Trump hits Cuba with new terrorism sanctions in waning days

Trump hits Cuba with new terrorism sanctions in waning days”

Then-president Barack Obama in 2015 delisted Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism as he moved to normalize relations and declared the half-century USA effort to isolate the island to be a failure.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who could announce Cuba's designation as soon as Monday, is expected to tie the decision to Cuba's long-time harboring of US fugitives as well as Colombian rebel leaders, the source said.

The administration of US President Donald Trump says it has returned Cuba to the list of state sponsors of terrorism, reversing the 2015 decision to remove it from the blacklist.

The previous Obama Administration had previously removed Cuba from this designation.

"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 worldwide terrorism and subversion of USA justice", Pompeo said in a statement, referring to former leaders Fidel and Raul Castro.

The terror designation severely hampers investment by foreigners who will now risk United States prosecution and can only be removed after a formal review by the Biden administration, meaning it may be in force for months.

Mr Pompeo also cited Communist-ruled Cuba's security support for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, which he said had allowed the socialist leader to create "a permissive environment for worldwide terrorists to live and thrive within Venezuela".

Rep. Gregory Meeks, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said he would urge Biden to reverse Trump's decision.

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But Mr Trump's move could make it more hard for Mr Biden to resume rapprochement when he takes office.

The Cuba policy shift is one final hardline decision that likely will please Trump's Republican base in Florida, where Cuban Americans overwhelmingly supported him. Syria, Iran and North Korea are other countries on the list.

Cuba has long denied any links to terrorism.

A relisting of Cuba has heavy symbolic meaning for Havana, which had chafed for decades under the US designation, though it is unclear how much practical impact there will be.

Pompeo cited the fact that the Cuban government has refused to extradite U.S. fugitives suspected of committing serious crimes. "Cuba also harbors several US fugitives from justice wanted on or convicted of charges of political violence, many of whom have resided in Cuba for decades".

Cuba has received broad plaudits in the past for hosting the successful peace talks between the Colombian government and the former FARC rebel army.

"The administration's approach is not working".

President-elect Joe Biden speaks during a virtual meeting with members of his national security and foreign policy agency review teams at The Queen theater, Monday, Dec. 28, 2020, in Wilmington, Delaware.

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