Obama criticized for removing Cuba from terror list

Cuba

Barack Obama, Raul Castro Cuba In this Saturday, April 11, 2015 photo, U.S. President Barack Obama, right, smiles as he looks over towards Cuban President Raul Castro, left, during their historic meeting, at the Summit of the Americas in Panama City, Panama. The leaders of the United States and Cuba held their first formal meeting in more than half a century on Saturday, clearing the way for a normalization of relations that had seemed unthinkable to both Cubans and Americans for generations. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

U.S. President Barack Obama removed Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, the White House announced Tuesday, a key step in his bid to normalize relations between the two countries. The decision didn’t come without criticism though. US Senator Marco Rubio of the US state of Florida, expressed his disapproval in a video. A huge portion of his constituency are of Cuban decent from those who escaped the island nation of Cuba throughout decades of hardship looking for a better life in the US. ↓CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE VIDEO↓

Obama made the final decision following a State Department review of Cuba’s presence on the list. The terror designation has been a stain on Cuba’s pride and a major stumbling block for efforts to mend ties between Washington and Havana.

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.”

Tuesday’s announcement comes days after Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro met on the sidelines of a regional summit in Panama. The talks marked the first formal meeting between the leaders of their countries in a half-century.

The U.S. has long since stopped actively accusing Cuba of supporting terrorism. When Obama and Castro announced a thaw in relations in December, the U.S. president expressed his willingness to remove Cuba from that list.

However, he held off on making a final decision amid indications that the White House was reluctant to grant Cuba’s request until other thorny issues — such as restrictions on U.S. diplomats in Havana — were resolved.


Peter Kornbluh on Obama’s Cuba decision
For more perspective on Obama’s endorsement CCTV spoke to Peter Kornbluh from the National Security Archive. He is also the co-author of a new book ‘Back Channel To Cuba: The Hidden History of Negotiations Between Washington and Havana.’

Peter Kornbluh on Obama\'s Cuba endorsement

Peter Kornbluh on Obama\'s Cuba endorsement

For more perspective on Obama's endorsement CCTV spoke to Peter Kornbluh from the National Security Archive. He is also the co-author of a new book 'Back Channel To Cuba: The Hidden History of Negotiations Between Washington and Havana.'

Removing Cuba from the terror list could pave the way for the opening of a U.S. Embassy in Havana and other steps.

Cuba was designated a state sponsor of terror in 1982 because of what the White House said was its efforts “to promote armed revolution by organizations that used terrorism.”

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said that taking Cuba off the terror list does not change the fact that the U.S. has difference with the island nation’s government.

“Our concerns over a wide range of Cuba’s policies and actions fall outside the criteria that is relevant to whether to rescind Cuba’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism,” Earnest said.

Until Tuesday, the communist island nation remained one of four countries on the U.S. list of nations accused of repeatedly supporting global terrorism. The countries still on the list are Iran, Sudan and Syria.

The White House said Obama made the decision following a review and assessment of the of the designation and a recommendation from Secretary of State John Kerry that Cuba had met the conditions to rescind the designation.

“As the President has said, we will continue to have differences with the Cuban government, but our concerns over a wide range of Cuba’s policies and actions fall outside the criteria that is relevant to whether to rescind Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism,” the statement said.


The Senator for the US state of Florida, Marco Rubio, a state with a very large number of Cuban exiles, expressed his disapproval with the decision by the White House in this video


FULL TEXT OF THE STATEMENT:

Statement by the Press Secretary on the Proposed Rescission of Cuba’s Designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism

Today, the President submitted to Congress the statutorily required report and certifications indicating the Administration’s intent to rescind Cuba’s State Sponsor of Terrorism designation.

Cuba was designated a State Sponsor of Terrorism in 1982 due to its efforts to promote armed revolution by organizations that used terrorism. Once designated, a country remains a State Sponsor of Terrorism until its designation is rescinded in accordance with statutory criteria. In Cuba’s case, the applicable criteria require the President to submit a report to the Congress at least 45 days before the proposed rescission would take effect, justifying the rescission and certifying that (1) the Government of Cuba has not provided any support for international terrorism during the preceding 6-month period; and (2) the Government of Cuba has provided assurances that it will not support acts of international terrorism in the future.

As part of his December 17, 2014, announcement of policy changes related to Cuba, President Obama instructed the Department of State to undertake a review of Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism based on an assessment of the available facts. After a careful review of Cuba’s record, which was informed by the Intelligence Community, as well as assurances provided by the Cuban government, the Secretary of State concluded that Cuba met the conditions for rescinding its designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism. The Secretary of State therefore recommended that the President make and submit to Congress the statutorily-required report and certification.

As the President has said, we will continue to have differences with the Cuban government, but our concerns over a wide range of Cuba’s policies and actions fall outside the criteria that is relevant to whether to rescind Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism. That determination is based on the statutory standard – and the facts – and those facts have led the President to declare his intention to rescind Cuba’s State Sponsor of Terrorism designation. More broadly, the United States will continue to support our interests and values through engagement with the Cuban government and people.

FULL TEXT OF WHITE HOUSE PROPOSAL TO RESCIND CUBA’S DESIGNATION AS A STATE SPONSOR OF TERRORISM

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release April 14, 2015

CERTIFICATION OF RESCISSION OF CUBA’S DESIGNATION AS A STATE SPONSOR OF TERRORISM

Pursuant to the Constitution and the laws of the United States, and consistent with section 6(j)(4)(B) of the Export Administration Act of 1979, Public Law 96-72, as amended (50 U.S.C. App. 2405(j)), and as continued in effect by Executive Order 13222 of August 17, 2001, I hereby certify, with respect to the rescission of the determination of March 1, 1982, regarding Cuba that:

(i) the Government of Cuba has not provided any support for international terrorism during the preceding 6-month period; and

(ii) the Government of Cuba has provided assurances that it will not support acts of international terrorism in the future.

This certification shall also satisfy the provisions of section 620A(c)(2) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, Public Law 87-195, as amended (22 U.S.C. 2371(c)), and section 40(f)(1)(B) of the Arms Export Control Act, Public Law 90-629, as amended (22 U.S.C. 2780(f)).

BARACK OBAMA
THE WHITE HOUSE,
April 14, 2015.

Story compiled with information from CCTV America and the Associated Press.


Arturo Lopez Levy from Mills College on Cuba-US relations

For more on the restoration of Cuba-U.S. relations, CCTV America interviewed Arturo Lopez Levy, a lecturer at Mills College and co-author of “Raul Castro and the New Cuba: A Close Up View of Change.”

Arturo Lopez Levy from Mills College on Cuba-US relations

Arturo Lopez Levy from Mills College on Cuba-US relations

For more on the restoration of Cuba-U.S. relations, CCTV America interviewed Arturo Lopez Levy, a lecturer at Mills College and co-author of "Raul Castro and the New Cuba: A Close Up View of Change."

  • Johnny Olson

    First Iran, now Cuba. Are there any other despots in the world that Obama can “friend?” I guess we should be grateful that Hugo Chavez, Idi Amin, Joseph Stalin, and others of their ilk, are no longer with us.