On Monday, the Trump administration reassigned Cuba as a “state sponsor of terrorism,” a move that hit the country with new sanctions shortly before President-elect Joe Biden took office.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the move, citing in particular Cuba’s continued hiding from American fugitives, as well as his support for Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro.
The ruling is one of the latest in a series of recent moves by the Trump administration before Biden took office on Jan. 20.
Removing Cuba from the blacklist was one of President Barack Obama̵
As with Iran, Trump has tried to change many of Obama’s decisions regarding Cuba. He took a firm stand on Havana and lifted many of the sanctions that the Obama administration had eased or lifted after the resumption of full diplomatic relations in 2015.
Ever since Trump took office, following a campaign that attacked Obama’s actions to normalize relations with Cuba, ties have become increasingly strained.
In addition to the attack on Cuba in support of Maduro, the Trump administration also speculates that Cuba may have been behind or may have carried out alleged attacks that left dozens of U.S. diplomats in Havana with brain injuries starting in late 2016. .
However, few American allies believe that Cuba remains a sponsor of international terrorism, arguing either with a definition based on support for Maduro or by simply rejecting US claims that the Cuban authorities are financing or directing international terrorist attacks.
Nevertheless, the Trump administration has pursued an antagonistic policy toward Cuba, constantly increasing restrictions on flights, trade, and financial transactions between the United States and the island.
Recent sanctions imposed by the Trump administration include major restrictions that will ban most travel from the United States to Cuba and the transfer of money between the two countries, a significant source of income for Cubans who have relatives in the United States.
Removing Obama from Cuba from the list of “state sponsors of terrorism” was the main goal of Trump, Pompeo and other Cuban hawks in the current administration. Former National Security Adviser John Bolton was a staunch supporter of the reinstatement of sanctions.
More details coming soon …