Cuba Prioritizes Exit from US Terrorism List

Gustavo Machin, the deputy head of the Cuban delegation.
Gustavo Machin, the deputy head of the Cuban delegation traveling to Washington.

HAVANA TIMES (dpa) — Cuban authorities said today they are awaiting the United States “answer” in the forthcoming negotiations to their demand to be taken off the US list of countries sponsoring terrorism, as a prerequisite for the restoration of bilateral diplomatic relations.

“We hope to receive answers,” said Gustavo Machin, the deputy head of the Cuban delegation, shortly before his trip to the United States for a new round of talks on Friday.

“It would be a contradiction” that his country resumed diplomatic relations with the United States while still on that list, said Machin.

Meanwhile, the United States wants to separate negotiations with the Cuban government to reopen embassies in Washington and Havana from the review process being carried out by the US State Department on whether to take Cuba off the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

“They are two separate procedures. We don’t link them, said State Department sources today who requested anonymity.

Machin noted another pending issue is the solution to the financial problems of the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, which currently has no bank willing to handle its accounts because of the difficulties caused by the US embargo.

Back in 1982 the US government placed Cuba on its list of States which it considers sponsors of terrorism. Currently there are four countries on the list: Iran, Sudan, Syria and Cuba.

The list brings with it sanctions and trade restrictions. In the case of Cuba most of these had already existed for decades, since the US embargo was imposed in the early 1960s.

Although the Castro government has a long history of supporting insurgent movements in Latin America and Africa, in recent decades Cuba has distanced itself in practice from armed struggle.

Observers note Cuba’s current role as host of the peace process between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Colombian government as an argument to remove Cuba from the US list.

Human Rights Issues

Machin also said the Cuban side takes to Washington “proposals” to debate human rights, an issue that overshadowed the first negotiations between the two countries in mid-January in Havana.

The US delegation led by Under Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson argued then that they would continue pressuring Cuba over the lack of civil liberties on the island.

The Cuban negotiating team led by diplomat Josefina Vidal responded that her country is also concerned about human rights issues in the United States.

The Cuban government traditionally equates human rights to collective social progress as universal access to education and health, and rejects linking it to individual political rights such as freedom of speech and assembly.

The delegations of the United States and Cuba will meet Friday in Washington to continue the historic diplomatic negotiations opened in January in Havana.

Both countries unexpectedly announced in mid-December they would resume diplomatic relations after decades of hostility and ideological confrontation.

At the Washington encounter the goal is to draw up a roadmap leading to the reopening of embassies in the respective capitals.

Photo de portada: Harold Cesar Ferrer Perez

12 thoughts on “Cuba Prioritizes Exit from US Terrorism List

  • April 8, 2015 at 8:54 pm


    For those of you who are following the normalization of US-Cuba relations, the State Department has sent a recommendation to Obama that Cuba be delisted as a terror sponsor, meaning that Obama will strike Cuba off the blacklist (
    As I have said before, shipping arms to another country is not terrorism, and close ties with Iran or Syria do not make a country a State Sponsor of Terrorism.
    As Obama takes Cuba off the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism, Wells Fargo and other banks will now have more incentive to start doing business in Cuba, and the Treasury Department will rectify the fines imposed on JP Morgan and BNP Paribas for doing business in Cuba.

  • March 6, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    How many of those insurgent/guerrilla groups deliberately targeted civilians? Though some bombed economic targets and caused some civilian deaths through incompetence or accident most were based in the countryside and solely targeted military installations. That is a far cry from the al quaida Isis situation.

    The drug cartels have links with the Colombian and Mexican governments who have embassies in the US. Canada has a close relationship with the US, then following your kind of logic, Canada should be put on the list of terrorist sponsoring countries.

    Cuba gives some support to Iran as a country that is also under sanction and is stopped from developing its nuclear energy, but is also critical. They have criticized the holocaust denial and antisemitism of the Iranian regime. It seems that you don’t want Cuba to have a foreign policy that differs from the US.

    My point about the IRA wasn’t to highlight US double standards, but just how flawed the list you provided is. I mean they had a pretty much unlimited source of funding in the US, yet the list mentions the opening of an office in Havana.

  • March 2, 2015 at 9:54 am

    You attempt to draw a distinction between “terrorists” and “insurgents or guerrillas fighting against military dictatorships”. Do you excuse militant groups of their terrorist actions if you agree with their goals?

    The goals of the militant group do not matter. The nature of the regime they are fighting against does not matter. The only thing that matters is the nature of their actions. An insurgency which assassinates civilians or plants bombs on civilian targets is by definition, a terrorist organization. Period. To provide support to such a group is to support a terrorist group. Period.

    The connection between drug smuggling and terrorism is well established. Groups like Hezbollah, the Taliban and FARC have a long record of trading drugs for weapons and money. These groups have established relationships with well-known drug cartels in Mexico, Pakistan and Colombia. Hezbollah also has a well established military relationship with Iran. Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism. Hezbollah operates a base in Venezuela and has an office in Havana. Iran & Cuba have recently established close diplomatic relations. Aren’t you the least bit curious to know what the basis of these diplomatic relationships with terrorist groups and a fellow state sponsor of terrorism is?

    Perhaps, as you say, some of these connections have not been proven in court. Yet, some have been proven in court. But the fact the relationships exist is cause for serious concern. If Cuba wants to get off the State Supporters of Terrorism list, they had better come clean.

    The significant point about the illegal North Korean weapons trade deal is that Cuba was deliberately violating UN sanctions, and lying about it. That goes to credibility and trustworthiness.

    Finally, the fact that the US has been hypocritical on the issue of supporting or ignoring terrorist groups is irrelevant to the fact that Cuba has a long history of supporting terrorist groups and continues to provide support today.

  • February 27, 2015 at 7:03 pm

    Dani, Mexico is having a bit of a problem with a certain group that certainly is affecting the US in a major way. I agree with your post but it’s mainly
    just a matter of weeks before Cuba will no longer be on the terrorist list.
    This discussion is going to be ancient history within that time.

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