By Andrew Bushe
DUBLIN — The Bushe administration made clear to Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams earlier this month that it did not want him to visit the Castro regime in Cuba, President Bush’s special advisor on Northern Ireland Richard Haass has revealed.
“We spoke about it before he went, and I made it clear that it was our preference that he not go,” Haass told RTE news on Sunday.
He described Adams’s visit as “unfortunate” because Fidel Castro and Cuba “clearly represent the past.”
Haass said Sinn Fein was associating with “a government and an individual that’s simply on the wrong side of history.”
“They are the odd men out in the Western hemisphere,” he said. “It is the one country that is not remotely democratic, is not at all free-market.
Follow us on social media
Keep up to date with the latest news with The Irish Echo
“I think it is unfortunate that Sinn Fein continues to associate with governments like Cuba, political movements that essentially are representing the past rather than the future and political movements that represent authoritarianism rather than individual liberty.”
Haass said they had also made clear they had continuing concerns about IRA links with the FARC guerrillas in Colombia where three republicans are awaiting trial.
“We are waiting to see the judicial process work its way there,” he said. “You’ve got these three individuals in custody. We’ll see what sort of evidence is brought to bear.
“We have made it clear the U.S. government has concerns about the IRA relationship with the FARC.
“What we have also really emphasized is our strong hope and expectation — and I emphasize the latter word — that any relationship of this sort between the IRA and the FARC or any other terrorist group will simply not happen again.”
Haass said it is important the Northern Ireland peace process keep moving forward and building on existing progress.
“We do want Northern Ireland to sink back to what it was where violence and terrorism were the norms,” he said.