Trump administration adds Cuba to list of countries sponsoring terrorism

If Mr Biden seeks to revert the change, it will likely require lengthy legal discussions

Graig Graziosi
Monday 11 January 2021 23:13 GMT
Mike Pompeo dodges question about cooperating with Biden transition

The Trump administration will add Cuba back on its list of state sponsors of terrorism following a statement by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

The decision to add Cuba to the list is connected to allegations that the country is harbouring US fugitives and Columbian rebels. 

A source speaking to Reuters on the condition of anonymity said Mr Pompeo’s decision may also be motivated by Cuba’s support of Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro, who the US has opposed. TheTrump administration backed the coup attempt of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guiado in 2019. Since then, Mr Maduro’s government has re-established itself as the legally elected leaders of the country. 

The move will rollback efforts Barack Obama made during his administration to re-open and normalise relations with Cuba following the death of former revolutionary leader Fidel Castro. 

Mr Obama removed Cuba from the state sponsored terror list in 2015. 

If Mr Biden seeks to revert the change, it will likely require lengthy legal discussions. 

Donald Trump added restrictions to Cuba in 2017 by restricting travel to the island nation and imposing sanctions on Venezuelan oil exports heading to the country. 

By adding Cuba back onto the list of countries sponsoring terrorism, the US will likely harm the nation’s ability to attract foreign investors looking to take advantage of its tourism industry and make it difficult for other countries to export to the island. 

On Monday, Mr Pompeo addressed the Voice of America, a state sponsored media outlet that runs radio broadcasts across the globe, but did not address the Capitol riot or Mr Trump’s impending impeachment. 

During the speech, Mr Pompeo praised the Voice of America for its reporting and cast aspersions toward commercial media sources and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. 

Mr Pompeo suggested that commercial media and social media sites have strayed away from reporting the truth. 

Staffers at Voice of America filed a whistleblower complaint over Mr Pompeo’s broadcast, claiming forcing them into a building amid the coronavirus pandemic put them at risk of infection. 

The complaint claimed that broadcasting Mr Pompeo’s message would amount to spreading “propaganda.”

The Trump administration’s move to add Cuba to its list of states sponsoring terrorism is the latest action by the US State Department to leave Joe Biden with a number of diplomatic quagmires. 

On Sunday, Mr Pompeo announced his intention to add Yemen’s Houthi rebels to a list of terror organisations, a move championed by anti-Iran war hawks. 

A day before, Mr Pompeo lifted restrictions on US diplomats contacting Taiwanese officials, which further strained relations between the US and China, but was celebrated by Taiwan

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