On March 1st, 1982, Cuba was added to the U.S. Department of State’s list of state sponsors of terrorism. Why? Because “at the time, numerous U.S. government reports and statements under the Reagan Administration alleged Cuba’s ties to international terrorism and its support for terrorist groups in Latin America,” says a 2005 Congressional Research Services report.
That was then; this is now. Visit the State Department’s website; the few paragraphs that detail Cuba’s designation on the list actually read more like reasons to remove Cuba from the list. Now is the time for the United States to show its sincerity in pursuing a path toward improved relations with Cuba. It’s long overdue that we join the rest of the world in recognizing that Cuba is not a threat, but rather a potential partner in the western hemisphere. And if not a partner, then at least not an adversary. Cuba says it is ready and willing to move in that direction. Is the United States? While the majority of U.S. citizens want to engage with Cuba, the White House doesn’t seem to be hearing us.
Play a part in making this happen. We want to exceed 25,000 signatures; and that will take many of us encouraging our friends, family, and colleagues to add their names to the petition. Will you help reach this ambitious goal? Sign and share now.
Why Cuba shouldn’t be on this list:*
• Cuba is not a State Sponsor of Terrorism. State sponsors of terrorism are governments that provide logistical, financial, or political support to groups that carry out terrorist attacks on civilians. Cuba does not.
• Cuba has made international commitments to combat terrorism. Cuba has ratified all 12 international counterterrorism conventions, and Cuba has offered to sign a bilateral agreement with the United States on counterterrorism.
• Cuba is a sponsor of the Colombian peace talks. Cuba is playing a constructive, mediating role (one recognized and lauded by the Colombian government) in peace talks between the FARC guerrillas and the Colombian government.
• Cuba collaborates with the United States in counter-drug efforts. Together, we interdict narcotics shipments in the Caribbean, and the United States government acknowledges (even lauds) this cooperation.
And, this is why the United States should take Cuba off the list:*
• Keeping Cuba on the list weakens the credibility of the entire list.
• Removing Cuba from the terrorist list would sent a positive signal to all Latin American government . . . and could well improve the image of the United States in the western hemisphere.
• The President can do it without Congress.
• Other countries have been removed from the terrorist list; it is possible. Iraq was removed in 1982 and again in 2004 (after having been re-assigned to the list). Libya was removed in 2006. North Korea was removed in 2008 (well, that may have been a mistake). South Yemen was removed in 1990 (after it merged with North Yemen).
Our point? Cuba does not belong on this list, and it is in U.S. interests to remove Cuba from the list. Do it now. Sign the petition and then share, share, share. We want to make as big of an impact as possible, and that can’t happen without you.
We. Can. Do. This.
We’re counting on you,
Mavis, Emily, and Karina
LAWG’s Cuba Team
* Thanks to our friends at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) for letting us borrow from talking points on the terrorist list that they drafted.