Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Cuba Declared as a State Sponsor of Terrorism by the U.S.

On Monday, the Trump administration declared Cuba a state sponsor of terrorism. This is an attempt aimed at undoing the Obama-era legacy of opening U.S relations with Cuba just days before President-elect Joe Biden takes office.

Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State, stated “The Trump Administration has been focused from the start 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. With this action, we will once again hold Cuba’s government accountable and send a clear message: the Castro regime must end its support for international terrorism and subversion of U.S. justice.”

Cuba was placed on the list in 1982 by President Reagan but was removed by President Obama by 2015. Placing Cuba back on the list before Trump leaves office will cause a major roadblock for efforts by President-elect Joe Biden to return to the Obama-era policy.

Ric Herrero, executive director of the Cuba Study Group, an organization based in Washington DC, that supports engagement with Cuba, stated “There is no compelling, factual basis to merit the designation. Instead it appears to be another shameless, last-ditch effort to hamstring the foreign policy of the incoming Biden administration and set the stage for the next election in Florida, all at the expense of the Cuban people and relations between our countries”.

In order to reverse this action, it would require the Biden administration to assure to Congress that there has been a fundamental change in leadership in Cuba and that the government is not supporting acts of international terrorism.

The results of this designation are a ban on U.S. arms exports and sales, controls on dual-use items that could be used for military and civilian purposes, and the withdrawal of U.S. support from loans from global financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank.

John Kavulich, president of the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council stated “The argument to put Cuba back on the list is for the administration a simple straight line to Venezuela. They’ve made the case, constantly, that Maduro is only there because of Cuba.” Pompeo further explained that “The Cuban intelligence and security apparatus has infiltrated Venezuela’s security and military forces. Cuba assisted Maduro in maintaining his stranglehold over his people while allowing terrorist organizations to operate.”