US Pressuring Cuba to Restore Diplomatic Relations by April

Cuba maintains that it cannot restore full diplomatic relations while the United States lists the country a sponsor of international terrorism.

(Telesur) – The United States government is pressing Cuba to allow the opening of its embassy in Havana by April, despite the Cuban government’s demand that it first be removed from Washington’s list of state “sponsors of terrorism,” U.S. officials said Thursday.

According to analysts, it is paradoxical for Washington be so rushed to restore diplomatic relations with a country it officially considers to be a sponsor of international terrorism. The island was placed on the list in 1982 for its support for liberation movements in Latin America and Africa, including the Sandinistas in Nicaragua and the African National Congress in South Africa.

The list currently only includes Iran, Sudan and Syria.

U.S. officials have said that striking Cuba from the terrorism list could take until June or longer, and that the government has begun an intelligence review in order to evaluate whether the island can be removed from the list. The decision is ultimately in the hands of U.S. President Barack Obama, however.

Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro announced the historic agreement on Dec. 17, opening the way for restored relations after more than 50 years of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed on Cuba.