Friday, June 14, 2024

United States names Cuba “state sponsor of terrorism” | Latin America News

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Observers believe that a decision in the final days of Donald Trump’s administration will complicate Joe Biden’s foreign policy plans.

The United States has designated Cuba as a “state sponsor of terrorism,” said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the latest move in the final days of the Trump administration that observers say will complicate policy plans Foreign Minister of President-elect Joe Biden.

In a statement released on Monday, Pompeo said the United States was pointing to Cuba “for its repeatedly supporting acts of international terrorism by granting a safe zone to terrorists.”

He also accused Cuba of asserting “malicious interference in Venezuela and the rest of the Western Hemisphere”.

“With this action, 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,” Pompeo said.

Biden, due to open Jan. 20, plans to bring Washington closer to normalized relations with Havana, Bloomberg reported earlier this month – including the easing of restrictions on travel, investments and remittances.

Biden was vice president under then President Barack Obama when the United States and Cuba restored diplomatic relations in 2015.

Earlier that same year, Obama had removed Cuba from the US list of “State sponsors of terrorism” – a key step in the ability of nations to formally restore relations.

But President Donald Trump’s administration has put pressure on the Cuban government and various industries in the country.

The United States recently added a Cuban bank to its list of restricted entities, alleging that the financial institution had ties to the Cuban military and that its profits helped finance the country’s “interference” in Venezuela.

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez rejected the move, tweeting that it was a “punitive measure by the #US State Department to tighten the blockade against #Cuba”.

On January 5, Rodriguez accused Pompeo of waging a “fanciful personal campaign” to add Cuba to the list of “state sponsors of terrorism.”

“Any success” in these efforts, the foreign secretary said on Twitter, “would confirm that in the United States, corrupt loyalty to minority interests is stronger than commitment to fight this international scourge.”

Ben Rhodes, Obama’s former deputy national security adviser, called Pompeo’s announcement “politicized trash designed to tie the hands of an administration that takes power in ten days.”

“Cuba is not a state sponsor of terrorism,” Rhodes tweeted.

In practice, the designation of Cuba “will penalize persons and countries engaged in certain trade with Cuba,” Pompeo said in the statement.

The decision “also restricts US foreign aid, bans defense exports and sales, and imposes certain controls on exports of dual-use items.”


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