MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The U.S. Department of State announced Friday that Cuba has been officially dropped from its list of State Sponsor of Terrorism.
The State Department announced its intention to remove Cuba from the State Sponsors of Terrorism List last month. The move is part of an initiative to normalize relations between both countries.
On April 8th, the Secretary of State completed the review of Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism and recommended to President Barack Obama that Cuba be dropped from the list.
The state department removed Cuba from its terrorism list after the president called for a review of whether Cuba belonged on the list followed by a 45-day waiting period.
“The review of Cuba’s designation as a state sponsor or terror was instructed by the president and we have had separate discussions with the Cuban government about re-establishing diplomatic relations and re-opening embassies,” said State Department Spokesman Jeff Rathke.
Removing the terror designation will lift some trade barriers against Cuba but the overall embargo remains.
The U.S State Department also said in part, “While the United States has significant concerns and disagreements with a wide range of Cuba’s policies and actions, these fall outside the criteria relevant to the rescission of a State Sponsor of Terrorism designation.”
Cuba had been on the list since 1982. Over the years, the Cuba has supported revolutionary movements in places like Africa, Spain and Latin America. Cuba also maintains friendly ties with North Korea and Iran.
Critics include Congresswoman Ileana Ros Lehtinen who said, “it is clear this review from the Obama administration was not based on facts, but rather on a desperate attempt to offer more concessions to the Castro brothers.”
“”I think its irresponsible and shows Obama’s incompetency when it comes to foreign affairs,” said radio talk show host Ninoska Perez.
Jose Basulto of Brothers To The Rescue believes the Cuban government has blood on its hands for the 1996 shoot-down that killed four members of the group.
“I don’t think the U.S. has a statute of limitations on murder and terrorism against U.S. citizens because that’s exactly what took place on February 24, 1996,” said Basulto.
But on the streets of Havana, many Cubans applauded the decision.
With Cuba off the list, Iran, Sudan and Syria remain on the list.