HAVANA, Cuba -- The US government has removed Cuba from the list of states sponsoring international terrorism.
US State Department spokesman, Jeff Rathke, pointed out in an official note that "the 45-day notification to Congress expired and the Secretary of State made the final decision of terminating the designation of Cuba as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, which becomes effective today, May 29."
The list is made unilaterally by Washington, and Cuba has been included in it since 1982.
The note specifies that the United States has concerns and differences with Havana, but that no relevant criteria to maintain that policy exist and the action reflects the US conviction that Cuba meets the criteria for its exclusion.
Since the beginning of talks in January for the reestablishment of diplomatic relations with the United States, Cuba has said that its removal from the list of states sponsoring terrorism was a matter of elementary justice, since the island should had never been in it.
This action, together with the financial solution for the Cuba Interests Section in Washington, which for more than a year lacked a bank for its operations, were two of the conditions on the Cuban side for the reestablishment of diplomatic bonds and the opening of embassies.
However, the reestablishment of bonds is only the first part of the long process of normalization of relations between the two countries, broken for over half a century now.
For Cuba, the normalization of ties with the United States must include the lifting of the embargo Washington maintains against Havana, the return of the territory occupied by the Guantanamo Naval Base, the cessation of radio and television broadcasts, and compensation for the damages caused by the economic measures.
To be effective, the decision requires its publication in the Federal Register, the US official newspaper, although the State Department noted the decision becomes effective immediately.
In Jamaica, members of the Senate expressed delight that the US has officially lifted its designation of Cuba as a state sponsor of terror, as the two countries seek to re-establish diplomatic ties.
Speaking at the sitting of the Senate on Friday, leader of government business, Senator A.J. Nicholson, said the move "is long overdue" and will help to strengthen the relationship between the two nations.
Cuba’s removal from the list means that it will have more access to global financial markets and loans from international organizations, such as the World Bank.