US Removes Cuba From List of Countries Not Fully Opposing Terrorism

The United States officially removed Cuba from a list of countries it deems to not fully oppose terrorism on Wednesday, in a move that may pave the way for Cuba to be removed from the list of countries considered to sponsor terrorism.

The Designation

The US State Department stated that the removal of Cuba from the list is due to further cooperation between US and Cuban authorities between 2022 and 2023, ending a four-year-long designation since they were originally classified under the Trump administration.

In another move by the Trump administration, the president classified Cuba as a country that sponsors terrorism, a designation that led to further sanctions against the island nation while also classifying Cuba as ineligible for foreign assistance from the US, allowing American citizens to file lawsuits for acts of terrorism supported by Cuba, and further damaging Cuba’s standing in the international community.

Cuba has claimed this designation has worsened the economic crisis within the country, adding further economic stress to the nation since the US began sanctions in 1960.

“This move by the Biden Administration could well be a prelude to the State Department reviewing Cuba’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism,” William LeoGrande, a professor at Washington’s American University, told Reuters.

The re-designation has been met with support from a number of foreign officials, with both Cuba’s Foreign Minister, Bruno Rodriguez, and the Colombian government celebrating the news.

“The US has just admitted what is known to everyone: that Cuba collaborates fully with efforts against terrorism,” Rodriguez said in a post on X.

The Colombian Foreign Ministry welcomed the news of Cuba’s removal from the list, highlighting the important role that Cuba played in negotiating a ceasefire with the now disbanded Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) alongside Cuba’s ongoing assistance in peace talks with Colombia’s National Liberation Army (ELN).

Analysis

The removal of Cuba from the list of countries not fully opposing terrorism can be seen as one of the first steps in the lessening or complete removal of sanctions against Cuba. President Joe Biden previously stated while running for office that he aims to lessen restrictions placed on Cuba, specifically targeting further restrictive actions placed under the Trump administration.

In what can be seen as cooperation by the Cuban government, a number of economic reforms were passed by the government in 2021, including unifying the country’s dual currencies, lifting restrictions on private enterprises, and allowing Cuban-Americans to invest in the country.

These reforms coincided with a change in leadership of the Communist Party of Cuba, with Miguel Diaz-Canel replacing Raul Castro, the brother of Fidel, effectively ending the decades-long rule of the Castro family in Cuba.

Relations would dip momentarily with the rise of protests across Cuba in 2021 following shortages of electricity, food, and medicine, which ultimately led the Cuban government to accuse Washington of influencing the unrest and swiftly cracking down on the unrest. Protests erupted again in March 2024 following further shortages; this time, however, the Cuban government would respond by increasing power production and distributing food, with China sending some foreign aid to help relieve the unrest.

While Biden previously made promises to mend relations with Cuba, dialogue between the US and Cuba remains fraught, leading some to speculate that the reclassification could be in an effort for the president to secure further votes in the upcoming elections.

Trent Barr
Trent Barr
Trent Barr is an Intelligence Analyst for Atlas News. He has years of experience and is trained in open source intelligence gathering. Trent Barr specializes in Latin American, German, and Vatican affairs while also holding an interest in Europe as a whole.

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