President Biden, it’s time to act: Cuba is not a sponsor of terrorism

Donald Trump, when he was president and under the suggestion, I’m sure, of a number of Cuban Americans, made sure to put Cuba back on the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism before leaving office. 

This is a list whose members are determined by the Secretary of State “to have repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism.” If it wasn’t so sad and cause huge negative effects on the Cuban people, I would refer to the designation as laughable. But it’s real. And it is meant to hurt.

It also makes my blood boil. The nerve… Especially coming from a country that if we’re honest would easily be designated one of history’s top state sponsors of terrorism. At this point I can imagine some of you reacting negatively to my calling the U.S. a terrorist nation. But allow me a few examples. You tell me: 

  • How many North Americans were killed, enslaved, or displaced when U.S. revolutionaries took over these lands — from the Native Americans who lived here, to the 4 million who lived in slavery (brought here involuntarily) before the start of the Civil War?
  • Atomic bombs dropped: The recorded death tolls are estimates, but it is thought that about 140,000 of Hiroshima’s 350,000 population were killed in the blast, and that at least 74,000 people died in Nagasaki.
  • Vietnam, an unholy and illegal war, ended up killing more than 2 million human beings. All we hear is that 58,000 American soldiers perished during the war.

There are dozens of other examples. 

President Biden: It’s time to act

Why has President Joe Biden not started the process (and it does take months) of removing Cuba from this diabolical list? And I understand that the new president has a huge list of priorities to deal with, but why has he not at least announced that he has ordered his Secretary of State to begin the process of removing Cuba from this list?

As reported by National Public Radio (NPR), “Being put on the U.S. terror list exposes countries to a suite of sanctions, including ‘restrictions on U.S. foreign assistance; a ban on defense exports and sales; certain controls over exports of dual use items; and miscellaneous financial and other restrictions,’ the U.S. State Department says.” The other three countries on this list are Syria, Iran and North Korea.

Referring to its designation as a terrorist state, U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont, said in January: “Nothing remotely like that [terrorism] exists here” in reference to Cuba.

For the many who are critical of the Cuban government and its policies, go for it. I probably agree with you on a host of them. But to place Cuba on a list of terrorist nations, and to be put there by the Trump administration, gives credence to words uttered by former Cuban Ambassador to the United States José Cabañas who said: “The world is upside down,” after hearing of Cuba’s return to the U.S. list.