Obama endorses removing Cuba from terrorism list

Danielle Ferguson

President Obama intends to remove Cuba from the United States government’s list of nations that sponsor terrorism, the White House announced Tuesday. 

This move, which would help restore diplomatic relations after decades of tension, came after a meeting between Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro at the Summit of the Americas meeting in Panama over the weekend, according to the New York Times. This was the first formal session between Cuban and U.S. leaders in about 50 years. 

Cuba has been on the Department of State’s State Sponsors of Terrorism list since March 1, 1982, along with Iran, added in 1984, Sudan, added in 1993, and Syria, added in 1979. 

“This shift in U.S. policy represents a turning point for our entire region,” Obama said April 11 at the Summit of the Americas. “I firmly believe that if we can continue to move forward and seize this momentum in pursuit of mutual interests, then better relations between the United States and Cuba will create new opportunities for cooperation across our region, for the security and prosperity and health and dignity of all our people.” 

The State Department determined Cuba hadn’t engaged in terrorist activity in the past six months and no longer needed to be on the list; however, the country won’t be removed from the list until after a 45-day review period, during which a joint resolution could be considered in the House and Senate to block the country’s removal.