HAVANA - In what has become an annual ritual, the United States on Thursday kept Cuba on its list of "state sponsors of terrorism" and Havana reacted angrily, calling it a "shameful decision" based in politics, not reality.
Cuba said in a statement that the US government was pandering to the Cuban exile community in Miami against its own interests and the wishes of the American people.
"It hopes to please an anti-Cuban group, growing smaller all the time, which tries to maintain a policy that now has no support and doesn't even represent the national interests of the United States," said the statement issued by Cuba's foreign ministry.
Iran, Sudan and Syria also are on the list, which is published annually by the US State Department. Cuba has been on it since 1982.
The terrorism designation comes with a number of sanctions, including a prohibition on US economic assistance and financial restrictions that create problems for Cuba in international commerce, already made difficult by a US trade embargo imposed against the island since 1962.
The State Department's explanation for Cuba's inclusion on the list discounted most of the reasons from previous years and said "there was no indication that the Cuban government provided weapons or paramilitary training to terrorist groups."
In the past, the report fingered Cuba for harboring rebels from the Marxist-led FARC, or Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, and members of Basque separatist groups.
This year, it noted that Cuba is sponsoring peace talks between the FARC and the Colombian government and has moved to distance itself from the Basques.