April 13, 2015

Removing Cuba from State Sponsor of Terrorism List is “Long Overdue,” says Congresswoman Lee

Oakland, CA – Congresswoman Barbara Lee released this statement after President Obama transmitted to Congress a certification of the Proposed Rescission of Cuba’s Designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism:

“I am pleased that President Obama will be removing Cuba from the State Sponsor of Terrorism List. This action is long overdue and is an important step toward fully normalizing relations with Cuba.

Along with many of my colleagues, I have long called for Cuba to be removed from this list.  In December of 2013, I wrote a letter calling for de-list Cuba. I have reiterated that call in subsequent letters, including a December 2014 letter signed by 37 of my colleagues, which called for moves toward normalization ahead of the Summit of the Americas.

The letter stated: “Over the years, reports by the State Department on the state sponsors of terrorism, have found no evidence or indication that Cuba provides weapons or training to terrorists. In fact, Cuba now meets global standards for fighting money-laundering and preventing terrorist finance, in addition to playing an active role in bringing Colombia’s civil war to an end.”

By removing Cuba from the State Sponsor of Terrorism List, President Obama is signaling his strong commitment to building a more productive relationship with Cuba.

As we continue to move forward, renewed ties will bring great benefits to the Cuban and American people.  Given Cuba’s close proximity to the U.S., improved relations will open new trade opportunities that will allow U.S. businesses to expand and create jobs here at home. This will also expand existing education and cultural exchanges.

Congress also has a critical role to play.

It’s past time to end the failed embargo, lift the restrictive travel ban and formally normalize relations.

I am glad to be co-leading The Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act (H.R. 664) and Free Trade with Cuba Act (H.R. 403) to forge a new path between our two countries.”


Congresswoman Barbara Lee has been working to end our failed policies toward Cuba for more than 30 years. She has traveled to Cuba more than 21 times leading several Congressional delegations to the island. 

Last week, she attended the 7th Summit of the Americas with President Obama and other Congressional leaders.  This is the first Summit attended by Cuban President Raul Castro.  The Congresswoman has limited availability for interviews from Cuba, please contact James Lewis (james.c.lewis@mail.house.gov) with media requests.

Read Congresswoman Lee’s recent OpEd on U.S.-Cuba relations.


Congresswoman Lee is a member of the Appropriations and Budget Committees, the Steering and Policy Committee, is a Senior Democratic Whip, former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and co-chair of the Progressive Caucus. She serves as chair of the Whip’s Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity.