The fact that Cuba is still on that list has been a huge impediment in the establishment of embassies in both Washington and Havana .
The Obama administration is expected to make an official announcement on the matter as early as Wednesday,
Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes also added that an announcement this week is possible. He said the State Department is “nearing its completion” of its report of the state sponsor of terrorism classification process.
Cuba considers the designation as a major hurdle in its talks with U.S. counterparts, explaining that the normalizing of relations between the two Cold War rivals can only be started after Havana is taken off the list.
After a recommendation is offered by the State Department, Secretary of State John Kerry would then pass it to President Barack Obama. The White House leader has said he would act very quickly on the matter.
If President Obama accepts the State Department’s recommendation, Congress would then have 45 days to approve the resolution. The White House leader is set to attend a summit with most Latin American leaders in Panama later this week, soon after the expected recommendation on state sponsor of terrorism designation.
Except Cuba, only three other countries are present on the list: Iran, Syria and Sudan. The last country to be dropped from the list was North Korea, which was removed by President George W. Bush’s administration in 2008.
For most US citizens, Cuba has been a prohibited destination for decades. Many travel constraints to the country still apply but some of the red tape has been resolved. Many consider this as a last opportunity to live the authentic Cuba experience, with its iconic 50’s cars.
Cuba has been undergoing an important transformation in recent years. The country needs infrastructure restoration, but also more free trade, better internet, and higher incomes.
US businesses are also lining up to go to Cuba. A few direct flights between New York and Havana were only recently restarted. A few ferry firms are also waiting to set sail and reconnect the two countries. The online marketplace, Airbnb, has started listing private accommodation in Cuba, while other high profile US firms like Google, Netflix or Apple have already announced plans to enter the Cuban market.
Image Source: Going Abroad