No ease for Cuba from US state sponsor of terrorism list

WASHINGTON, United States, Tuesday February 26, 2013 – The United States has denied reports that it plans to remove Cuba from a list of countries that support terrorism.

“I saw that report. Let me say firmly here it is incorrect,” US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters here. “This department has no current plans to remove Cuba from the state sponsor of terrorism list.

“We review this every year, and at the current moment when the last review was done in 2012, we didn’t see cause to remove them,” she added.

“We’ll obviously look at it again this year, but as I said, we don’t have any plans at the moment,” Nuland continued.

White House spokesman Jay Carney also said: “We have no changes in our approach or policy to Cuba to announce or under consideration that I’m aware of.”

Reports had indicated that “high-level US diplomats” have concluded Cuba should be taken off the terror list, which would allow Secretary of State John Kerry to “remove a major obstacle to restoring relations” with the Spanish-speaking Caribbean island.

“Top administration officials and members of Congress indicate there is a growing consensus in policy and intelligence circles that Cuba’s support for terrorist groups has been terminated,” said the Boston Globe in a report.

It also said that Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat who has long favored improving relations with Havana, met in recent days “with officials to review the Cuba policy.”

The report, however, said that US officials “emphasized that there has not been a formal assessment concluding that Cuba should be removed from the terrorism list”.

Mauricio Claver-Carone, director of the Washington-based US-Cuba Democracy Political Action Committee, said removing Cuba from the list would amount to a “scandalous” concession to the communist government.

The US State Department’s 2012 terrorism report lists Cuba, Iran, Syria and Sudan.

It notes the Cuban government’s links to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and Spain’s Basque Homeland and Liberty (ETA).

The US says that the Castro government has been on the terror list since the list was created in 1982, primarily because Cuba trained and armed guerrilla movements from most Latin American nations in the 1960s and 1970s.(CMC) Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)