The United States on Friday formally dropped Cuba from its list of state sponsors of terrorism, the US State Department said in a statement. The removal of Cuba from the US terrorism list eliminates an obstacle toward restoring diplomatic ties between the United States and the communist-led Caribbean island state after 54 years.
A release from the State Department says that in President Obama instructed Secretary of State John Kerry to immediately launch a review of Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, and provide a report within six months regarding Cuba’s support for international terrorism.
On April 8, 2015, the Secretary of State completed that review and recommended to the President that Cuba no longer be designated as a State Sponsor of Terrorism.
Accordingly, on April 14, President Obama submitted to Congress the statutorily required report indicating the Administration’s intent to rescind Cuba’s State Sponsor of Terrorism designation, including the certification that Cuba has not provided any support for international terrorism during the previous six-months.
Furthermore, Cuba has provided assurances that it will not support acts of international terrorism in the future. The 45-day Congressional pre-notification period has expired, and the Secretary of State has made the final decision to rescind Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, effective Friday, May 29, 2015.
The rescission of Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism reflects the US assessment that Cuba meets the statutory criteria for rescission.
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.