International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

US Plans to Remove Cuba from State Sponsor of Terror List

According to a recently published article by the New York Times, the Obama administration plans to remove Cuba from the United States’ list of state sponsors of terrorism. The removal of Cuba from the list will mark the end of its 33 year designation on the list and the beginning of the restoration of US-Cuba diplomatic relations. Cuba was designated a state sponsor of terrorism in 1982 after allegedly supporting leftist insurgents in Latin America. White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement:

“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.”

While Obama’s decision was anticipated, critics–predominately Republicans–have attacked the president’s move on the basis of Cuba’s politics as opposed to its terrorist activity. The State Department has outlined human rights violations and limits of freedom of religion on the island. If the decision passes the 45-day review period, this would be a step towards normalizing ties between the two nations. In anticipation of the decision, NPR reported that “the U.S. will ease travel and remittance policies; expand commercial sales and exports; and ease imports, including of tobacco products and alcohol. The U.S. will expand Cubans’ access to the Internet and telecommunications.”

While fulfilling its economic interests, the United States will also have the opportunity to effect political and social reform in the country. It will be interesting to not only hear the reactions of political actors, but Cuban-Americans who once left the country due to corruption.

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One response to “US Plans to Remove Cuba from State Sponsor of Terror List

  1. mcurle15 April 16, 2015 at 10:19 am

    According to Obama in the NPR report, the restoration of the American-Cuba diplomatic relationship will benefit the Cuban people as a whole. Previously to the new-founded friendship between the US and Cuba, the relationship was very icy due to past decisions by the government that fringed on human rights, conflicted with American policies, and supposedly supported foreign terrorism. By having the US take Cuba off the list of state sponsors of terrorism, it creates a very beneficial economic relationship between the two countries. Like pollorey discussed from the NPR article, “the U.S. will ease travel and remittance policies; expand commercial sales and exports; and ease imports, including of tobacco products and alcohol. The U.S. will expand Cubans’ access to the Internet and telecommunications.” If Obama’s decision to have a closer relationship to Cuba passes the 45-day review period, the two countries will both benefit regardless of the two countries still not seeing eye to eye. Cuba will not only benefit economically, but the society will benefit from “more freedom and more opportunity,” according to Obama. I think that the US could run into sticky situations with Cuba in the future if it is not careful to strictly define the diplomatic relationship. If Cuba goes back to committing crimes against it’s own people and begins to become resistant to U.S. influence, another gridlock relationship could emerge. However, it would be more difficult to cut relationships off between Cuba and the U.S. once economic affairs are established. China’s economic support to Cuba also makes me wonder if the U.S’s attempt to ease relations with Cuba is wholly due to the fact that America thinks Cuba should be taken off the state sponsors of terrorism list. Rather, the U.S. would take Cuba off the list as a symbolic move to show Cuba that they are willing to cooperate economically with Cuba and to increase their power in international affairs. China is an economic powerhouse threat to the U.S. so it is interesting to think if the U.S. is trying to limit China’s influence in Cuba for economic reasons in defrosting relations with Cuba.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/obama-to-remove-cuba-from-state-sponsor-of-terror-list/2015/04/14/126c323a-e305-11e4-ae0f-f8c46aa8c3a4_story.html

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