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31 May, 2015

Chinese Commentary: Cuba’s removal from “terror list” raises more questions about U.S. credibility

by Xinhua writer Sun Ding

BEIJING, May 30 (Xinhua) — In Washington, Cuba’s removal from the U.S. list of so-called “state sponsors of terrorism” was hailed as a diplomatic accomplishment.

However, while most of the world is willing to see a thaw in U.S.-Cuba ties after more than five decades of enmity, the delisting also raised more questions about the credibility of the very list and Uncle Sam.

To justify the decision, U.S. President Barack Obama said the government of Cuba “has not provided any support for international terrorism over the past six months and that it has provided assurances that it will not support terrorist acts in the future.”

However, such words are hardly a compliment for the Cubans, who say their country should never have been on that list in the first place. What Obama did is, at the most, correcting an obvious err.

Abundant evidence showed that Washington seemed to lack a unified and objective standard for picking candidates for the list. And the designation of so-called “state sponsors of terrorism” is often self-serving, optional and inconstant.

It is noteworthy that Iraq was dropped from the blacklist in 1982 for the war against Iran, an adversary of the United States, but years later put back due to attacking Kuwait until once again being cut from it after a U.S.-led invasion to the country that removed then Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

Drawing from the capricious pattern, the conclusion is evident — the list is a political tool driven by the Cold War mindset and its criteria can be tampered at any time as long as it serves its own needs.

But at least the United States is consistent with one thing — its list targets only what it deems as its adversaries.

As for Cuba, the Caribbean island that has been long suffering from U.S. embargo, the terrorism designation was just another scar inflicted by Washington’s enimty, injustice and arrogance.

Driven by urgent political needs, in late 2014 Obama changed course to pursue a thaw in relations with Cuba ensued by four rounds of talks held in past months in a bid to restore diplomatic relations and re-open embassies.

Ignoring a deep divide and a host of thorny issues between the two countries, Obama apparently fixed his eyes on the short-term gains for his political legacy.

On the other hand, the removal would not bring much tangible benefit to the Cuban as most bans on exports and foreign aid will remain in place as a result of other U.S. sanctions on trade and arms.