Wednesday, January 13, 2021
As one of the last acts of his administration, President Trump placed Cuba back on the list of states that sponsor terrorism today. The move means that Cuba is ineligible to receive certain financial aid and certain exports from the United States. According to reports, the move is intended to make it more difficult for the new Biden Administration to return to Obama-era policies that eased restrictions on Cuba. U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo claims the move is in response to Cuba's continued harboring of an American fugitive from the 1970s and its refusal to extradite National Liberation Army members to Columbia. Secretary Pompeo is quoted as saying that the Trump Administration is intent 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," (despite that fact that Fidel Castro died in 2016 and Raul stepped down from the presidency in 2018, although he remains part of government).
The United States first placed Cuba on the state sponsor of terrorism list in 1982. President Obama removed Cuba from the list in 2015 in an effort to improve U.S.-Cuba relations. The only other two states currently on the list are North Korea and Syria, nations for which there is more international agreement with respect to their role in terrorism.
The Biden Administration will be able to reverse the policy, but it is likely to take some time.