White House Acts to Remove Cuba From Terrorism Sponsor List

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Above: US President Barack Obama at the recent Summit of the Americas in Panama (OAS Photo)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

United States President Barack Obama has acted to remove Cuba from the US government’s list of states that sponsor terrorism.

Cuba has been on the list for more than three decades.

The move comes after a State Department statement recommending the change.

There will, however, be a 45-day period during which the US House and Senate can block the move with a joint resolution.

It would require enough votes to avoid a Presidential veto, however.

In December, Obama had first called for the State Department to review Cuba’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism and provide a report within six months.

The report was submitted last week, recommending “based on the facts and the statutory standard” that Obama rescind the designation.

“This recommendation reflects the Department’s assessment that Cuba meets the criteria established by Congress for rescission,” US Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement. “While the United States has had, and continues to have, significant concerns and disagreements with a wide range of Cuba’s policies and actions, these concerns and disagreements fall outside of the criteria for designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism.”

Kerry said the review focused on “the narrow questions of whether Cuba had provided any support for international terrorism during the previous six months, and whether Cuba has provided assurances that it will not support acts of international terrorism in the future, consistent with the statutory standard for rescission.”

“Circumstances have changed since 1982, when Cuba was originally designated as a State Sponsor of Terrorism because of its efforts to promote armed revolution by forces in Latin America,” Kerry said. “Our Hemisphere, and the world, look very different today than they did 33 years ago. Our determination, pursuant to the facts, including corroborative assurances received from the Government of Cuba and the statutory standard, is that the time has come to rescind Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism.”

In a statement, Josefina Vidal Ferreiro, who has been leading Cuba’s delegation in recently-launched bilateral talks with the US, called the move a “fair decision.”

She said Cuba acknowledged the “fair decision of the President of the United States to eliminate Cuba from a list on which it should never have been included.”