HAVANA – The Obama administration formally removed Cuba from the US terrorism blacklist Friday, a decision hailed in Cuba as the healing of a decades-old wound and an important step toward normalizing relations between the Cold War foes.
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.