WASHINGTON (AP) – The Trump administration on Monday re-named Cuba as a “state sponsor of terrorism”, hitting the country with new sanctions that President-Elect Joe Biden’s ties to the communist-ruled island Can promise to renew
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo specifically announced the move to endorse Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro, along with his refusal to extradite a coterie of Colombian guerrilla commanders, citing Cuba’s continued runaway of American fugitives.
The designation, which had been discussed for years, is one of several last-minute foreign policy that the Trump administration has been making before Biden took office on January 20.
The removal of Cuba from the blacklist was one of the main foreign policy achievements of former President Barack Obama as he sought better relations with the island, supported by Biden as his vice-president. The tie was essentially frozen after Fidel Castro came to power in 1959.
As he has done with Iran, Trump has sought to reverse many of Obama’s decisions involving Cuba. Following the resumption of full diplomatic relations in 2015, the Obama administration lifted many of the sanctions they had in Havana and withdrew several sanctions.
Since Trump took office, after a campaign that attacked Obama’s move to normalize relations with Cuba, relations have sharply stretched.
In addition to attacking Cuba for Maduro’s support, the Trump administration has also suggested that Cuba may lag behind or allow alleged sonic attacks that have caused dozens of Americans with brain injuries in Havana in late 2016 The diplomats had left.
However, some Americans, allies, believe that Cuba remains a sponsor of international terrorism, either quibbling with a definition based on Maduro’s support, or outright dismissing American claims that Cuban officials Specializes in controlling or controlling international terrorist attacks.
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez condemned the US action. “American political opportunism has been recognized by those who are sincerely concerned about terrorism and its victims,” he said on Twitter.
Rape Gregory Meeks, the new chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Trump’s designation would not help the Cuban people and would only attempt to tie the hands of the Biden administration.
Meeks said in an interview with the Associated Press, “This Cuban designation is less than a week as a state sponsor of terrorism to go to his presidency and incite a domestic terrorist attack on US capital.” Going to do.”
Nonetheless, with delight by Cuban Americans and Venezuelan exiles in South American Florida, the Trump administration has consistently increased restrictions on flights, trade and financial transactions between the US and the island.
The latest sanctions saw Cuba as the only foreign nation with North Korea, Syria and Iran as the state sponsors of terrorism. As a result of Monday’s actions, most travel from the US to Cuba would be prohibited as well as being sent from relatives in the United States to send to Cuba, an important source of income for the impoverished island.
But with the dollar-generating business already recovering from the effects of coronovirus and previous measures such as Trump’s ban on cruise ships and the cap on remittances, the biggest impact would likely be diplomatic.
“It will slow down any kind of deterioration in relations with the Biden administration,” said Emilio Morales, a Cuban economist and president of the Miami-based Havana Consulting Group.
Morales said the move would take at least a year and would require careful study by the US government. He also doubts whether Biden, who played no significant role in the inauguration of the Obama administration for Cuba, would be willing to invest political capital like Obama and in turn throw a lifeline for Cuban leadership.
Obama had removed Cuba from the list of “state sponsors of terrorism”, a major target of Trump, Pompeo, and other Cuban hawkers in the current administration.
Cuba has repeatedly refused to become American fugitives who have been granted asylum, including a black terrorist convicted of killing a New Jersey state trooper in the 1970s. In addition to political refugee status, American fugitives have received free housing, health care, and other benefits for the Cuban government, which insists there is no “legal or moral basis” to demand their return to the US .
But perhaps the biggest change since Obama’s outreach in 2015 is Cuba’s strong support for Maduro, who is perceived by a dictator whose pilot of an oil-based economy has driven 5 million Venezuelans from their homes.
Cuba has long formed an alliance with Maduro, although it has long denied that it has 20,000 troops and intelligence agents in Venezuela and says it has not conducted any security operations. However, Cuban officials have stated that they have the authority to undertake extensive military and intelligence cooperation, which they consider legitimate.
Relations between the two countries have strengthened over the past two decades, with Venezuela sending billions of dollars of oil shipments to Cuba and receiving tens of thousands of employees, including medical staff.
In May 2020, the State Department included Cuba in the list of countries that do not cooperate in the US’s anti-terrorism programs.
In making that determination, the department said that several leaders of the National Liberation Army, a Colombian rebel group designated a terrorist organization, despite Colombia’s repeated requests for the 2019 car bombing of a police academy in Bogota Remained on the island despite being extradited to answer. Killed 22 people.
Cuba has rejected such requests, stating that retaliating on the leaders would be a violation of protocol by Colombia’s government for peace efforts that broke out after the deadly bombing.
Reiterating the allegations, President Miguel Díaz-Canel has stated that Cuba was a victim of terrorism. He cited an armed attack on his embassy in Washington last April as an example. The Cubans see the Black List as an aid to the US that justifies the long-standing embarrassment and other economic sanctions on the island that have crippled its economy.
Associated Press diplomatic writer Matthew Lee reported the story in Washington and AP writer Joshua Goodman from Miami. AP author Andrea Rodriguez in Havana contributed to this report.