A Gross Carriage Of Justice: Obama To Remove Cuba From Terrorist Sponsor List

Author:Mr J. Scott Maberry
Profession:Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton

In a move that may honestly mean more to America than to Cuba, the White House announced today that President Obama will remove Cuba from the U.S. list of "State Sponsors of Terrorism." As we reported here, the U.S. Department of State has listed Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism pursuant to the Export Administration Act, the Arms Export Control Act, and the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act since 1982. Reviewing Cuba's place on the list was one of the central proposals of President Obama's December 17, 2015 announcement of a new policy toward Cuba. On that day, the President directed Secretary of State John Kerry to review the designation of Cuba under the current facts and the applicable laws. Mr. Obama requested Secretary Kerry's report within six months, setting up June 17 as the date for a massive trade-geek "over-under" betting pool. Knowing Secretary Kerry to be a classic gunner (law school slang for the person who is always first to raise a hand with the right answer) our money was on the under. So we have cashed in on today's announcement. All of you who took the over, pay up.

Last week, the State Department issued a notification that Secretary Kerry had submitted his report to the White House recommending removal, based on the relevant statutory standards. U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) pre-judged the president's "expected removal" of Cuba as a "miscarriage of justice." The statutory provisions permitting a country to be listed include aiding or abetting proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, supporting terrorism, providing sanctuary or financing for terrorists. According to the State Department's 2013 Country Report on Terrorism (the most recent available), Cuba had provided safe haven to members of two terrorist groups, the Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). But according to the same report, "Cuba's ties to ETA have become more distant," and "about eight of the two dozen ETA members in Cuba were relocated with the cooperation of the Spanish government." The report also noted there was "no indication that the Cuban government provided weapons or paramilitary training to terrorist groups." The main continuing issue identified by the State Department in 2013 was that Cuba continued to harbor fugitives wanted in the United States. One such fugitive, Joanne Chesimard, made the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorists List in 1973 after killing a New Jersey state trooper...

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