Cuba is Not a Sponsor of Terror!

A crucial policy of the Trump administration remains, and that is Cuba’s presence on the State Sponsors of Terrorism list.  It is critical to Cuba’s ability to pursue economic, trade and humanitarian activities that it be removed immediately from the list – a power well within Biden’s authority.  Please sign our petition to the White House calling for Cuba to be removed from the list. 

Dear President Biden, 

We are concerned that your policies toward Cuba, which have been more aligned with those of President Trump than President Obama, are hurting the wellbeing of the Cuban people. While your recent easing of travel and remittance restrictions are helpful, they are not enough. One positive and principled measure that you could easily implement is to remove Cuba from the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism. 

As you are aware, in the last days of the outgoing Trump administration, then Secretary of State Mike Pompeo added Cuba back onto the list of state sponsors of terrorism, after it had been removed from the list in 2015 by the Obama-Biden administration.  After a significant review, the Obama-Biden White House had certified that “(i) the Government of Cuba has not provided any support for international terrorism during the preceding 6-month period; and (ii) the Government of Cuba has provided assurances that it will not support acts of international terrorism in the future.”   

Trump’s re-designation of Cuba to the list was purely a political move to please conservative Cuban-Americans. The excuse was that Cuba was purportedly providing safe haven for Colombian insurgents, but these insurgents were in Cuba because of the island’s role in facilitating the historic Peace Accords between the Colombian government and a guerrilla group.  Insurgent activities years ago during Colombia’s civil strife does not fit the definition of international terrorism, and the guerilla representatives were in Cuba as part of an internationally recognized process of peace negotiations supported by the United States, Norway, Colombia and other nations. 

By being on this list, Cuba is subjected to a series of sanctions and international financial restrictions that limit the nation’s ability to carry out critical financial transactions, including those needed to advance its efforts to combat the pandemic and reboot its economy. The economic deprivations to which U.S. sanctions contribute have resulted in the mass migration of Cubans, which is currently a major challenge to U.S. interests in border security, as well as causing a humanitarian crisis for the very Cuban people that your administration claims to support.

Far from supporting terrorism, Cuba has a long history of providing healthcare and saving lives around the world. Since 1963, more than 600,000 Cuban health workers have provided medical services in more than 160 countries, fighting diseases from Ebola to COVID-19. Instead of working with Cuba to provide healthcare globally in the middle of a global pandemic, the U.S. government has been sanctioning Cuba and squeezing its economy with a brutal blockade. 

The immense power of the U.S. government over the world financial system means that banks and traders refuse to do business with Cuba because they are afraid of retaliation by the U.S. government for not complying with the embargo. Even during the pandemic, companies have refused to sell Cuba raw materials, reactive agents, diagnostic kits, pharmaceutical drugs and a range of other materials necessary for operating Cuba’s excellent, but stressed, public science and health care system.

President Biden, you could remove Cuba from this terrorist list with a stroke of your pen. We call on you to do just that.