Trump Administration Declares Cuba a State Sponsor of Terrorism
Ronald Reagan had placed the country on the list in 1982, but it was removed in 2015 by Barack Obama.
On Monday, the Trump administration declared Cuba a state sponsor of terrorism.
"The Trump Administration has been focused from the start on denying the Castro regime the resources it uses to oppress its people at home, and countering its malign interference in Venezuela and the rest of the Western Hemisphere," said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a statement. "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."
Cuba was placed on the list of state sponsors of terrorism in 1982 under President Ronald Reagan, but was removed in 2015 by President Barack Obama as part of a normalization of relations between the U.S. and Cuba.
Many criticized the decision made by the Trump administration. "There is no compelling, factual basis to merit the designation,"said Ric Herrero, executive director of the Cuba Study Group, a Washington, D.C.–based organization that supports engagement with the country. "Instead it appears to be another shameless, last-ditch effort to hamstring the foreign policy of the incoming Biden administration and set the stage for the next election in Florida, all at the expense of the Cuban people and relations between our countries."
The process to remove Cuba from the list is complex and can take months once started; the Biden administration would have to certify to Congress that there has been a fundamental change in leadership and that the Cuban government is not supporting acts of international terrorism, has not done so for the previous six months, and will not do so in the future.
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez tweeted about the decision as well. "We condemn the US announced hypocritical and cynical designation of #Cuba as a State sponsoring terrorism," he wrote. "The US political opportunism is recognized by those who are honestly concerned about the scourge of terrorism and its victims."
Iran, North Korea, and Syria are also on the list of state sponsors of terrorism. The Trump administration removed Sudan from the list last month shortly after they agreed to formally recognize Israel.