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U.S. Congressmen ask Biden to remove Cuba from terrorist list

Democratic congressmen from Massachusetts asked U.S. President Joe Biden to remove Cuba from the list of sponsors of terrorism, a designation issued at the end of Donald Trump’s administration, The Hill newspaper reported today.

Members of Congress criticized Trump’s inclusion of Cuba in this arbitrary and unilateral list of State Sponsors of Terrorism (SSOT) and urged Biden to revoke it, published Tuesday an article in the newspaper specialized in political and legislative issues.

«It was a vindictive action taken by the Trump Administration in January 2021 when he left office, and the policy should have changed by now,» wrote Democratic Representatives Jim McGovern and Ayanna Pressley in a December letter that was not made public until now, according to the newspaper.

«Cuba and the United States have a bilateral counterterrorism cooperation agreement in place,» the two congressmen stressed in the missive, also signed by Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, and Representatives Seth Moulton, Lori Trahan, and Stephen Lynch.

The Democrats also insisted on Biden’s unfulfilled campaign promises on the review of some of the coercive measures adopted by Trump (2017-2021) against Cuba.

«As a candidate for president, you promised to address a new engagement with Cuba and return to the policy initiated during the Obama-Biden administration, and we support you in this commitment,» they reminded the current occupant of the Oval Office.

Trump included the Caribbean country on that list during his last week in office and this imposed severe restrictions on the island’s access to international financial markets, limiting its ability to conduct business with other countries and entities, which are forced to choose between trading with the United States or Cuba, the article added.

«While there are multiple reasons for the economic crisis in Cuba, undoubtedly a major contributing factor is the restrictions and sanctions faced by international financial institutions and other entities because Cuba is on the SSOT list,» the lawmakers warned in their letter.

Obama (2009-2017) removed Cuba from the list in 2015 after admitting that the Caribbean nation is not a sponsor of terrorist acts.

«We recognize that much has changed in Cuba and the United States since 2018, but two and a half years into your presidency, the overwhelming number of sanctions imposed by your predecessor, including placing Cuba back on the SSOT list, remain in place,» they noted.

The congressmen called it a «specious reason by the Trump Administration» to place Cuba back on that classification.

They recalled that during his visit to the United States, Colombian President Gustavo Petro personally appealed for Cuba to be removed from the list and highlighted the role of the Caribbean nation in facilitating peace negotiations in his country.

The Democrats also mentioned in their letter that Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador asked the United States to remove Cuba from the list in recent bilateral talks on migration with Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

«The ongoing difficulties faced by all sectors of Cuban society are the driving force for tens of thousands of people to leave their homes and migrate to the United States,» they emphasized.

Therefore, they concluded, it is against the direct interests of the United States to continue the collective economic restrictions that result from Cuba remaining on the SSOT list.

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