Irish Republican Leader Announces He Will Travel To Cuba

By Jim Burns | July 7, 2008 | 8:10 PM EDT

( - The leader of Sinn Fein, the Irish Republican Army's political arm, said Thursday he would go ahead with a trip to Cuba, ending widespread speculation that he would call off his visit to the communist nation.

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams told reporters in Belfast, "I have a longstanding commitment to go to Cuba and I intend to go there."

He declined to give further details about when he would actually travel to Cuba, saying only that details would be released in "due time."

There had been speculation that Adams would not travel to Cuba after the arrest of three alleged members of the Irish Republican Army members in Colombia on charges that included training Marxist rebels.

The Castro government last month said Adams would visit sometime in September.

The Cuban-American National Foundation, while not commenting directly on Adams' upcoming visit believes the Castro government is backing the IRA against the British government in Northern Ireland. They base this belief on information they received lately from Ireland.

"The (Castro) regime is known for terrorism and harbors terrorists inside of Cuba and provides a safe haven for them. It is also working with guerillas in Colombia and obviously Ireland," CANF spokesperson Mariela Ferretti said.

"It's important for the people of the United States and the government of the United States to pay very close attention to the activities of Fidel Castro," Ferretti said.

Also on Thursday, the Castro government officially denied a Time magazine report that Elian Gonzalez would be traveling to the United Nations later this month with a Cuban delegation to the United Nations conference on children.

The Cuban Communist Party newspaper Granma, an official organ of the Castro government contained a letter from the Cuban Foreign Ministry who called the magazine report "unfounded and irresponsible."

"The ministry wishes to express that in no moment has there been any consideration of Elian traveling to the U.N. event." It also said Elian has "never been used nor will become a propaganda or international political tool.''

Cuban Leader Fidel Castro, according to Granma, called the report "the most ridiculous thing in the world. The protection of the boy comes before everything else."