The Trump administration has put Cuba back on the U.S. list of terrorist sponsoring countries, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday. This decision will complicate the efforts of the new administration to revive the Havana approach promoted by the Obama administration.
In 2015, the Democrat, for whom President-elect Joe Biden was an MP, officially removed the island from the list, a major step in restoring diplomatic ties. According to a source heard by Reuters news agency, the Trump and Pompeo movement comes after months of legal scrutiny of the matter, during which experts questioned whether the act was justified.
Thus, lengthy deliberation would be required for Biden to rescind the designation.
“With this measure, we will again hold the Cuban government accountable and send a clear message: the Castro regime must end its support for international terrorism and the subversion of American justice,” said Pompeo, head of the United States. US diplomacy, in a statement. communicated.
Since coming to power in 2017, Trump has sought to crack down on Cuba by tightening restrictions on travel and remittances from the United States to the island and imposing sanctions on shipments of Venezuelan oil.
The tough politics with Havana is popular with Cuban Americans in South Florida and helped the Republican win the state in the November election, though he lost the general election to Biden.
During the campaign, the Democrat said he would quickly overturn Trump’s decisions for Cuba because “they have harmed the people and have done nothing to promote democracy and human rights.”
Besides Cuba, Iran and North Korea are other countries which are among the priorities of the new administration in the field of foreign policy. Also on Monday, the Trump administration called the Houthi movement in Yemen a terrorist organization, a designation the UN condemned because of the repercussions on peace negotiations and efforts to tackle the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis.
The move was intended to please Saudi Arabia, which is fighting the Houthis, who are themselves linked to Iran.
After Pompeo’s announcement about Cuba, the island’s chancellor Bruno Rodríguez wrote on Twitter that the United States encourages “political opportunism”. “The political expediency of this action is recognized by anyone who has honest concern about the scourge of terrorism and its victims,” he said.
With nine days to go to the end of his term, Trump maintains a steady stream of announcements of last-minute action against targets like Venezuela and Iran, and Biden aides have said some of these measures appear intended to tie the hands of the Democrat when he takes office on January 20. According to one of these assistants, the transition team follows and reviews each of the maneuvers.
Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy, a staunch supporter of the Obama rapprochement, condemned Pompeo for announcing a “blatantly politicized designation” and said “domestic terrorism in the United States poses a far greater threat to Americans” – a reference to the vandals who invaded the United States. Congress last Wednesday (6).
The return of Havana to the American list of terrorist sponsors has symbolic weight, although it is not known what practical impact this decision will have. The designation includes economic prohibitions, such as the veto to receive financial assistance from the United States and Washington’s opposition to loans to the island by international financial institutions, such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
But many of those restrictions are already in place – or have even been enforced by Trump – and an economic embargo that can only be lifted by Congress has been in place for decades.
According to the US government, the designation is due to “repeated acts of support for international terrorism,” as the island is home to fugitives from the United States and Colombian leaders linked to the guerrillas. He also tells Washington that Havana is close to the Nicolás Maduro dictatorship in Venezuela.