Obama Administration Removes Cuba from Terrorism List after 33 Years

Sunday, May 31, 2015
(photo: Franklin Reyes, AP)

Secretary of State John Kerry followed through Friday on a promise made in April by President Barack Obama to remove Cuba from the list of those nations engaged in state-sponsored terrorism.


Cuba was placed on that list in 1982 when it was supporting guerilla movements in South America. That support has long-since ceased, but the Castro administration remained on the list until now, when a 45-day period for Congress to review the plan ended.


Cuba is still subject to an economic and travel embargo, so the only practical effect might be that the Havana government might find it easier to do business with U.S. companies in deals that are authorized.


“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,” State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said in a statement Friday.


The removal is the latest in a series of steps the Obama administration has taken to normalize relations with Cuba.


Republican House Speaker John Boehner criticized the move, saying the administration “handed the Castro regime a significant political win in return for nothing.” However, Boehner did nothing to oppose the removal during the review period.


Three countries remain on the list—Iran, Syria and Sudan.

-Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

U.S. Drops Cuba From List of State Sponsors of Terrorism (By Daniel Trotta and Arshad Mohammed, Reuters)

U.S. Drops Cuba From Terrorism List (by Jesse Byrnes, The Hill)

U.S. Removes Cuba From State-Sponsored Terrorism List (by Julie Hirschfeld Davis, New York Times)

Rescission of Cuba as a State Sponsor of Terrorism (U.S. Department of State)


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