White House Announces removal of Cuba from State Sponsors of Terrorism list

President Obama announced on Tuesday that he was removing Cuba from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list, after a recommendation from the State Department last week.

The announcement is a part of a greater process of normalizing relations between the U.S. and Cuba and comes after a historic meeting between President Obama and Raul Castro on Saturday, which was the first time the leaders of the two countries met in over fifty-years.

“Our governments will continue to have differences,” said President Obama. “At the same time, we agreed that we can continue to take steps forward that advance our mutual interests.”

Cuba was first put on the list in 1982 by President Reagan, and has been kept there alongside Sudan, Syria and Iran.

Cuba made the list because of its support for rebel groups in Central and South America, and has remained there despite Fidel Castro’s announcement in 1992 that his country was no longer in the business of supporting non-state actors like rebels, terrorists or revolutionaries.

At the beginning of the journey towards the normalizing of relations between Cuba and the U.S. in December, President Obama ordered that Cuba’s status on the list be reconsidered and the State Department recommended the removal after “rigorous” review.

There is still a possibility that Cuba will remain on the list however, as the President’s decision to remove the island nation now faces a 45-day review period in Congress, which can block the move in a joint measure.

[NY Times][Photo Courtesy Fox News]