Boehner, top Republicans blast Obama for removing Cuba from U.S. terror list
By Guy Taylor and Ben Wolfgang
The Obama administration on Friday officially scrubbed Cuba from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism, removing a key barrier toward full normal diplomatic relations between the U.S. and the communist island.
While the move was weeks in the making — under U.S. law, the administration had to wait 45 days between announcing and formalizing the delisting — Friday’s development prompted harsh criticism from top Republicans and members of the Cuban-American delegation in Congress.
“The Obama administration has handed the Castro regime a significant political win in return for nothing,” said House Speaker John Boehner, Ohio Republican, who asserted that the “communist dictatorship” in Havana has failed to offer “any indication it will cease its support for violence throughout the region.”
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Cuban-American and long an outspoken critic of the Castro government, went further, asserting that the administration had no real justification for removing Cuba from the state sponsors list, which now consists of just three nations: Iran, Sudan and Syria.
“Castro continues to provide a safe haven to terror groups like the Colombian FARC and Spanish ETA and harbors fugitives from American justice,” the Florida Republican said.
“President Obama’s decision to remove Cuba from the State Sponsor of Terrorism list demonstrates that this administration has once again put politics over policy,” Mrs. Ros-Lehtinen added. “Cuba should not have been removed … since one of the many reasons for its inclusion are its links to repressive regimes around the world such as Iran, Syria, and Russia.”