rocket launcher." Regardless of the quality of the weapons, the fact that ANY weapons are being exchanged is troubling, and still constitutes material support for terrorism. This goes back to my second Note under definitions--terrorism doesn't need to be effective to be terrorism, just as the supplies one provides the terrorists don't need to be effective. If I hand a terrorist a blunderbuss, and the terrorist attempts to coerce someone using it, but fails because the weapon is out of date, the terrorist still engaged in terrorism. This leads to a very crucial point: while Pro makes an argument that the weapons are obsolete, Pro NEVER challenges that the acts did, in fact, sponsor terror. Also key, Pro never contests the fact that North Korea is a terrorist. And, any transshipment of arms to Cuba violates myriad UN resolutions, and so does NOT respect international law (see my earlier source.) Lastly, it is highly unlikely that the materiel was being sent to North Korea for repair, as the weapons and aircraft were newly outfitted and in perfect working order when they were seized. [1] Even more critical, this sources notes that the weapons were NOT obsolete, and thus, were clearly supporting terrorism. This alone defeats Pro's counterargument.

C2: Cuba is harboring terrorists. One perfect example is Assata Shakur, who was a member of the Black Liberation Army--a terrorist organization. She most definitely used coercion to attempt to achieve her goals, and therefore can be classified as a terrorist. [2] This example proves that Cuba does, indeed, harbor terrorists. Additionally, not all Basque rebels in Cuba have been approved by the Spanish authorities, and Cuba has refused to confirm all those rebels currently residing in Cuba.

C3: Cuba, despite the origin of its inclusion on the list stemming from the Cold War, does still sponsor terrorists, from North Korea to Assata Shakur. This merits it's continuation on the list. And, though Cuba may distance itself from ETA members, it still grants them residency. Furthermore, Cuba has not been cooperative in the fight against terror. "Cuba actively continued to oppose the U.S.-led Coalition prosecuting the global war on terror and has publicly condemned various U.S. policies and actions. To U.S. knowledge, Cuba 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. No new counterterrorism laws were enacted, nor were any executive orders or regulations issued in this regard. To date, the Cuban Government has taken no action against al-Qaida or other terrorist groups. Cuba did not undertake any counterterrorism efforts in international and regional fora. Official government statements and the government-controlled press rarely speak out against al-Qaida or other designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations." [3]


Observation One: Again, simply because one signs something does not mean one will abide by it. Cuba doesn't support terrorism, it supports "revolutions." It's euphemistic. Either way, Cuba is supporting the exact same thing. For example, Russia denounces the U.S. for its interventionism, but when Russia intervenes, it's offering support to "legitimate" governments/groups, etc. It's all about perception.

Clearly Cuba's incredibly close associations to Iran and North Korea make it a security threat. Cuba may be "in transition," but we should relax our vigilance with extreme caution, and I don't think it is time yet to remove it from the list.

Observation Two: You are focusing a lot on the FARC; yet, in my rebuttal, I never brought it up. FARC is not central to my stance. Nonetheless, one potentially good deed does not somehow absolve Cuba or acquit it of suspicion. My attack, that due to Cuba and North Korea's intimate ties Cuba should remain sanctioned, was not directly addressed by Pro. Extend it.

Observation Three: Pro is assuming the argument here. Pro states, "we are a nation that is committed to actively fight the War on Terror. It's non-existent in Cuba." But that is the issue we are debating, and so we cannot simply assume that Cuba no longer sponsors terrorism.

The U.S. has made some questionable decisions, and I am not here to defend its record. I am only here to argue that Cuba should be included--not what other states may somehow be included too. But, I don't think the U.S. would designate itself a sponsor of terror, regardless. Anyway, under the definition, which Pro never really contests, harboring terrorists is sponsoring terrorism. Pro says Cuba's inclusion on the list thwarts our ability to counter terrorism elsewhere--but two things: (1) this assumes the argument (again), and (2) Pro gives us no impacts as to how much benefit would be derived from Cuba's non-inclusion. Moreover, if Cuba does or would support terrorism, as I suggest, then it is not counterproductive to keep it on the list.

Pro says, "If Castro's government wanted to engage in acts of terrorism, nothing is stopping them right now." Yes, something is stopping them--our embargo. Cuba doesn't have the natural resources that larger nations like Iran do, and it cannot isolate itself as easily as North Korea. It really can't do too much. Remove those restrictions (the embargo) and what is revolutionary talk now, will become revolutionary action afterward.

Pro's Sources: Pro didn't cite in-text, so I don't know what his sources are referencing, but I will make two quick notes about them. His first link is funded almost exclusively by liberals (including an organization founded by George Soros) as well as groups like the Ploughshares Fund whose goal is to promote negotiations with everyone, from Iran to Syria, and so on. These groups clearly have an agenda, and would be biased towards Pro. The Havana Times source is also going to put a pro-Cuba spin on things that would negatively impact its validity in this debate.


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Thanks for a great debate so far. I'm looking forward to the final round!
Debate Round No. 2



(1): Con agrees that Russia should be on the list under his framework. True, this debate is centered around Cuba and not Russia, but this is a point that should be evaluated at the end of the round if con attempts to use his FW as justification for Cuba being on the list when my point is the loose definition isn't a real justification, just another classification.
(2): The ground that was made to enlist Cuba on the list is a ground that does not exist to date. This is something that was taken into consideration when taking North Korea on the list, the same should apply for Cuba.

And I did answer the notes, cross apply my credibility argument which says that our classification of countries as "terrorist" is undermined as we put the same threshold on Cuba as we do for Iran, Sudan, and Syria. Also, cross apply my argument on contention 1, Cuba is neither failing or succeeding in acts of terrorism: their involvement in terrorism is non-existent, and evidence dictates this, only through their loose defining of terrorism could they somehow meet.

C1: I did answer the argument, my entire contention 1 argument is that the "weapons" were obsolete. They were not being used in any other matter other than self defense. We can't hold Cuba to the word "terrorist" at any time they deal with exchanges like these, because we diminish the definition of "terrorist," that goes back to my argument on the loose defining of terrorist.

The acts do NOT sponsor terrorism, the weapons were from last century, have no use without repair, and are completely for self defense. Even if con wins that the weapons are not obsolete, we can't say that it was clearly an act of terrorism.

Also, I did address that North Korea is a terrorist nation, you can find that in my second sentence in my OP for the second contention. While we note this, North Korea under the eyes of the U.S. is not a terrorist nation as bush removed them from the list 5 years ago and there has been no talk for their re-enlistment.

C2: Con completely ignored my assertion that FARC, ETA, and Black Liberation Army / Black Panthers aren't hiding under the protection of Cuba. I gave the example of Alan Gross, Con gave the example of Shakur, who is a political fugitive.

Not turning over Shakur (Chesimard) is completely legal " even if she is guilty " she"s a political fugitive
[1] Chesimard was a member of the Black Panther Party. 12 She was convicted in 1973 of killing a New Jersey state trooper. In 1979 she escaped prison and has been in Cuba since then. As a result of that determination, Cuba"s position is that she is not extraditable. Is Cuba legally justified in taking this position? As deplorable as the killing of Trooper Werner Foerster was, the answer is yes. The 1904 Extradition Treaty between the U.S. and Cuba states, at Article VI: "A fugitive criminal shall not be surrendered if the offense in respect of which his surrender is demanded be of a political character."

This piece of evidence shows that Shakur being in Cuba doesn't mean in any way they harbor terrorist, under our law we can't control that. And even though not all ETA members are approved by Spain, they are unconcerned, and Cuba has been distancing itself from the group.
[2]There are only 20 to 24 ETA members in Cuba, and by now they must be older people who have not participated in any terrorist activities in Spain for many years...Cuba "allowed Spanish Police to travel to Cuba to confirm the presence of suspected ETA members. Spain Ambassador Carter that Spain was "not concerned about the presence of members of . . . ETA . . . in Cuba

Spain isn't worried because there are so few of them, and they haven't been deemed to be a threat, otherwise Spain would had done something. Cuba grants them residency because there has been no report of any type of terrorism from them, nor do they prove a threat to anyone.

C3: Cross apply both arguments from the other contentions, these takeout both of the con's "justifications" for Cuba's continuing spot on the list. Cuba has opposed any and all types of terrorism.

Also note that the 3rd merit for Cuba's "justification" is a terrible justification, and does NOT meet the threshold that the U.S. This should be weighed HEAVILY at the end of this round, because it is our only non-void reason to keep them on the list, the only reason it has "merit" is for sheer political reasons. Cuba has also condemned any type of terrorism. [3]the implication of the charge is that Cuba opposed efforts to fight terrorism and stop groups such as al-Qaeda, is false. The Cuban government officially condemned the terrorist attacks on the afternoon of September 11, 2001. It then offered to provide the U.S. with all the medical and humanitarian aid it could muster, and to permit U.S. aircraft to use Cuban airspace

Cuba condemned terrorism 12 years ago, they condemned the acts of the people who started the bombing of the Boston marathon and sent a note of condolence, and Cuba condemns terrorism now. No country, especially the remaining 3 on the list, goes out of their way to condemn terrorism, tries to fight against it, and respects the laws of other countries (UN AND US), yet still get labeled as a terrorist nation, other than Cuba.

Observation 1: While the "sign but not abide" may be true, it shows that Cuba has respect for the UN to sign all denunciations of terrorism. Castro didn't have to, and isn't getting that much out of it from other countries. Cuba isn't even technologically advanced to provide a substantial threat to U.S. national security, and by removal of Cuba from the list, we can then respond better to the countries that Con agrees ARE a security threat.

Observation 2: I addressed the argument about observation one, go back and read it again if you need to. I said specifically FARC because they are among a popular group for which we condemn Cuba for "harboring." I also answered the other known groups that we label "terrorist" but have not been involved in any action of terror for a good while.

Observation 3: I agree that our debate should be on the issue of Cuba and terrorism, but the issue is that we have no evidence backing up claims to say Cuba has been involved in the War on Terror and poses an existential threat to that of Iran or Syria, the only thing we can come up with is this NK incident, which should not be evaluated because Cuba has their own reasons for it, and a similar incident will shed light to this misconception:

Long before this happened, old secretary of state John Bolton falsely claimed Cuba for possession of "bioweapons," which was laughable considering the fact that Cuba has century old machinery to even make any type of self defense equipment, so Cuba saw through their claim and allowed U.S. to thoroughly search Cuba as they please. and we then reported in 2003 after the US did a search through Cuba, we got this: [4] State Department"s Bureau of Intelligence and Research maintained that Under Secretary Bolton"s assertions about Cuba and biological weapons were not supported by sufficient intelligence.

Sources: I never refuted any of Con's sources for their political bias, so neither should Con with my sources. These arguments deserve no weight, because no matter who is biast or who is not, the fact that my evidence states is that: 1) Cold War is over, 2) Cuba doesn't meet the threshold for the 3rd merit for which we justify their inclusion on the list, 3) Cuba wants relations, and has distanced itself from the "terrorist" groups. It's not biast, it's evaluation and research.

3- not an online source, but from a book: , Fifty Years of Revolution: Perspectives on Cuba, the United States, and the World
Thanks for a great debate!


I will address the definitional framework first, followed by a defense of my own case, then a rebuttal of Pro's, concluding with some reasons to vote Con in this debate.


1. Pro agrees that this debate is about Cuba. So, as I said earlier, "it's not my job to argue that the list is comprehensive and perfect; my only job is to assert that Cuba should be on it, regardless of what other state might or might not be included." Therefore, we can disregard the issue of what other countries should, should not, might, or might not be placed on the list, and focus solely on the issue of Cuba's inclusion. Pro then asserts that the definition is "loose," but offers no real reason why. Russia does, in fact, sponsor terrorism. One example would be Russia's support of the Assad regime, which uses coercion and violence against its citizens. Pro says that my definition is "loose" because it would put Russia on the list of states that sponsor terror--but if Russia actually deserves to be on the list, then my definition is not "loose," it's accurate.

2. Here again, Pro is assuming the argument. He says that the grounds for keeping Cuba on the list do "not exist to date." This is something he must prove prior to assuming it. I would also dispute that those grounds are out-of-date, and if Cuba is still, or would still, sponsor terrorism, then it ought to be kept on the list.

Notes 1 and 2: Pro says that his credibility argument somehow applies to my Notes--it doesn't. The credibility of our system does not directly refute my two points that (1) States can be terrorists, and (2) you don't have to be successful to be a terrorist because these two points are generic principles, not something confined within the U.S. system. Extend my two Notes. Pro then goes on to claim that Cuba is "neither failing or succeeding" because, as Pro would contend, Cuba is not sponsoring terrorism at all. Again, this assumes the argument, and, as I will show, Cuba does indeed sponsor terrorism.

Finally, we must evaluate the round through the definitions I offer, because Pro offers no definitions of his own. Therefore, the only way to understand the round through framework presented in the round, is to default to the definitions I presented.


C1: Pro states that he rebutted my argument by showing that the weapons were "obsolete." I have two responses to this:

(1) My argument was that even if the weapons were obsolete, it still counted as terrorism. Pro misconstrued my argument entirely. And, in fact, we can say that exchanges like these count as sponsoring terrorism, because they give material support to a known terrorist entity. Remember, Pro NEVER CONTESTED the fact that North Korea was a terrorist actor--Pro says that he did, but nowhere is this argument present in his R2 speech. Pro only mentions North Korea twice--once in response to my first contention, where Pro argues that the weapons were old, and again in his very last sentence, where he called it a "joke." Neither of these actually addresses the notion that North Korea is a terrorist. Pro further claims that because North Korea was removed from this list, it cannot be a terrorist. This is absurd--you're not a terrorist because you included on some sort of official list, you're a terrorist because of what you do, and North Korea clearly uses coercion to attain concessions from the West. This fits the description of a terrorist.

(2) My second counterargument here, is that the weapons were NOT OBSOLETE. Pro absolutely FAILS to address my argument that "it is highly unlikely that the materiel was being sent to North Korea for repair, as the weapons and aircraft were newly outfitted and in perfect working order when they were seized. [1] Even more critical, this sources notes that the weapons were NOT obsolete, and thus, were clearly supporting terrorism." This one point alone defeats EVERY argument Pro has against my contention one. Pro himself stated, "my entire contention 1 argument is that the 'weapons' were obsolete." But, if the weapons AREN'T obsolete, as I have shown, then Pro has no argument here. If the weapons were (a) not sent for repair, and (b) were not obsolete, then Cuba was essentially gifting North Korea useful weapons to use in their campaigns of coercion. This IS sponsoring terrorism.

C2: Shakur is clearly not a political fugitive, and the Black Liberation Army is clearly a terrorist group. The BLA's stated goal was to "take up arms for the liberation and self-determination of black people in the United States." [1] Having joined the BLA, Shakur engaged in a string of violent acts in support of the BLA's black power agenda. This is terrorism. Moreover, the BLA advocated socialist policies [1], which appealed to Cuba's communist government. So, is Shakur a political prisoner? No. She clearly committed unlawful acts, and was a member of a terrorist group. Cuba is only using "political" motivations as an excuse to shield her, because they sympathize with her. Pro does not deny that Cuba is also harboring ETA terrorists, many of whom have not yet been confirmed to be in Cuba. Regardless of Spain's attitudes, Cuba is still giving terrorists a safe heaven.

C3: Pro challenges the idea that Cuba is not supporting the war on terror, but yet his only counter example is that Cuba condemned 9/11 and offered aid. This is all cosmetic--most countries condemned 9/11 and offered some token aid, but that does not mean much. Cuba may have signed documents condemning terrorism, but what has it done substantively? Has it done anything since 9/11? The answer is no--no tighter legislation on preventing terror, no attempts to track, block, or sieze terrorist assets, no counterterrorism efforts in international fora, and more (see my earlier source.) Cuba's rhetoric is unsubstantiated by Cuba's actions.

Pro also claims that, of the nations that remain on the list, none actively condemn terrorism. Yet, Pres. Assad of Syria, claims he is fighting a war on "terrorists." If you listened to his narrative, he is very anti-terrorism. It's just that, what he calls terrorists, many would call freedom fighters. This just more evidence of how euphemisms mean very little, but actions speak volumes. Cuba's counterterrorism actions have been nonexistent.

Finally, clearly Cuba doesn't respect UN law, because as my previous source showed, Cuba's trading arms with North Korea violated multiple UN resolutions.


Observation 1: Three quick points here: (1) Pro admits: "'sign but not abide' may be true." This is further supported by Cuba's obvious lack of any action on the issue of counterterrorism--it's all just bluster on Cuba's part. It makes Cuba look good, without forcing Cuba to actually DO anything. (2) Cuba clearly doesn't respect the UN--it violates UN resolutions. (3) Pro says taking Cuba off the list will help us focus on other countries, but fails to warrant this claim. Cuba supports terrorism, and should stay on the list.

Observation 2: Again, Pro never addresses that Cuba's close ties to North Korea are important factors in keeping it on the list.

Observation 3: One example does not disprove Cuba's terrorist status. Pro also NEVER responds in his final speech to my point that Cuba would actively sponsor terrorism if we took it off the list and relaxed sanctions.

Sources: We both used State Dept. evidence for our opposing sides, so it seems as if the SD is not itself biased because it presented both views. The CS Monitor I cited is renowned for its objectivity too. [2] So, I submit that my sources are better than Pro's.


1 - Cuba did not send obsolete weapons, it sent useful ones
2 - Cub harbors terrorists
3 - Cuba will sponsor terrorism more if removed from the list
4 - Cuba is not acting against terrorists


1 -
2 -

Thanks--good debate! Please Vote CON!
Debate Round No. 3
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1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Good debate with well-organized claims and rebuttals and an important interesting topic. I think Con's R3 summary is reasonably accurate: shipping weapons in good condition to North Korea was not refuted, killing a state trooper is not a political crime, and whether Cuba has formally denounced terrorism is not relevant if they are acting in support. Pro made a major mistake in R2 by providing a reading list rather than links to specific claims. The judging criteria is "most reliable" so blog-type opinions and the Havana Times are reasonably judged less reliable than State Department documents. Con's best argument is that Russia is on the list, so pragmatism must sometimes outweigh the technical violations. But Con didn't make a good case as to why the specific situation of Cuba trumped their technical violations. Con needed to make a strong case that it would promote democracy in Cuba, or something else important to the US, and that was lacking.