Additional Thoughts About the Ridiculous U.S. Designation of Cuba as a “State Sponsor of Terrorism”

A prior post discussed the July 31, 2012 U.S. report on international terrorism that was followed by another post with an extensive analysis of what I believe to be the ridiculous U.S. designation of Cuba as a “State Sponsor of Terrorism.”

At least one of the Cuban-Americans in Congress, however, strongly defends that designation.

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Republican of Miami, Florida), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said this designation “reaffirms . . . [Cuba’s] threat to our national security. The Castro brothers are well known for their avid and long-term support for radical insurgent groups throughout Latin America, including their close ties to fellow despots in Iran, Syria, and Sudan who are also state sponsors of terrorism.” She continued, “It is disconcerting that this Administration is hell-bent on engaging the dictators in Havana despite its own reports illustrating the threat posed by the Castro regime. These thugs in Cuba have never and will never respond to friendly diplomatic gestures and continue to work to spread their anti-American propaganda worldwide.” She urged “President Obama to realize the failure of his Cuba policy and to stop appeasing the Castro brothers. It has not worked and it will not work. The suffering of an entire nation demands a change of course.”

Representative Ros-Lehtinen’s comments, I submit, are not persuasive for the reasons provided in the prior post.

Moreover, the U.S. population of 313.8 million is over 28 times larger than Cuba’s of 11.1 million. Our Gross Domestic Product (purchasing power) of $ 15.3 trillion is 134 times as large as Cuba’s of $114.1 billion. Our annual defense expenditures of $703 billion (purchasing power) is over 134 times larger than Cuba’s of $ 4.3 billion, and Cuba’s military equipment suffers from lack of replacement parts while we all know about U.S. military capabilities’ exceeding the rest of the world combined. And our land mass is over 88 times larger than Cuba’s (9,827,000 sq. km. vs. 111,000 sq. km.). (These comparisons are based on public statistics published by our CIA.)

Cuba is not a threat to U.S. national security. Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen, your saying so does not make it so.

The Congresswoman’s comments, however, do underscore the political problems associated with rescinding the designation of Cuba as a “State Sponsor.” In a presidential election year in which the State of Florida is an important factor, the conventional political wisdom is that Cuban-Americans in Florida are very important to the election results in that state and that they (like their Congresswoman) support harsh measures against Cuba. Although there are signs that many younger Cuban-Americans in Florida and elsewhere do not agree with such harsh measures, it certainly would be more politically difficult this year for the Obama Administration to rescind the “State Sponsor” designation of Cuba.

Such a decision is made even more difficult by provisions of Section 6 (j) (4) of the Export Administration Act (50 U.S.C. § 2405(j)(4)) that impose restrictions on any Administration’s rescission of any such designation:

  • The President may rescind such a designation by submitting a report to Congress certifying that there has been a fundamental change in the leadership and policies of the country’s government, that its government is not supporting acts of international terrorism and that its government is providing assurances that it will not support such acts in the future.
  • Alternatively the President may rescind such a designation by submitting a report to Congress, at least 45 days in advance, justifying the rescission and certifying that the government has not provided any support for international terrorism during the preceding six-months and has provided assurances that it will not support such acts in the future.

If Congress disagrees with the President’s decision to remove a country from the list, of course, it could seek to block the rescission through legislation.

Perhaps this blog’s previous fact-based analysis of the absurdity of the continuation of the Cuba designation is beside the point. Perhaps the continuation is yet another sign of the dysfunctionality of the U.S. Government.












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As a retired lawyer and adjunct law professor, Duane W. Krohnke has developed strong interests in U.S. and international law, politics and history. He also is a Christian and an active member of Minneapolis’ Westminster Presbyterian Church. His blog draws from these and other interests. He delights in the writing freedom of blogging that does not follow a preordained logical structure. The ex post facto logical organization of the posts and comments is set forth in the continually being revised “List of Posts and Comments–Topical” in the Pages section on the right side of the blog.

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