US designates Cuba as ‘State Sponsor of Terrorism’

The US has added Cuba to the list of “State Sponsor of Terrorism”, a move that might constrain the incoming Joe Biden administration’s efforts to reshape relations with Havana.

The State Department said in a statement on Monday that it had designated Cuba as “a State Sponsor of Terrorism” for “repeatedly providing support for acts of international terrorism in granting safe harbour to terrorists”, reports Xinhua news agency.

US media had reported that the administration of outgoing President Donald Trump considered returning Cuba to the list before leaving office.

In a tweet on December 30, 2020, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said: “I denounce Sec of State Pompeo maneuvers to include Cuba in the list of States sponsoring terrorism to please the anti-Cuban minority in Florida.

“US grants shelter and impunity to terrorist groups acting against Cuba from that territory.”

Cuba had been put 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 has 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.