On Tuesday April 14, President Barack Obama made a proposal regarding the removal of Cuba from the list of states that sponsor terrorist activities. This recommendation will probably help speed up the process of re-establishing embassies in both Washington and Havana.
The President explained his decision through a brief notice sent to the Congress:
“The government of Cuba has not provided any support for international terrorism during the preceding six-month period; and the government of Cuba has provided assurances that it will not support acts of international terrorism in the future.”
Cuba was added to the list of nations sponsoring terrorist activities in 1982 during the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. During that time, Cuba was encouraging armed insurgencies in Latin America.
Obama first made an announcement in December 2014 during which he expressed his intention of improving relations with Cuba as the previous attempts based on diplomatic isolation failed to topple the governments led by Fidel and Raul Castro. Obama added that in order to lower the tensions built between the two nations, a new method of engagement was needed.
But as soon as these new debates began, Cuban officials expressed their dissatisfaction regarding their country having been placed on the terror list in the first place.
The suggestion of removing Cuba from the list of countries supporting terrorism was first made last week by the State Department which concluded that Cuba no longer encouraged terrorism abroad.
Secretary of State John Kerry made the following statement:
“Circumstances have changed since 1982, when Cuba was originally designated as a State Sponsor of Terrorism because of its efforts to promote armed revolution by forces in Latin America.”
He added that the world, including Cuba, is different from what it was 33 years ago.
The strongest sign of an improved relationship between U.S and Cuba was seen last Saturday, on April 11, when President Obama and Raul Castro had a one hour long debate regarding the Summit of the Americas in Panama. The last similar event took place in 1959.
The Congress has 45 days to pass a joint declaration to deflect President Obama’s decision. It is, however, unlikely that lawmakers would gather all the votes needed to outweigh a presidential veto.
Image Source: USA Today