End of stigma of Cuba ‘terror list’ may spur US dollars

Decision to remove Cuba from US state sponsors of terrorism list may help remove psychological block for US investment.

Cuba Malecon
Cuba was removed from the terrorism blacklist as part of the process of strengthening ties between the former Cold War foes [AP]

I would say that was quick, but it was a long process.

Still, I just checked the US State Department website and sure enough, Cuba is off the list of state sponsors of terrorism. Here who is left on:


Designation Date


January 19, 1984


August 12, 1993


December 29, 1979

So you might be asking yourself, what does that really mean? That’s exactly what we’ve been asking US officials and they have had a hard time answering. 

Getting off the list could mean big things.

In most cases, it would mean the country could then receive US financial assistance, buy military hardware and more importantly products that can have “dual uses,” meaning ones that can be used to make weapons or anything else. 

That is a broad list – it can mean everything from computers to communication equipment.

It also means you get out from under economic sanctions. That isn’t the case with Cuba. The US Congress has imposed its own sanctions and getting off a list doesn’t change that. 

That doesn’t mean there won’t be more business being done between US and Cuban countries.

When President Barack Obama announced that he wanted to normalise relations with Cuba he made exemptions to some of the restrictions. 

Since he did that, banks and insurance companies could now work in Cuba. Certain products could be exported, like communications and agriculture equipment.

So, you might be asking again, what is the big deal?

For that answer, take another look at the list. The White House argues that if Cuba and Syria were sitting there on the same list companies would be hesitant to do business on the island.

There is a psychological factor that some Americans might need a little bit of time to get over.

This has been a dispute more than 50 years in the making. Being on the list, they argue, only enforced the fear.

There’s another take a way that I think is important. 

The reason the announcement was made now is because the US Congress had 45 days to block the deal and that time ran out on Friday.

There was opposition in Congress, some of it quite strong. Still, there wasn’t a big push to override the president.

The reason is big business and their powerful lobbies, because they want to open up the Cuban market.

That could be important in the future. If these first few forays into Cuba prove profitable, they might get very active trying to get Congress to lift the embargo.

They might not, but not being called a state sponsor of terrorism makes it a little more likely. 

Source: Al Jazeera