Republicans Concede Taking Cuba off US Terror List

Rep. Ileana Ros Lehtinen had planned to introduce a bill to block Obama's decision.
Rep. Ileana Ros Lehtinen had planned to introduce a bill to block Obama’s decision.

HAVANA TIMES — Republicans in Congress will not try to block the decision of US President Barack Obama to remove Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, believing they have no legal grounds to do so, reported dpa.

Florida Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a fervent opponent of the Castro government, had planned to introduce a bill this week in the House of Representatives seeking to block the exit of Cuba from the “black list” compiled by the State Department.

“We cannot change it,” Ros-Lehtinen acknowledged in an interview with the conservative magazine “Foreign Policy”. “The experts told us that under parliamentary rules it simply cannot be done,” added Republican Congresswoman of Cuban origin.

Ros-Lehtinen told the magazine that confusion over the authority of Congress to block Obama’s decision to remove Cuba from the list comes from a misunderstanding with the Helms-Burton Act, which in 1996 tightened the economic and trade embargo against the island.

Republicans had hoped to impose their majority in Congress to stop Obama’s plans.

In March 1982 the Reagan administration included Cuba on the list of state sponsors of terrorism. As a result of the December agreement between Washington and Havana to resume diplomatic relations, Obama asked the Secretary of State, John Kerry, to review whether Cuba should be removed from the list.

After hearing the recommendation of the Department of State, Obama announced to Congress on his decision to remove Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism. The countries still on the list are Iran, Sudan and Syria.

The measure, which takes effect 45 days after the President’s announcement, was one of the most frequently repeated demands from Havana during the negotiations to restore diplomatic ties.

To justify its decision the White House argued that “the government of Cuba has not provided any support for international terrorism in the last six months” and said it “will not support acts of international terrorism in the future.”

The announcement of the departure of Cuba from the list of countries sponsoring terrorism came just days after Obama held a historic face-to-face 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.

Washington and Havana announced last December 17 an agreement to resume diplomatic relations broken off unilaterally by the United States in 1961. Both countries are negotiating since late January the planned reopening of embassies, although there is still no time frame.

12 thoughts on “Republicans Concede Taking Cuba off US Terror List

  • Data published in the “Dallas Morning Post” in December 2009 showed that the Castro dictatorship only purchased 1% of medicines, medical supplies and equipment that it could have done in 2008. Over 142 million dollars were fully licensed for exports by the US and just 1% was actually bought.
    A well known expert on Cuba squarely blamed that on decisions of the Castro dictatorship He said: “These are economic and political decisions not to buy.” Cuba often waits for allies to donate what it needs, [Kavulich said.] “They’d rather get things for free than pay for them.”
    The fact that US medicines and equipment are available and used in the “tourist” part of the medical apartheid system also shows that Cuba can purchase medicines, medical equipment and supplies from the US.
    Blame the true cilprit of the bad medical situation in Cuba, Dan. Blame the dictatorship that sends out doctors to earn cash for its survival while Cubans desperately need help.
    While the Cuban health minister is making a show of the “disaster” it is when Cuban doctors emigrate, desert as he called it, that same man has sent more than half of Cuba’s doctors abroad to earn money for the regime removing them from the health service for Cubans.Here is an interesting article from independent journalist Ivan Garcia on the topic:
    Cuba Needs More Doctors and Better Hospitals / Ivan Garcia |
    Translating Cuba –

  • Cuba came on the US terror list in a fully legal manner.
    Its placement on the list was also very logical and continues to be so:

    • Cuba is providing sanctuary to U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist
    Organizations. It’s indisputable that Cuba currently provides sanctuary
    to terrorists from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC),
    the National Liberation Army of Colombia (ELN) and Spain’s Basque
    separatist group, ETA. If the Obama Administration no longer believes
    FARC, ELN and ETA are terrorist organizations, which would be
    mind-boggling, then the State Department must first review their
    designation as “Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO).” De-listing Cuba
    as a state-sponsor of terrorism while countenancing its harboring and
    abetting of terrorist organizations is disingenuous, a folly akin to
    placing the cart before the horse.

    • Cuba is harboring one of the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted Terrorists.”
    Joanne Chesimard remains among the top ten on the FBI’s list of Most
    Wanted Terrorists for the execution-style murder of a New Jersey State
    Trooper. Chesimard, who the Castro regime has reiterated will not be
    returned to face justice, is the only “Top Ten” terrorist to be openly
    living in a state-sponsor nation. Again, if the Obama Administration no
    longer believes that Chesimard is a terrorist — also mind-boggling —
    it should first remove her from the FBI list.

    • Three senior Cuban military officers remain under a U.S. murder
    indictment. In 2003, a U.S. federal court indicted then-head of the
    Air Force, Gen. Rubén Martínez Puente, and two MiG pilots, Lorenzo
    Alberto Pérez-Pérez and Francisco Pérez-Pérez, for the 1996 shoot-down
    of two civilian planes — killing four men — over international waters.
    Three were American citizens, and one a permanent resident. No similar
    indictment has been issued against any military officials of other
    nations deemed to be sponsors of terrorism.
    Emphasizing this challenge, last month President Obama extended a
    national emergency declaration finding that “the Cuban government has
    not demonstrated that it will refrain from the use of excessive force
    against U.S. vessels or aircraft that may engage in memorial activities
    or peaceful protest north of Cuba.”

    • Cuba provides material support to subversive and criminal elements in
    the region. Cuba was originally placed on the terrorism list in 1982 for
    its training and arming of subversive forces in Africa and the Americas.
    Today, thousands of Cuban soldiers and intelligence officials are
    stationed in Venezuela. Their presence and control of Venezuela’s
    military, police, and intelligence services is subverting democracy in
    that nation. Cuba has armed and trained violent paramilitary groups,
    known as “colectivos,” and remains involved in narcotics trafficking and
    other criminal activities.

    • Cuba has recently lied twice to the international community about
    smuggling weapons. In a report last year, United Nations officials
    Cuba’s attempt to smuggle 240 tons of heavy weaponry to North Korea,
    hidden under tons of sugar. Panamanian officials discovered the
    contraband that the U.N. panel described as the largest and most
    egregious violation of international sanctions to date. The panel
    the Castro regime’s lack of cooperation, false statements and strategy
    to conceal and deceive U.N. authorities. And just last week, a
    Chinese-flagged ship was intercepted in Colombia carrying an illegal
    cache of weapons destined for Cuba’s military. Thus, what credible
    “assurances” — as required by law — can the Castro regime give the
    United States that it will now refrain from rogue activities?

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