US – Cuba relations update

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The latest development in normalizing US – Cuba relations is the expected move by the US to drop Cuba from the list of state sponsored terrorism.  This was predicted to happen rapidly after what many believe to have been a successful meeting between the two leaders at the Summit of the Americas in Panama.  Outstanding roadblocks still remain but it is expected that other changes will occur quickly between Cuba and the US.

President Barack Obama will remove Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, the White House announced Tuesday, a key step in his bid to normalize relations between the two countries.

The terror designation has been a stain on Cuba’s pride and a major stumbling block for efforts to mend ties between Washington and Havana.

In a message to Congress, Obama said the government of Cuba “has not provided any support for international terrorism” over the last six months. He also told lawmakers that Cuba “has provided assurances that it will not support acts of international terrorism in the future.”

Cuba will officially be removed from the terror list 45 days after the president’s message was sent to Congress. Lawmakers could vote to block the move during that window, though Obama would be all-but-certain to veto such a measure.

Cuba’s top diplomat for U.S. affairs hailed Obama’s action. “The Cuban government recognizes the president of the United States’ just decision to take Cuba off a list in which it should never have been included,” Josefina Vidal said Tuesday night. “As the Cuban government has said on many occasions, Cuba rejects and condemns all acts of terrorism, in every form, as well as any action aimed at encouraging, supporting, financing or concealing terrorism.”

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