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International News

Trump administration declares Cuba a state sponsor of terrorism

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Trump administration declares Cuba a state sponsor of terrorism

2021-01-12 04:27:34

By K.Shalini

The Trump administration declared Cuba a state sponsor of terrorism on Monday, the latest in a series of actions aimed at undoing the Obama-era legacy of opening U.S. relations with the island nation just weeks before President-elect Joe Biden takes office. "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.”

The State Department had briefed Congress on the impending move Monday morning, according to two congressional aides who spoke to NBC News on the condition of anonymity, as they were not authorized to speak publicly.

Cuba was placed on the list 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. Placing Cuba back on the list before the Trump administration leaves office will place a major roadblock for efforts by incoming Biden officials to return to the Obama-era policy.

Reversing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s action would require the Biden administration to certify to Congress that there has been a fundamental change in leadership in Cuba and that the government is not supporting acts of international terrorism, has not for the previous six months and will not do so in the future.

The designation results in restrictions on U.S. foreign assistance, a ban on U.S. arms exports and sales, controls on dual-use items that could be used for both military and civilian purposes and the withdrawal of U.S. support for loans from global financial institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank.

Still, the move may be largely symbolic. Given the series of sanctions and restrictions already put in place under the Trump administration, it's unclear what further financial hardship the designation would present the Cuban government.

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