USA designates Cuba as state sponsor of terrorism

A driver steers his classic car past a wall decorated with a Cuban flag in Havana

Trump Administration to Put Cuba Back on List of State Sponsors of Terrorism Report Says

He noted that the strategy of the normalization of bilateral relations between the U.S. and Cuba, advocated by former U.S. President Barack Obama and dropped by the Trump administration, was of core interest for both nations and would contribute to stability in Latin America.

The move comes only five years after the Obama administration removed Cuba from the blacklist and normalised relations with them.

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

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the step, citing Cuba's continued harboring of US fugitives, its refusal to extradite a coterie of Colombian guerrilla commanders and its support for Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro.

The Trump administration on Monday re-designated Cuba as a "state sponsor of terrorism," hitting the country with new sanctions that could hamstring Biden's promise to renew relations with the communist-governed island.

Following the redesignation, Cuba's Foreign Minister, Bruno Rodríguez, took to Twitter to call the decision a "hypocritical and cynical" move. During his election campaign Mr Biden pledged to reverse policies that "have inflicted harm on the Cuban people and done nothing to advance democracy and human rights".

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Also on Monday, the US State Department moved to declare Yemen's Houthi rebels as a "terrorist organization".

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the move in a statement, noting Cuba's harboring of USA fugitives as well as its support for Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro.

Mr Biden's plans included allowing Cuban-Americans to visit family and send money.

But during the four years of his only mandate, Donald Trump, willingly addressing the large community of Cuban exiles in Florida, a key electorate in a key state, has repeatedly revisited the policy of openness of its predecessor and to toughen, rather than lift, the severe embargo imposed on the Caribbean island since 1962.

Cuba was first designated as a state sponsor of terror by the Reagan administration in 1982.

Providing a legal justification, Pompeo pointed to Cuba's refusal to extradite commanders from Colombia's National Liberation Army (ELN) over a January 2019 vehicle bombing at a Bogota police academy that killed 22 people.

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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 institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Despite nascent openings and increasing foreign investment since the 1990s, Cuba's economy remains heavily controlled by the government and the military.

Cuba is a victim of state terrorism and our population has suffered it firsthand, at the cost of 3,478 fatalities and 2,099 disabling injuries, due to acts committed by the United States government or perpetrated and sponsored from the country's territory, with the tolerance of official authorities.

Pompeo also pointed to Cuba's sanctuary of Americans including Assata Shakur, a Black Power militant who fled to the island after escaping prison following a conviction over the killing of a New Jersey state trooper. Syria, Iran and North Korea are other countries on the list.

Cuba was placed on the list in 1982 under President Ronald Reagan but was removed in 2015 by President Barack Obama as part of a normalization of relations between the US and Cuba.

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