Photo Credit: U.S. Department of State / public domain
(U.S. Department of State, April 14, 2015)
In a special briefing via teleconference, three unnamed senior administration officials gave background information about the White House’s decision to remove Cuba from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list. Although most economic sanctions against Cuba remain in place because of the broader economic embargo, Cuba's removal from the list is an important symbolic step to normalizing U.S.-Cuban relations.
Statement by the Press Secretary on the Proposed Rescission of Cuba’s Designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism
By the Office of the Press Secretary (White House, April 14, 2015)
In this statement, the White House announces that the President has submitted to Congress the required report and certifications to rescind Cuba’s State Sponsor of Terrorism designation. While President Obama acknowledges that Cuba and the United States continue to have great differences, these differences do not pertain to Cuba supporting terrorism. Cuba was first designated a State Sponsor of Terrorism in 1982.
Certification -- Report to Congress with Respect to the Proposed Rescission of Cuba's Designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism
By the Office of the Press Secretary (White House, April 14, 2015)
In this brief release, President Obama certified that Cuba had met all the criteria to be taken off the State Sponsor of Terrorism List, that is, the Government of Cuba hadn’t sponsored any terrorist activity within the past months and had assured that it would not do so in the future. The recision became effective on May 29, after Congress failed to act to block the recision in the intervening 45 days.
Remarks by President Obama at the First Plenary Session of the Summit of the Americas at the ATLAPA Convention Center in Panama City, Panama
By President Obama (White House, April 11, 2015)
During a speech at the Summit of the Americas, President Obama urged his Latin American colleagues to acknowledge the momentousness of the opening of relations between the U.S. and Cuba, and also to focus on the future and not the past. He encouraged leaders of all countries to put aside their differences in order to work for universal rights to democracy, economic growth, reduction in inequality and poverty, and increased security that would decrease the drug and weapons trade while still ensuring human rights.
By Raúl Castro (MINREX, April 12, 2015)
During his first visit to the Summit of the Americas, President Castro took the opportunity to voice both his frustrations with and hopes for hemispheric relations. Although Castro did not hesitate to highlight a history of U.S. abuses against Cuba during his speech, he also emphasized his personal respect for President Obama and hopes for normalized relations. Additionally, he expressed solidarity with countries facing outside interference, such as Venezuela, Argentina, and Ecuador, and called for the enactment of a “transparent and equitable financial system” in the region.
Remarks by President Obama and President Raul Castro of Cuba Before Meeting at the ATLAPA Convention Center in Panama City, Panama
by the Office of the Press Secretary (White House, April 11, 2015)
In this transcript of Obama and Castro’s statements to the press before their historic meeting during the Summit of the Americas in Panama, both presidents express optimism about relations between their countries, while acknowledging that their “deep and significant” differences will take time and patience to resolve.
Cuba Sanctions Update: Removal of Cuba from Terrorism List Will Result in Modest Easing of Trade Sanctions
By Stephen F. Propst (Hogan Lovells, April 9, 2015)
As part of the shift in U.S. policy toward Cuba, President Obama instructed the Secretary of State to launch a review of Cuba’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism (SSOT). This paper summarizes the legal restrictions resulting from the SPOT designation, the process for lifting the designation, and the impact that removing the designation would have on trade with Cuba. Although the removal of Cuba from the SSOT list would be an important diplomatic step towards normalizing U.S. relations with Cuba, its immediate impact on economic activity between the United States and Cuba would be rather limited until further presidential and/or Congressional action is taken to fully lift the U.S. embargo of Cuba.
By William M. LeoGrande (Foreign Affairs, April 9, 2015)
In this opinion piece, LeoGrande outlines the political and historical forces behind Cuba’s inclusion and continuation in the state sponsors of terrorism list – from the Reagan years until today – while arguing that is no legitimate reason to continue including Cuba in this category.
By All Things Considered (NPR, April 10, 2015)
In this audio recording, William LeoGrande speaks with Audie Cornish about how Cuba ended up on the United States’ list of state sponsors of terrorism. Cuba was originally put on the list by then-President Ronald Reagan in 1982 because of its support for revolutionary movements in other parts of Latin America and its harboring of fugitives. Cornish and LeoGrande also discuss what removing Cuba from the list would mean for U.S.-Cuba relations.
(U.S. State Department, 2013)
This report provides a snapshot of 2013 events that are relevant to countries, including Cuba, designated as State Sponsors of Terrorism. Cuba first received this State Department designation in 1982 and has stayed on the list until the present because the U.S. government has determined that Cuba's actions, such as harboring and providing support for fugitives wanted in the U.S., constitute a threat to our national interests.
Is Cuba’s Refusal to Turn Over Fugitives from U.S. Justice a Valid Basis for its Continued Designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism?
Remarks by Robert Muse (Center for International Policy conference “Taking Cuba off the Terrorist List: A Question of National Interest,” March 2013)
President Obama has failed to make significant reforms to Cuban foreign policy through Congress, and Muse urges the President to take charge and remove Cuba from the State Department’s list of State Sponsors of Terrorism. Muse believes that this action will improve relations with Cuba and the rest of the Latin American community.
By Wayne Smith, Peter Kornbluh, and Elizabeth Newhouse (Center for International Policy, January 2010)
This report outlines the findings of an international conference regarding the placement of Cuba on the State Department’s list of State Sponsors of Terrorism. Speakers outline the evidence used to maintain Cuba's status on the list, and the negative effects it has had on the relationship between the island nation and the United States. Many of the participants called for the removal of Cuba’s name from the list for diplomatic reasons.
By Mark P. Sullivan (Congressional Research Service, May 2005)
This documents outlines the arguments for and against Cuba remaining on the State Sponsors of Terrorism list. Proponents argue that there is clear evidence that Cuba has and continues to support terrorist insurgencies in Latin America and Africa. Opponents claim that the label is misleading and that it hinders a constructive relationship between Cuba and the United States.
By Anya K. Landau and Wayne S. Smith (Center for International Policy, November 2002)
Landau and Smith weigh the pros and cons of having Cuba on the United States’ State Sponsors of Terrorism list. The document includes a history of Cuba’s counter-terrorist efforts across the globe, and also provides examples of the nation housing international suspects and wanted criminals. After considering both sides of the argument, the authors conclude that Cuba should be removed from the list.