MEXICO & THE AMERICAS

Cuba welcomes removal from U.S. list of states sponsoring terrorism

Cuba welcomes Obama decision to remove nation from terrorism list it 'never should have been included' on

Cuba welcomed President Obama’s decision to remove the island nation from the list of states that sponsor terrorism -- a list on which “Cuba never should have been included,” a senior Cuban official said.

Josefina Vidal, head of the North American section of the Cuban Foreign Ministry and Havana's leader of negotiations to renew diplomatic ties with the United States, praised Obama’s “just decision” and said Cuba condemns rather than supports terrorism.

“Cuba rejects and condemns all acts of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, as well as any action that has as its objective the encouraging, supporting, financing or covering up terrorist acts,” Vidal said in a statement released late Tuesday.

She said her nation had been the victim of terrorism rather than its promoter. She was alluding to efforts by U.S. and Cuban opponents of the Castro governments to overthrow or destabilize the regime, including the U.S.-backed attempted invasion at the Bay of Pigs in April 1961, which she said claimed the lives of hundreds of Cubans.

“The government of Cuba recognizes the just decision taken by the president of the United States to eliminate Cuba from a list on which it never should have been included,” Vidal said.

Cuba’s position on the list of state sponsors of terrorism, with Iran, North Korea and others, had been a major obstacle in the improving of diplomatic relations between Washington and Havana, announced by Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro in December.

The Castro governments consistently demanded their nation be removed from the list -- along with insisting that the U.S. embargo on Cuba be lifted, something that only Congress can do.

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