President Barack Obama could be close to removing Cuba from the U.S. state sponsors of terrorism list, even as critics say the Castro regime has not been punished for illegal arms transfers with rogue regimes and U.S. adversaries.

Obama said on Thursday that he would make a decision soon on whether to revoke Cuba’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism. The State Department recommended Cuba’s removal from the list on Wednesday and asserted that its government had not supported terrorist groups in the last six months.

The potential move comes as Obama is seeking a rapprochement with the longtime U.S. adversary. Cuban President Raul Castro has demanded his country’s removal from the U.S.sponsors of terrorism list as one of the preconditions to restoring diplomatic ties.

Critics say that rescinding the Castro regime’s designation as a sponsor of terrorism would fail to penalize it for illicit weapons shipments. The terrorism designation includes a ban on defense exports and sales as well as other financial sanctions.

Despite the seizure of a North Korean ship in 2013 that was attempting to smuggle Cuban weapons concealed under bags of sugar into the hermetic rogue state, Cuba managed to avoid sanctions from both the United Nations Security Council and the U.S. Treasury Department. The illegal cargo included surface-to-air missile systems and launchers and MiG-21 jet fighters parts and engines—representing the largest violation to date of the U.N. arms embargo on North Korea. “This activity points to a clear and conscious attempt to circumvent U.S. and U.N. sanctions,” Treasury said last year. Both the U.N. Security Council and Treasury sanctioned North Korean shipping companies but omitted the Cuban entities that were involved.

President Barack Obama could be close to removing Cuba from the U.S. state sponsors of terrorism list, even as critics say the Castro regime has not been punished for illegal arms transfers with rogue regimes and U.S. adversaries.

Obama said on Thursday that he would make a decision soon on whether to revoke Cuba’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism. The State Department recommended Cuba’s removal from the list on Wednesday and asserted that its government had not supported terrorist groups in the last six months.

The potential move comes as Obama is seeking a rapprochement with the longtime U.S. adversary. Cuban President Raul Castro has demanded his country’s removal from the U.S.sponsors of terrorism list as one of the preconditions to restoring diplomatic ties.

Critics say that rescinding the Castro regime’s designation as a sponsor of terrorism would fail to penalize it for illicit weapons shipments. The terrorism designation includes a ban on defense exports and sales as well as other financial sanctions.

Despite the seizure of a North Korean ship in 2013 that was attempting to smuggle Cuban weapons concealed under bags of sugar into the hermetic rogue state, Cuba managed to avoid sanctions from both the United Nations Security Council and the U.S. Treasury Department. The illegal cargo included surface-to-air missile systems and launchers and MiG-21 jet fighters parts and engines—representing the largest violation to date of the U.N. arms embargo on North Korea. “This activity points to a clear and conscious attempt to circumvent U.S. and U.N. sanctions,” Treasury said last year. Both the U.N. Security Council and Treasury sanctioned North Korean shipping companies but omitted the Cuban entities that were involved.

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