Removing Cuba from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism eliminates a ''tremendous, long-standing irritant'' to U.S.- Latin American relations, expert says. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
The U.S. formally drops Cuba from a list of state sponsors of terrorism Friday-- a move that could have a chain reaction in the region says Peter Hakim, president emeritus of the Inter-American Dialogue. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PRESIDENT EMERITUS OF INTER-AMERICAN DIALOGUE PETER HAKIM, SAYING: "It removed a tremendous, long-standing irritant from U.S.- Latin American relations. One has to understand that every country in the hemisphere, including Canada every Latin American every Caribbean county, recognized Cuba." He says the move will also help U.S. relations in South America. (SOUNDBITE)(English) PRESIDENT EMERITUS OF INTER-AMERICAN DIALOGUE PETER HAKIM, SAYING: "And I think that it does raise at least the Obama administration's credibility in Latin America that it was serious about working toward a better relationship, and it may make cooperation easier for some countries and may make, or let's say, reduce the volume of what remains of anti-American attitudes in Latin America." He warns no one should expect any immediate economic windfalls. (SOUNDBITE)(English) PRESIDENT EMERITUS OF INTER-AMERICAN DIALOGUE PETER HAKIM, SAYING: "A number of businesses, agriculture, telecommunications could in fact do very well in Cuba because there's so much to be done but this will be industry by industry, company by company. There's not going to be any big impact. " Cuba had cited its designation as a state terrorism sponsor as an obstacle to the re-establishing of diplomatic relations and upgrading of their so-called interests sections in Havana and Washington into full-blown embassies.