US committed to reviewing Cuba’s terror designation

The US is committed to reviewing the former administration’s designation of Cuba as “State Sponsor of Terrorism”, the White House said.

“We are committed to carefully reviewing policy decisions made in the prior administration, including the decision to designate Cuba as a State Sponsor of Terrorism,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at a briefing on Tuesday.

But she also noted that “a Cuba policy shift is not currently among President (Joe) Biden’s top priorities”, reports Xinhua news agency.

Former President Donald Trump on January 11 added Cuba to the list of “State Sponsor of Terrorism” for “repeatedly providing support for acts of international terrorism in granting safe harbour to terrorists”.

The designation resulted in sanctions that penalise persons and countries engaging in certain trade with Cuba; restricts US foreign assistance; ban defence exports and sales; and impose certain controls on exports of dual-use items.

Democrats blasted the action, which came nine days before Trump’s exit from the White House, as a “blatantly politicised designation”.

Cuba had been placed on the list of state sponsors of terrorism in 1982.

In March 2016, Barack Obama became the first sitting US President to visit Cuba since 1928 following the warming of bilateral relations that began in December 2014, ending a 54-year stretch of hostility.

But tensions between Cuba and the US worsened after Trump took office in 2014.

The Trump administration has increased the trade embargo, first imposed in 1962, which has banned American flights to Cuban cities except Havana; barred cruise ships and yachts from visiting the island; and limited remittances Cuban-Americans send to their families on the island.

Washington also re-instated Cuba into a list of countries that “do not fully cooperate with the US counter-terrorism efforts”.

The decision prohibits the sale or license for the export of defence articles and services to the nations contained in the blacklist.