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Petition to Remove Cuba from the Terrorist List Reaches State Department

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For Immediate Release: April 26th 2013

On Friday, April 26, 2013, the Latin America Working Group delivered a petition to Secretary of State John Kerry asking him to remove Cuba from the State Department’s list of State Sponsors of Terrorism. The petition, launched in February, has over 8,000 signatures and will continue to collect signatures through the summer. See petiton here.

The petition was addressed to Raymond McGrath, (Coordinator of Cuban Affairs, Department of State), Ricardo Zuniga, (National Security Council, Western Hemisphere Division), and President Barack Obama.

As the State Department may release its list of state sponsors of terrorism on April 30th, this petition is very timely. The continued presence of Cuba on the list symbolizes everything that’s wrong with our approach to Cuba. It’s based on a myth (that Cuban sponsors terrorist groups); it reinforces Cold War-era prejudices (that Cuba is an “enemy” who we must isolate and oppose); it helps lock our foreign policy in stone. It prevents the United States from taking sensible steps toward normalizing relations with Cuba.

The message of the petition said: “Remove Cuba from the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism now. Any rationale for keeping Cuba on this list has long-since disappeared, especially with Cuba now playing a principal role in facilitating and hosting the Colombia-FARC peace negotiations being held in Havana. Removal of Cuba from this list will allow the United States to take steps leading to normalized relations with Cuba, and it will positively impact the U.S. relationship with all of our Latin America neighbors.”

Mavis Anderson, Senior Associate for LAWG’s Cuba program said, “Opinion in the United States is trending to support for a new relationship with Cuba. In fact, a majority of U.S. citizens and of Cuban-American citizens wants a more open policy toward Cuba, including the end of the travel ban. If not now, when? If not Secretary Kerry and President Obama, who?”   

For more information contact:

Mavis Anderson
Latin America Working Group
manderson@lawg.org
202-546-7010