The U.S. has formally dropped Cuba from its list of state sponsors of terrorism, an important step toward restoring diplomatic ties. Jillian Kitchener reports.
For Cubans lining up in Havana for visas to the US, the decision has been a long time coming. The U.S. has removed Cuba from its list of state sponsors of terrorism. The State Department's Jeff Rathke says this decision was made independently from ongoing talks to re-establish diplomatic ties. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN, JEFF RATHKE, SAYING: "The United States sees these as separate processes. The review of Cuba's designation as a state sponsor of terror was instructed by the president and we have had a separate process of discussions with the Cuban government about reestablishing diplomatic relations." Washington put Cuba on its terrorism blacklist in 1982, to punish Havana for supporting armed guerrilla movements in Latin America. But with a landmark policy shift in December last year, U.S. President Obama ordered a review of Cuba's status. Congress is also considering an end to the U.S. travel ban. The two sides have since held four rounds of high level negotiations aimed at normalizing relations. This latest decision could help achieve that goal.