The United States officially rescinded Cuba’s State Sponsor of Terrorism designation Friday morning.
The decision comes after President Obama instructed Secretary of State John Kerry to launch a review of Cuba’s designation back in December 2014.
On April 8, 2015, Kerry concluded the review with a recommendation that Cuba no longer be listed among other countries—such as Iran, the Sudan, and Syria—which have repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism.
The news was made public in a statement by the U.S. Department of State. The statement reads as follows:
“In December 2014, the President instructed the Secretary of State to immediately launch a review of Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, and provide a report to him within six months regarding Cuba’s support for international terrorism. On April 8, 2015, the Secretary of State completed that review and recommended to the President that Cuba no longer be designated as a State Sponsor of Terrorism.
“Accordingly, on April 14, the President submitted to Congress the statutorily required report indicating the Administration’s intent to rescind Cuba’s State Sponsor of Terrorism designation, including the certification that Cuba has not provided any support for international terrorism during the previous six-months; and that Cuba has provided assurances that it will not support acts of international terrorism in the future. 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.
“The rescission of Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism reflects our assessment that Cuba meets the statutory criteria for rescission. 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.”
While Cubans can now conduct banking in the U.S. and access financial accounts in U.S. institutions previously frozen under the terror designation, the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba remains and can only be ended by Congress.
The President had notified Congress of the administration's intent to remove Cuba from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list. The lawmakers had 45 days to take issue with the decision, a period which has since expired.