Obama Removes Cuba from the USA List of Countries that Sponsor Terrorism

HAVANA TIMES — President Barack Obama informed the US Congress on Tuesday his decision to remove Cuba from its list of countries sponsoring terrorism, reported dpa news.

The measure, which takes effect in 45 days under US law, was one of the most repeated demands by the Cuban government in the current negotiations to restore diplomatic ties.

“Today the president sent to Congress the [State Department] report required by law and the documents showing the intention of his administration to terminate the designation of Cuba as a country that sponsors terrorism,” said the White House press office in a statement.

The island was put on the “blacklist” in 1982 that includes Iran, Sudan and Syria, mainly on charges of supporting terrorist groups in other countries.

Documents sent to Congress show that “the government of Cuba has not provided any support for international terrorism in the last six months,” and has assured that “it will not support acts of international terrorism in the future”, adds the statement .

The announcement comes just three days after Obama held a historic meeting with his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro in the framework of the Summit of the Americas in Panama. It was the first meeting at this level between the two countries in more than 50 years.

The presence of Cuba on the US list of countries sponsoring terrorism was considered one of the main obstacles for both nations to restore diplomatic relations.

Although the government of Raul Castro recently stressed that it was not a “condition” to reopen embassies, it demanded once again during the weekend Summit in Panama that Washington remove the island from the list “which it never should have been on.”

The United States placed Cuba on its terrorism list during the administration of Republican Ronald Reagan, over allegations that the socialist island supported terrorist movements in other countries.

Cuba was criticized for its support in past decades of the Basque separatist organization ETA and the Colombian Marxist guerrillas of the FARC.

The latest reports from the State Department, however, also pointed out that Havana serves as a guarantor and host for the peace process between the Colombian government and the FARC.

Washington and Havana announced last December 17 an agreement to resume diplomatic relations broken off unilaterally by the US in 1961. The two countries are negotiating since late January the planned reopening of embassies.

The historic rapprochement between the old ideological enemies was celebrated as a milestone worldwide.

33 thoughts on “Obama Removes Cuba from the USA List of Countries that Sponsor Terrorism

  • Kennedy, where the hell have you been? I mean you’re getting more print than Moses and McDuff combined!!


  • When are the Castro brothers going to die so some form of democracy can come to Cuba?

    I don’t think Cuba will ever be free until the Castro bloodline, including his daughter is not in any sort of power. It’s still one of the most repressed nations on earth, second only to North Korea.

  • The argument which Terry and others have made is that as soon as the US unilaterally lifts the embargo, the Cuban government will suddenly feel confident and happy to lift their oppression of the Cuban people. Human rights and free elections will suddenly be welcomed by the Castro regime. Clearly, that prediction is a delusion. The dictatorship will continue to behave as they always have, only now they will do it with coffers full of US dollars. Well done, Obama!

    The concession Obama has made won’t do much for US businesses hoping to make money in Cuba. They will open the cash flow for the Castro regime which controls all of the hotels & resorts, the car rentals & all imports & exports.

    So far, the changes Obama has made give US tourists a new place to visit & the Castro regime a lifeline. A few US businesses will make some money, but it’s no bonanza.

    Meanwhile, the Cuban people are getting screwed. Political repression has increased as dissidents are harassed and arrested in ever greater numbers. The Castro regime plans to rent out the cheap labour to serve the boon in US tourism, and maybe soon they can toil in Mariel sweatshops making cheap consumer products for US manufacturers.

    Is this what 56 years of revolution was for?

  • The concessions are not about making the Castro regime confident enough to relax their control of their citizens; rather they are sweeteners to help the Americans to get a slice of the pie that has been wafting its fragrant temptation so near and yet so far since 1961. One which Canada, Spain and China have already been enjoying for years. That must be a real thorn in the side for the old US of A.

  • Excuse me? You have intimate knowledge of every life in Cuba? Who are you? God?!

    But yes, having got back yesterday I agree that not much has changed – apart from the rise in overweight middle aged Americans in Cuba. I never knew they had such a thirst for ‘educational’ trips. Scoping out the business potential no doubt. The Havanaian day to day cacophony now punctuated by cruise ship foghorn calls is a new layer in the soundscape of that city. Tourism flourishes and every second house has a room to rent en divisa, but Cubans are not holding their breath for real change to come anytime soon.

  • “terrorism” noun. Defined as the use of violence or the threat of violence, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political goals.”

    Whether you agree with the goals of the guerrillas or not has no bearing on whether the organization is terrorist or not. They are terrorists if they engage in terrorist acts. Period.

    Cuba supported many of these guerrilla/terrorist organizations from the early 1960’s onward. The Obama administrations said that Cuba has not been doing so over the past 6 months. I would like to see the evidence that assessment was based on. Wanted members of the terrorist organization ETA and FARC are living in Cuba, which has refused to turn them over to Spain and Colombia.

    Historical note: Nelson Mandela was charged and convicted of providing bomb making materials to the ANC. The ANC was using these bombs in attacks which fit the definition of terrorism. Therefore, it is accurate to say that Nelson Mandela was at that time, a terrorist. Throughout his long imprisonment he refused to denounce violence in exchange for his release. He maintained his vocal support for violent attacks during the whole time he was in prison. It was only after his realize from prison and the negotiations to end apartheid had begun that Mandela renounced violence and accepted a peaceful transition to majority rule in South Africa. For that wise decision, I consider him a great man, even if he was for a long time, a supporter of terrorism.

  • Nothing has changed in Cuba, but US policy has changed significantly. So far Obama has made several policy changes:

    1. He eased up the rules on travel to Cuba.
    2. Relaxed some banking rules to make it easier for US visitors to Cuba to use credit cards.
    3. Ended the US objection to the participation of Cuba in the OAS Summit of the Americas
    4. Removed the ban on the export of telecom equipment to Cuba from the US
    5. Improved telecom connections between the US and Cuba
    6. Removed Cuba from the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism

    In return for all that, Raul Castro has made no positive moves to improve the lives of the Cuban people. The violent repression of dissidents has increased, with over 1200 political arrest so far this year.

    Even as Obama was announcing the removal of Cuba from the terrorism list, mobs of Castro’s thugs were surrounding the home of Cuban dissident Antunez and engaging in a violent act of repudiation, which is nothing less than an act of state-sponsored terrorism directed at Cuban citizens.

    Rather than making the Castro regime confident enough to relax their control, the concessions from Obama to Cuba have made the regime confident enough to ratchet up the repression. Obama has followed the policy you advocated, and yet the result has been the opposite of what you predicted.

    Raul has declared there will be no political changes in Cuba. I don’t know why you don’t believe him, as he has been true to his word so far.

  • Inexplicable without removing the FARC, ETA, ELN, … from the list of terrorist organizations.
    Cuba supports all of the above. The promise that they “won’t operate in Cuba” is ludicrous. They can still plan in Cuba and get Cuban help to execute terror attacks elsewhere as the bombing aid of the Etarras in Cuba to the FARC.
    The promise to “discuss” the status of US terrorists hidden in Cuba: that is a hollow promise. Cuba should hand over those that committed acts of terror in the US. The Puerto Rican bomber killed innocent civilians in a Manhattan bar.

  • Removing Cuba from the list of State-sponsored Terrorists will help but does not allow Cuba to fully access US banking. Don’t get your hopes up too high.

  • Neither does Socialism in general but economic hardship has never been a reason to change for the Castros.

  • Cuba is planning on increasing it’s yield of dollars from U.S. to make up for loss of Venezuela subsidy. According to an analysis by Barclay’s the oil subsidy started to be cut in September. As Venezuela implodes. sooner than expected they need to have cash flow in place. Denial of Embassy would not work to Cuba’s advantage now that they are off terrorist supporters list.

  • Raul has played his cards well with Obama. He has not given up anything of value while gaining access to international finance. That is huge even if nothing else changes. If the Castro’s want Helms-Burton gone, and I don’t know that they do, they are going to need a gesture to sell a plaiusible case for ending the embargo.

    A straight logical argument on reasons to end embargo won’t get it done. Obama tracks opposition the way $#€+ attracts flys. Midwest Republicans want to open a new market, but they need help.

  • Cuba in the 60s and 70s supported many guerrilla organizations in Latin America, which is NOT the same as supporting terrorism. (The U.S. once called even Nelson Mandela a “terrorist.”) Now Cuba apparently no longer supports revolutionaries in other countries, so the U.S. is simply recognizing the fact.

  • At some point, the Castros will step on their d*cks. Obama is simply doing all the easy stuff first. Raul will get so full of himself that he will demand that the US close GITMO or repay hundreds of billions in reparations for the embargo or something equally ridiculous. Unwilling to meet the Castros overreaching demands, the US will be denied an embassy and the deal will fall apart. Don’t take any victory laps just yet. …..

  • I agree. This information will likely be made public through the national media once Congress begins to debate a bill to repeal the Helms – Burton legislation.

  • To be clear, I support my President but I still have my reservations given my intimate knowledge of every life in Cuba. I am resolved to believe that analysts advising Obama have information that I don’t have. My support is not blind. I have always said that I wished it were true that the Castros could be gently pushed out of power. I simply don’t share your beliefs that this is true. I am still waiting for Raul to torpedo normalization efforts as has happened in the past. So far, despite the exchange of words, the Castros are still beating and arresting innocent people and the US continues to levy fines against businesses who do business with the Castros. So far nothing has changed.

  • The USA putting Cuba on a list of states that sponsor terrorism is like Yul Brynner putting Che Guevara on a list of baldy heads.

  • Griffin, nothing much has yet changed with America’s policy shift towards Cuba…much of it has only been talk. Until the US government completely releases it’s death grip on Cuba, we can both banter back and forth too about what might happen to change the Cuban government’s internal policies. One thing begets another…I’ll continue to maintain that there needs to be a level playing field of mutual respect before anyone can then point a finger and say…. “ah haaaa! I told you so! Nothing has changed in Cuba!” We’ve only barely scratched the surface…and it’s far too early for that…but one thing is certain…the sooner the US levels that playing field, the sooner the Cuban government will feel confident enough to relax their control, thus making it possible for real changes to occur. The ball has always been in America’s court…and it continues to be there to this day. Thankfully Obama has the good sense to realize that.

  • Terry, you did indeed advocate the policy changes Obama has made. You insisted these changes would result in improved human rights for the Cuban people.

    So far, there has been no improvement. The arrests, beatings and harassment of Cuban dissidents continues at an even higher rate than before.

    Therefore, by your own standards, Obama’s policy changes have failed to achieve the results you predicted, so far at least.

    How long will you wait to see the expected results before you admit your assumption was wrong? Giving the Castro tyrants everything they want in exchange for nothing will never help the Cuban people.

    The questions I posed are not fear mongering. They are reasonable and pertinent.

    The White House has stated that Cuba has promised not to support terrorism anymore. Therefore, it is reasonable to ask, Will Cuba send home to Colombia the FARC terrorists wanted by the Colombian government? What about Chesimard and Terpel? What about closing the Hezbollah office in Havana?

  • I find it ironic that you now support the exact same policy shift being pushed by your President that I was preaching long before December 17th. It’s more than a bit funny to see you back-peddling now…but to be fair, I too will be waiting to see what happens with Raul and his government…although wholesale changes are still a pipedream of yours…not so much mine. I think I still have a firmer grip on the reality of present and future US / Cuba relations…without all the drama. It’s still going to be a very long process…and one where the US will have very little direct control…if any at all. Get used to it…your government will eventually need to accept that reality too. Cuba is not for sale.

  • Griffin for President!!! He has all the questions…and the natural ability to fear-monger his speculated answers with no evidence what-so-ever. He’ll fit right in. Perfect!

  • A new poll commissioned by the group called the InterAmerican Security Watch finds that Americans do support Obama’s plan by a margin of 51 to 38 percent .?.?. until they learn some basic facts about Cuba. When Americans are told that Cuba is hosting Russian ships in its harbors, opposition to normalization jumps to 58 percent while support sinks to 30 percent. When Americans are told of Cuba’s attempts to smuggle 240 tons of weaponry to North Korea, opposition jumps to 63 percent and support drops to 26 percent. When Americans are told that Cuba is harboring a cop-killer and terrorists, opposition jumps to 63 percent, and support plummets to 23 percent. When asked whether sanctions should be maintained pending Cuba’s progress on human rights and free elections, Americans agree by a margin of 64-16. And when asked whether Cuba’s designation as a supporter of terrorism should be maintained because it harbors terrorists, respondents agreed 68 percent to 16 percent.

    In other words, the less Americans know about Cuba, the more they support Obama’s policy.

  • On the contrary John, I fully support my President in his efforts to effect change for the Cuban people. I am cautiously optimistic about the notion that making nice with tyrants will bring about that change but I will give the President the benefit of the doubt. Besides, he is right, what we have done so far has only been marginally successful. I will hold my objections until it is clear that the concessions that the US has and will make are entirely unilateral. There are rumors in Cuba that the Castros are soon to make a big announcement as a response to the US well-received rapprochement.

  • The White House statement said that Cuba has agreed to refrain from supporting terrorism in the future. Starting when? By the way, Cuba always denied they supported terrorism, so is their new promise a tacit admission they were lying all along?

    Cuba still provides support to the Colombian terrorist group FARC, the Spanish terrorist group ETA and the Palestinian group the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. In addition, the Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah maintains an office in Havana. For what purpose?

    And while we are on that question, what is the nature of Cuba’s relationships with the two other designated state sponsors of terrorism, Syria and Iran? Envoys from those countries have been visiting Cuba over the pat several months. What were they doing there?

    Will Cuba be rounding up and returning to the US Joanne Chesimard, Frank Terpil or the many more wanted criminals who have found refuge in Cuba?

    Obama has removed Cuba from the US list of countries which sponsor terrorism, but they have failed to demonstrate that Cuba does not sponsor terrorism and the available evidence indicates Cuba continues to do so.

  • Wow. lol.
    USA is surely the #1 in this list.
    No other nation sponsors more terrorism globally.

  • Totally expected but a few days later than I thought. That’s not at all important so the near term will be a speed sensitive progression of changes from both sides of the straits. The big question will be who, amongst the Cuban community in the US, will start to invest in Cuba? All in all a good decision and hopefully the embargo situation will be reviewed and eliminated as well.

  • I’m so angry I could spit.
    How are you going to win a war against tiny Cuba if you don’t continue to defame them in what is a very long standing method of U.S. foreign policy.
    Furthermore, doesn’t President Obama know that by taking Cuba off that list he is making one of his biggest supporters; Moses, very unhappy.?
    I expect to read about a well-armed Moses hopping the White House fence any day now.
    But about the rapprochement : let’s see what happens or doesn’t happen once Congress decides or votes NOT to end the embargo which is the major issue for Cuba. .

  • Obama delivers as promised on advancing friendlier relations. The embargo will go on as only Congress can remove, but with banking and telecommunications opened up the overwhelming bite is removed.

  • About damn time! ¡Bravo! Cuba should NEVER have been ON the list!

  • Cuba has not suppoted terrorism long time ago.

    The decision by USA is overdue

  • ! Bueno! One step at a time. I hope, before I am dead, I can visit and spend time in Cuba. I am 72 tomorrow, so, hurry up.

  • Saying it, especially in a county with such censorship and repression, does not make it so

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