Trump Admin. to designate Cuba a state sponsor of terrorism

TEHRAN, Jan. 11 (MNA) – Trump administration will place Cuba back on the list of state sponsors of terrorism on Monday, reversing an Obama-era decision and making it harder for President-elect Joe Biden to quickly revive diplomatic ties with Havana.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to indicate he’s designating Cuba because the country continues to harbor American fugitives including Joanne Chesimard, convicted of killing a New Jersey state trooper in 1973, and refuses a Colombian extradition request for National Liberation Army members linked to a 2019 bombing that killed 22.

Cuba joins only Syria, Iran and North Korea -- nations more widely condemned for fomenting terrorism -- on the US list. Cuba had originally been put on the list in 1982 but was removed by President Barack Obama in 2015 as he sought to improve economic and diplomatic relations with the Caribbean nation, Bloomberg reported.

Biden has indicated he wants to revive the Obama-era policy of easing economic and travel restrictions in hopes that closer ties and more capitalism will pave the way for democratic change in Cuba. That strategy could include reducing restrictions on travel, investment and remittances for the island nation that are perceived to disproportionately hurt Americans and ordinary Cubans.

Under President Donald Trump, the US labeled Cuba part of a “Troika of Tyranny” with Nicaragua and Venezuela. His moves were popular with Cuban-Americans in Florida, a state Trump won in his re-election bid with the help of Cuban-American refugees, Venezuelan-Americans and other anti-Communist Latino voters.

His administration had been mulling the terrorism-sponsor move for months. Two senior State Department officials, who asked not to be identified discussing internal deliberations, said politics played no role in the decision to re-designate Cuba and said several administrations -- including Obama’s -- had made policy decisions about the island late in their presidencies.

MA/PR

News Code 168398

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