Photo: Rep. McGovern Says It's Time for U.S. to Drop Cuba from Terror List
The United States should remove Cuba from its list of countries that sponsor terrorism as a gesture of goodwill so that progress can be made on a broad range of matters of bilateral interest, political and academic leaders said on Thursday.
“There is no evidence that Cuba is sponsoring terrorist groups,” Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said during a forum organized by the Washington Office on Latin America.
McGovern, who recently met for more than two hours with Cuban President Raul Castro, on Thursday urged the Barack Obama administration to seize the moment to improve relations with Cuba.
When asked by Efe about how many Democrats and Republicans in Congress support that request, McGovern said that there is a “growing consensus” and that “if there were a secret vote, it would be overwhelming” in terms of its support for removing Cuba from the list.
Also speaking at the WOLA event was Wayne Smith, former Chief of Mission at the U.S. Interests Section in Cuba, who said that the United States is the one who is “isolated” in the international community because of its measures against the island.
Ambassador Anthony Quainton, who was involved in Cuba’s original designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, said that “the time has come, for our mutual interests, to remove Cuba from the list.”
The U.S. government included Cuba on the list in 1982, arguing that Havana supported insurgent groups in the Americas.
In its latest annual report, the State Department once again accused Cuba of harboring members of “terrorist” groups like Colombia’s FARC or Spain’s ETA, as well as fugitives sought by U.S. law enforcement.
McGovern pointed out Thursday that Bogota, Washington’s closest ally in the hemisphere, appreciates Cuba’s “constructive role” as the host country for the Colombian government’s peace talks with the FARC.