President Obama is ordering Secretary of State John Kerry to review Cuba’s place on the list of state sponsors of terrorism.
“This review will be guided by the facts and the law,” Obama said during his Wednesday announcement. “A nation that meets our conditions and renounces the use of terrorism should not face this sanction.”
The State Department has listed Cuba as a sponsor of terrorism since 1982:
Cuba has long provided safe haven to members of Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Reports continued to indicate that Cuba’s ties to ETA have become more distant, and that about eight of the two dozen ETA members in Cuba were relocated with the cooperation of the Spanish government. Throughout 2013, the Government of Cuba supported and hosted negotiations between the FARC and the Government of Colombia aimed at brokering a peace agreement between the two. The Government of Cuba has facilitated the travel of FARC representatives to Cuba to participate in these negotiations, in coordination with representatives of the Governments of Colombia, Venezuela, and Norway, as well as the Red Cross. There was no indication that the Cuban government provided weapons or paramilitary training to terrorist groups.
Senator Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) noted that history in his denunciation of Obama’s decision to normalize U.S. relations with the regime.
“Cuba, like Syria, Iran, and Sudan, remains a state sponsor of terrorism,” he said in a Wednesday statement. “It continues to actively work with regimes like North Korea to illegally traffic weapons in our hemisphere in violation of several United Nations Security Council Resolutions. It colludes with America’s enemies, near and far, to threaten us and everything we hold dear. But most importantly, the regime’s brutal treatment of the Cuban people has continued unabated. Dissidents are harassed, imprisoned and even killed.”