By Daniela Rueda |Staff Writer|
Cuba was removed from a list of state sponsors of terrorism on May 29, 2015 by the Obama administration.
President Barack Obama believes this is a crucial step to normalize ties between Washington and Havana, according to The New York Times.
Secretary of State John Kerry removed Cuba’s designation at the end of a 45-day congressional notification period when Obama announced his intention to remove Cuba from the list, which began on April 14, 2015, according to The New York Times.
Cuba’s removal from the terrorism list was criticized by many declared, or prospective, Republican presidential candidates and members of Congress, which could cause the truce to be an issue in the 2016 campaign, according to The New York Times.
The difficulty of negotiations caused American and Cuban officials to carry out the historic reopening that Obama announced in December 2015.
Officials failed in talks last week to reach an agreement on re-establishing diplomatic relations and opening embassies, according to The New York Times.
Obama met with Cuban president Raul Castro last month in Panama at the Summit of the Americas, an institutionalized gathering of the heads of state and governments to discuss common policy issues, in the first encounter in a half-century.
Obama would need Congress to lift the trade embargo and tourism ban, but his move last year relaxed some travel criticism.
Improved trade regulations have paved the way for direct flights and ferry rides, along with business ventures between the United States and Cuba, according to The New York Times.
Republican Sen. of Arizona, Jeff Flake, has pressed for the lifting of remaining sanctions.
“When people get more freedom, they want more of it. Time has gotten away from those who favor the old policy,” stated Flake.
Cuba’s reaction was muted. The state news media took note in brief articles without comment from government leaders.
Cubans, however, had viewed the nation’s terrorism designation, in effect since 1982 when the government was sponsoring rebellious activity, according to The New York Times.
American and Cuban officials face challenges in reconciling even with the terrorism issue resolved. Since the normalization process was announced, issues holding up the conversion of the diplomatic outposts, known as interest sections, into full-fledged embassies were not resolved, according to The New York Times.
United States negotiators wanted assurances from the Cubans that American diplomats at an embassy in Havana would be able to move freely around the country and speak with anyone, including opponents of the government, according to The New York Times.
Cuban officials, who have frequently accused the United States of working to undermine the government by aiding dissidents, have resisted the request, according to The New York Times.
American officials guaranteed that Cubans visiting an American embassy in Havana would not be harassed by police.
Once diplomatic relations are restored, the long-time adversaries will work on the more complicated task of normalizing overall relations, according to Yahoo News.
Kassie Garcia, a liberal studies major, believes this truce will make history and will benefit the United States.