On May 30, the State Department released its 2012 Country Report on Terrorism. As we had expected, Cuba was still listed as a State Sponsor of Terrorism. But as we have seen in the past, the State Department does not use the release of the country reports to de-list a country from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list. While it is frustrating to continue to see an unfair and untrue designation of Cuba as a state that sponsors terrorism, the results of this report do not end our campaign to remove Cuba from the list. In fact, our campaign will escalate.
The three paragraphs that describe the reasons for keeping Cuba on the Terrorist List have changed a bit from the previous descriptions. First, the State Department did recognize that the Cuban government has been a key facilitator in peace negotiations between the Colombian government and the FARC guerilla organization, which the United States has designated as a terrorist organization. The 2012 report also mentions that Cuba has become a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) of South America against money laundering, a regional initiative to implement a global strategy to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorist organizations. It just so happens that the United States is also part of the FATF. So why continue to keep Cuba on this list? Could it be that the rational for keeping Cuba on the Terrorist list is motivated by political reasons rather than factual ones?
The administration does possess the power to de-list Cuba at any time and does not require congressional approval to do so. By taking Cuba off of the Terrorist List, President Obama will be sending an encouraging message to the rest of the Western Hemisphere, in addition to the rest of the world, that embraces Cuba in the international arena. During the 2012 Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia, several of the Latin American leaders made it clear to the United States that if Cuba were not to be included in the next summit, there would be no summit. Removing Cuba from the Terrorist List would not only be a good move for U.S.-Cuba policy, it would be a good move for the United States’ global reputation.
To read a news story about Cuba’s response, see an article by Reuters here.
You can further echo the need for Cuba’s removal from the Terrorist List by keeping Cuba in the press. Click here to write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper calling for Cuba’s removal from the Terrorist List. And PLEASE tell us if your letter gets printed! We’re keeping a list that we will use in the future with the Obama Administration.
If you have not signed the LAWG petition to President Obama and the State Department demanding Cuba’s removal from the Terrorist List, you can sign it here. Share widely! We are aiming to double the number of signers before we share the petition with the administration for a second time.