President Obama’s decision to take Cuba out of the list of states sponsors of terrorism is fair and was much awaited. However, as is customary concerning the thaw in Cuban-American relations, its speed and transparency are remarkable, all the more within today’s international relations context and especially in a political environment strained for more than 50 years. The Summit of the Americas has been the setting chosen to act out a new stage between the United States and Cuba. Most importantly, this has redimensioned the strategic relationship between the United States and Latin America. As pointed out by Hillary Clinton, the relationship with Cuba has distorted and marked the whole relationship to Latin America.
This fair and awaited decision means that, within 45 days, Cuba will leave the blacklist of terrorist countries. This will foster American interests in the Island, make it easier for the Cuban authorities to have presence in international bodies and boost their action within the multilateral scope. It will also energise the progress and development of Cuba’s institutions and will have a positive impact on the daily life of Cubans.
I have often highlighted that Cuba has decidedly condemned and rejected terrorism and terrorist actions and actively cooperated in this area with countries such as Spain and Colombia. Its inclusion in the list of states sponsors of terrorism in 1982 was not sufficiently supported and today has no justification whatsoever, given that the political context of the Cold War has been left behind and the international sphere has evolved a great deal in more than three decades.
The road map of Presidents Castro and Obama is on the table and both agree on the fact that the opening of relations is an irreversible process. Before the end of the year we will have to watch for the opening of legations in Havana and Washington, although there will be plenty of quicksand to avoid between the shores of the Caribbean Sea. Both presidents’ political willingness concerning the rapprochement of the countries is firm, and Obama’s decision is fair and much awaited.