SMA NEWS – WASHINGTON
The Trump administration on Monday announced it was returning Cuba to the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism, a move that could complicate any efforts by the incoming Biden administration to revive Obama-era detente with Havana.
Just nine days before Republican President Donald Trump leaves office, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Cuba was being listed for “repeatedly providing support for acts of international terrorism” by harboring U.S. fugitives and Colombian rebel leaders.
Pompeo also cited Communist-ruled Cuba’s security support for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, which he said had allowed the socialist leader to maintain his grip on power and create “a permissive environment for international terrorists to live and thrive within Venezuela.”
“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,” Pompeo said in a statement.
Returning Cuba to the list is a further rollback of the detente that Democratic former President Barack Obama orchestrated between the old Cold War foes. Obama’s decision to formally remove Cuba from the terrorism list in 2015 was an important step toward restoring diplomatic ties that year.
The terrorism list decision followed months of legal review, with some administration experts questioning whether it was justified, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.
It would require further lengthy legal deliberations for Democratic President-elect Joe Biden to reverse the designation