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Report: Cuba to Be Removed from State Sponsors of Terrorism List

An appropriate and long overdue decision.

The Associated Press reports that the Obama administration has decided to remove Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism:

In a message to Congress, Obama said the government of Cuba “has not provided any support for international terrorism” over the last six months. He also told lawmakers that Cuba “has provided assurances that it will not support acts of international terrorism in the future.”

Removing Cuba from the list has been expected as part of the process of normalizing relations, and there were signs at the Summit of the Americas that this would likely happen soon. Christopher Preble explained last week why this is an appropriate and long overdue decision:

But the best reason for removing Cuba from the state sponsor of terrorism list may be because Cuba does not appear to be a state sponsor of terrorism. As a story in today’s Washington Post notes, “In many ways, the U.S. designation, first imposed in 1982, is a Cold War relic. Although the United States strongly objects to Cuba’s domestic policies, it has offered no evidence for decades that Cuba is actively involved in terrorism abroad.”

This situation is not unique to Cuba. The terror sponsor list has become a catch-all for countries we don’t like very much, including for other reasons – human rights abuses, weapons proliferation, and general roguish behavior. Countries should be scorned, and perhaps even sanctioned, for such activities, but casting them as terrorist sponsors when they clearly are not renders the entire enterprise farcical.

Starting to resume relations with Cuba put an end to a anachronistic policy that ought to have been changed decades earlier, and in connection with the effort to normalize relations with Cuba the U.S. is finally getting rid of this old, inaccurate designation. Hard-line dead-enders that have rejected the restoration of ties with Cuba will no doubt cry foul over this, but this just shows that their views of Cuba policy remain mired in the previous century.



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