International News

Obama Removes Cuba's State Sponsors of Terrorism Designation; Miami Politicians React

Barack Obama announced today that he's removing Cuba from the State Department's official list of state sponsors of terrorism, an action that will go into effect in 45 days barring any congressional action. The move is seen as a key step to fully restoring relations between Washington and Havana, with Cuba reportedly demanding it before taking the next step. 

Cuba's addition to the list in 1982 meant it received further sanctions in addition to the embargo. Cuba had been placed on the list for harboring foreign terrorists and acting as a staging ground for guerrilla groups. However, Cuba is widely believed to have provided no training or assistance to any leftist guerrilla groups since 1991. 

"While the United States has had, and continues to have, significant concerns and disagreements with a wide range of Cuba’s policies and actions, these concerns and disagreements fall outside of the criteria for designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism," said Secretary of State John Kerry in a statement. "This review focused on the narrow questions of whether Cuba provided any support for international terrorism during the previous six months, and whether Cuba has provided assurances that it will not support acts of international terrorism in the future, consistent with the statutory standard for rescission." 

The move had been widely expected since Obama announced his intentions to normalize relations with Cuba back in December. Obama had met with Cuban President Raul Castro briefly over the weekend at the Summit of the Americas, the first time an American and Cuban president had met since 1959. 

Though the move certainly didn't come out of nowhere, many Miami politicians were quick to react and issue rebukes on Twitter.  Rep. Carlos Curbelo and newly minted presidential candidate Marco Rubio have not yet issued statements, but it's not any stretch to guess where they'll fall on the political spectrum on this one.