Monday, 18 January, 2021


Trump returns Cuba to US list of state sponsors of terrorism

Donald Trump Donald Trump
Bennie Garza | 12 January, 2021, 04:03

Obama's decision to formally remove Cuba from the terrorism list in 2015 was an important step toward restoring diplomatic ties that year.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on January 11 that the US government had been focused from the start on denying the Castro regime the resources it uses to "oppress its people at home, and countering its malign interference in Venezuela and the rest of the Western Hemisphere".

The Trump administration is designating Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism, in a move that will return the island nation to the pariah list from which it was removed almost five years ago.

"With this action, we will once again hold Cuba's government accountable and send a clear message: the Castro regime must end its support for worldwide terrorism and subversion of USA justice", he said.

US President-elect Joe Biden suggested in his election campaign a willingness to improve the bilateral ties by removing Trump's sanctions on Cuba.

Cuba's place on the list will require a formal review that could take months, analysts say.

Republican Trump has clamped down on Cuba since coming to power in 2017, tightening restrictions on U.S.travel and remittances to Cuba and imposing sanctions on shipments of Venezuelan oil to the island.

As he has with Iran, Trump has sought to reverse many of Obama's decisions involving Cuba. The Castro regime has also never hidden its support for the FARC, a Marxist terrorist organization, including allowing prominent FARC leaders to march in its parades after Obama removed it from the state sponsors of terrorism list.

With nine days left in office, President Donald Trump's administration pointed to Cuba's ties with Colombian rebels and Venezuela's leftist government and its welcome to several United States fugitives.

The latest sanctions put Cuba alongside North Korea, Syria and Iran as the only foreign nations deemed state sponsors of terrorism. "The US political opportunism is recognized by those who are honestly concerned about the scourge of terrorism and its victims".

Sen. Patrick Leahy blasted the move, saying "This blatantly politicized designation makes a mockery of what had been a credible, objective measure of a foreign government's active support for terrorism".

An empty street near the Havana Capitol, in Cuba in May 2020.

The designation carries a prohibition on USA economic aid, a ban on US arms exports, controls on "dual-use" items with military and civilian applications, and a requirement that the United States oppose loans to Cuba by global financial institutions such as the World Bank and worldwide Monetary Fund.

The US is expected to site Cuba's refusal to extradite fugitives.

In the case of the Colombian rebel group, Cuba rejected the extradition of the leaders who were negotiating with Colombian President Iván Duque, whose peace efforts ended in 2019 after a bomb attack by the group in Bogotá.

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