Before the end of President Donald Trump’s term in office, his administration put Cuba back on the US terrorist list. The US State Department announced on Monday in Washington. “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 infiltration of the US judiciary,” said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The move is likely to complicate the efforts of the future administration of Joe Biden to resume the rapprochement between neighboring states initiated by Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama.
Rapprochement under Obama
The Obama administration removed the socialist country from the US list of terrorist supporters in 2015. Washington had thereby removed an important obstacle in the diplomatic rapprochement of neighboring states after decades of ice age. Under Trump, relations between the United States and Cuba had suddenly deteriorated again. After alleged sound wave attacks, Washington withdrew most of its diplomatic staff from the Havana embassy. In addition, the US government withdrew most of the easing of the economic embargo. The Trump administration accuses the Cuban government of suppressing its own people and supporting Venezuela’s authoritarian President Nicolás Maduro.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs cited the reason for the classification that the Cuban leadership had “a number of malicious behavior in the region” – particularly with regard to Venezuela. The government supported Maduro in maintaining his “stranglehold” over his people and created a “permissive” environment for international terrorists.
In general, Pompeo raised serious allegations against the Cuban leadership. For decades, the Cuban government has been feeding and sheltering murderers, bomb-makers and kidnappers and providing them with medical care, while many Cubans are starving, homeless and lacking essentials, he complained.
Also on the list: Iran, Syria, North Korea
The US State Department’s push is widely seen as a political maneuver prior to the change in power in Washington. Iran, Syria and North Korea are currently on the list. The result of the list is that US development aid, arms exports and certain financial transactions are restricted for the respective countries. Sudan was recently removed from the list. Cuba came onto the index in 1982, among other things because it had given shelter to members of the Basque underground organization ETA and the Colombian guerrilla group FARC.
Trump lost to his Democratic challenger Joe Biden in the presidential election on November 3rd. The inauguration is scheduled for January 20th. In the closing stages of Trump’s term in office, his administration made several major decisions in foreign policy that set the future President Biden a fait accompli.