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US Removes Cuba from Terror Black List
Jun 05, 2015

The U.S. officially lifted its designation of Cuba as a state sponsor of terror, clearing a hurdle to re-establishing diplomatic ties between the USA and Cuba. The US President Barak Obama recommended to Congress that Cuba be removed from the list, triggering a 45-day congressional notification period in which lawmakers could have challenged the decision.

  • 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.

  • Countries on the list—which now include only Iran, Sudan and Syria—are banned from U.S. arms and exports sales as well as from U.S. economic assistance in addition to a wide variety of additional financial restrictions.

  • Cuba and the USA haven’t had embassies in each other’s countries since 1961. The U.S. action will help pave the way to elevating lower-level diplomatic posts in Washington and Havana into embassies, a first step in what will be a lengthy process to normalize ties after a decades-long Cold War freeze.

  • The USA will keep other restrictions on Cuban trade and travel that are mandated by other laws.

  • As part of the broader normalization, the US President has called on Congress to fully lift a U.S. embargo. There is no time-table for congressional action.

  • Cuba’s removal from the terror list could free up some economic, political and cultural contacts, particularly between Cuba and U.S. states.

  • Cuba’s presence on the list also had hindered Cuba’s efforts to find a bank to handle the accounts of Cuba’s U.S. representative body, called the Cuban Interests Section.

  • The U.S. added Cuba to the list in 1982, citing its role in supporting leftist insurgents in Latin America. 

US State Department officials said they conducted a thorough review to back their recommendation to remove Cuba from the list and received assurances from the Cuban government they wouldn't support terrorist activity in the future.

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