Another step in the pathway toward re-opening relationships with Cuba:
President Barack Obama will remove Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, the White House announced Tuesday, a key step in his bid to normalize relations between the two countries.
In a message to Congress, Obama said the government of Cuba "has not provided any support for international terrorism" over the last six months. He also told lawmakers that Cuba "has provided assurances that it will not support acts of international terrorism in the future."
Cuba will officially be removed from the terror list 45 days after the president's message was sent to Congress. Lawmakers could vote to block the move during that window, though Obama would be all-but-certain to veto such a measure.
Cuba's top diplomat for U.S. affairs hailed Obama's action. "The Cuban government recognizes the president of the United States' just decision to take Cuba off a list in which it should never have been included," Josefina Vidal said Tuesday night. "As the Cuban government has said on many occasions, Cuba rejects and condemns all acts of terrorism, in every form, as well as any action aimed at encouraging, supporting, financing or concealing terrorism."
This follows a highly successful Summit of the Americas, where Cuban President Raul Castro and President Obama met in private for over an hour before emerging for a press conference.
In case you missed it, this was the money quote from that press conference:
“I have told President Obama that I get very emotional talking about the revolution,” Castro said through a translator, noting that Obama wasn’t even born when the U.S. began sanctioning the island nation. “I apologize to him because President Obama had no responsibility for this.”
In a remarkable vote of confidence from a Cuban leader, Castro added: “In my opinion, President Obama is an honest man.”
I really never thought this would happen in my lifetime. I was wrong.