State Department removes Cuba from terrorism blacklist

In a move designed to ameliorate the new association between Washington and Havana, the State Department removed Cuba from the “state sponsor terrorism list” effective 29 May.

A State Department announcement read:  “The 45-day congressional pre-notification period has expired, and the secretary of state has made the final decision to rescind Cuba’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism, effective today, May 29, 2015. While the United States has significant concerns and disagreements with a wide range of Cuba’s policies and actions, these fall outside the criteria relevant to the rescission of a state sponsor of terrorism designation.”

House Speaker John Boehner responded:  “(this) Handed the Castro regime a significant political win in return for nothing.”  House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi welcomed Cuba’s removal and said: “(it is a) Critical step forward in creating new opportunities for American businesses and entrepreneurs, and in strengthening family ties.”

Grievance is not a key component of a successful foreign policy.

This is not quite in synch:  The “state sponsor of terror” designation is reserved for nations deeply immersed in moral rot and whose only form of expression is hatred and wanton cruelty through violence.  Cuba is not perfect, but does this country deserve to be designated as a state sponsor of terrorism akin with Iran, Syria and Sudan?

While Cuba is alleged to have had prior links to Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) terror networks, State’s justification was largely due to Cuba’s alliance with the former Soviet Union and Cuba’s willingness, manipulation rather, to export communism at the behest of communist-run Moscow and the humiliation Washington experienced at the hands of Castro’s especially painful betrayal in his late-night, by-candlelight announcement he was indeed a communist.  Advancing Cuba’s political philosophy is not the equivalent of an advancement of terror.

Boehner, however, does have a point: The issue is one of efficacy and prudence.  Mr. Obama’s overtures do not guarantee Cuba will undergo a miraculous transformation into a democratic government.  Further, Cuba has never offered any corresponding gesture:  Havana has refused any settlement for American property nationalized after the communist takeover.

Alexis De Tocqueville, the French political philosopher and author of Democracy in America, once said:  “The most dangerous moment for a bad government is when it begins to reform.”  Cuba owns a bad government; communism is a vehicle for corrupt political order.  Reform may be slow and not at a pace welcome by Mr. Boehner, but if a KFC opens in downtown Havana, the whole rotten communist structure will collapse in a heartbeat.