The United States has designated Cuba as a “state sponsor of terrorism”, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced, the latest move in the final days of the Trump administration that observers say will complicate President-elect Joe Biden’s foreign policy plans.
In a statement on Monday, Pompeo said the US was designating Cuba “for repeatedly providing support for acts of international terrorism in granting safe harbor to terrorists”. He also accused Cuba of asserting “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 US justice,” Pompeo said. The State Department had briefed Congress on the impending move Monday morning, according to two congressional aides who spoke to NBC News on the condition of anonymity, as they were not authorized to speak publicly. Biden, who is set to be inaugurated on January 20, plans to move Washington closer to normalised relations with Havana, Bloomberg reported earlier this month – including easing restrictions on travel, investment and remittances. Biden served as vice president under then-President Barack Obama when the US and Cuba restored diplomatic relations in 2015.
Cuba was placed on the list in 1982 under President Ronald Reagan but was removed in 2015 by President Barack Obama as part of a normalization of relations between the U.S. and Cuba. But President Donald Trump’s administration has applied pressure on the Cuban government and various industries in the country.