Jeb Bush lays into Obama for removing Cuba from state sponsor of terror list
Published May 30, 2015Fox News Latino
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush railed against the Obama administration's
removal of Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism –
continuing his hardline stance against the continuing normalization of
relations between Washington and Havana.
"Neither continued repression at home nor Cuba's destabilizing
activities abroad appear sufficient to stop President Obama from making
further concessions to the Communist regime in Havana," Bush, who is
considering a run for president, said in a statement, according to the
New York Times.
Bush added the decision was a mistake and called it "further evidence
that President Obama seems more interested in capitulating to our
adversaries than in confronting them."
Other top U.S. Republicans criticized the move, with House Speaker John
Boehner of Ohio saying the Obama administration had "handed the Castro
regime a significant political win in return for nothing."
"The communist dictatorship has offered no assurances it will address
its long record of repression and human rights at home," Boehner said in
The Obama administration's Democratic allies, however, praised the move
with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, calling
it is a "critical step forward in creating new opportunities for
American businesses and entrepreneurs, and in strengthening family ties."
Secretary of State John Kerry signed off on rescinding Cuba's "state
sponsor of terrorism" designation exactly 45 days after the Obama
administration informed Congress of its intent to do so on April 14.
Lawmakers had that amount of time to weigh in and try to block the move,
but did not do so.
"The 45-day congressional pre-notification period has expired, and the
secretary of state has made the final decision to rescind Cuba's
designation as a state sponsor of terrorism, effective today, May 29,
2015," the State Department said in a statement.
"While the United States has significant concerns and disagreements with
a wide range of Cuba's policies and actions, these fall outside the
criteria relevant to the rescission of a state sponsor of terrorism
designation," the statement said.
The step comes as officials from the two countries continue to hash out
details for restoring full diplomatic relations, including opening
embassies in Washington and Havana and returning ambassadors to the two
countries for the first time since the U.S. severed diplomatic relations
with the island in January 1961. The removal of Cuba from the terrorism
list had been a key Cuban demand.
The Cold War-era designation was levied mainly for Cuba's support of
leftist guerrillas around the world and isolated the communist island
from much of the world financial system because banks fear repercussions
from doing business with designated countries. Even Cuba's Interests
Section in Washington lost its bank in the United States, forcing it to
deal in cash until it found a new banker this month.
Banks continue to take a cautious tone about doing business with Cuba
since U.S. laws still make the island off limits for U.S. businesses.
Leaders of the Republicans-controlled House have shown zero interest in
repealing the laws from the 1990s that codified the U.S. embargo on
trade with Cuba.
"Taking Cuba off the terrorism list is one step toward normalization,
but for doing business down there, we have a long way to go," said Rob
Rowe, vice president and associate chief council at the American Bankers
In a blog post, the White House called the decision on the terrorism
list another step toward improving relations with Cuba.
"For 55 years, we tried using isolation to bring about change in Cuba,"
it said. "But by isolating Cuba from the United States, we isolated the
United States from the Cuban people and, increasingly, the rest of the
The terrorism list was a particularly charged issue for Cuba because of
the U.S. history of supporting exile groups responsible for attacks on
the island, including the 1976 bombing of a Cuban passenger flight from
Barbados that killed 73 people aboard. The attack was linked to Cuban
exiles with ties to U.S.-backed anti-Castro groups and both men accused
of masterminding the crime took shelter in Florida, where one, Luis
Posada Carriles, currently lives.
"I think this could be a positive act that adds to hope and
understanding and can help the negotiations between Cuba and the United
States," said director Juan Carlos Cremata, who lost his father in the
"It's a list we never should have been on," said Ileana Alfonso, who
also lost her father in the attack.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source: Jeb Bush lays into Obama for removing Cuba from state sponsor of
terror list | Fox News Latino -