By the Caribbean Journal staff
The United States has removed Cuba from its State Sponsors of Terrorism list, the State Department announced Friday.
The move is a potentially game-changing policy shift.
“The rescission of Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism reflects our assessment that Cuba meets the statutory criteria for rescission,” the State Department said in a statement. “While the United States has significant concerns and disagreements with a wide range of Cuba’s policies and actions, these fall outside the criteria relevant to the rescission of a State Sponsor of Terrorism designation.”
The move comes after US President Barack Obama submitted a report last month indicating the administration’s intent to rescind Cuba’s designation from the list.
Congress had 45 days of “pre-notification,” but did not use the period to block the removal of Cuba from the list, despite objections from a number of lawmakers.
It’s not clear if that decision will have any impact on a decision by Congress to potentially lift the longstanding Cuban embargo.
So what does the removal mean? For starters, Cuba will now have increased access to world financial markets and create a pathway to access US banks, although that remains limited by the embargo.
The two sides remain engaged in talks on re-opening embassies in Havana and Washington.