Ayyeee… What’s Goodie Everyone. So I got some tea and it involves Trump administration and Cuba.
The Trump administration added Cuba to the state sponsors of terrorism list on Monday, reversing the policy move that the Obama administration made and potentially hampering President elect Joe Biden’s ability to quickly broker a rapprochement with Havana.
The decision is a part of a series of moves by the Trump administration to push through hard line policies championed by influential domestic political constituencies, despite the complications they will create for State Department lawyers, humanitarian interests abroad and the incoming Biden administration.
Staffers working for lawmakers on foreign policy and other committees on Capitol Hill were informed of the Cuba designations Monday morning in what some described as a contentious phone call with mid level administration officials.
A U.S. economic embargo of Cuba already puts a halt to Americans ablity to do business with or even visit the communist island. But the new terrorism label could hinder commercial deals with third countries Cuba relies on to import essential goods and turn off foreign investors in its important tourism industry.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said 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 reactions to this situation are swift. Senator Patrick J. Leahy (D.VT). Said in a statement “This blatantly politicized designation makes a mockery of what had been a credible, objective measure of a foreign government’s active support for terrorism,”“Nothing remotely like that exists here. In fact, domestic terrorism in the United States poses a far greater threat to Americans than Cuba does.”
“Returning Cuba to this list is clearly a politically motivated decision, a reward to domestic political allies of the Trump administration during its last weeks rather than an effective foreign policy step,” said Geoff Thale who is the president of the Washington Office on Latin America.“We condemn a unilateral, absurd, hypocritical and unjust maneuver of the US administration to include Cuba in their list of state sponsors of terrorism,” “This administration protects terrorist groups acting against #Cuba.”Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel tweeted on December 31st.
Critics have wuestioned U.S. interest in placing Cuba on the terrorism list ahead of other countries, attributing it to pressure from the anti Communist Cuban American community in Florida.
The move is also another step back for relations between Washington and Havana. In 2014, President Barack Obama announced a historic reestablishment of diplomatic ties with Cuba, leading to a 2016 visit that inspired hopes of bringing American investment and visitors back to the communist island largely shut off from the United States. Obama expanded the categories of U.S. nationals who were allowed to visit Cuba, prompting tens of thousands of Americans to pour into Havana.
The Trump administration has accused Cuba of aiding and abetting President Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela. Cuba’s relationship with the Trump administration has deteriorated ever further. Cuba’s deployment of its medical brigades to a host of nations facing shortages of medical staffers, including Italy, drew words appreciation from host countries but stiff condemnations by Washington, which accused the Cubans of forcing doctors to work for next nothing.“We condemn the US announced hypocritical and cynical designation of #Cuba as a State sponsoring terrorism,” Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez tweeted Monday. “The US political opportunism is recognized by those who are honestly concerned about the scourge of terrorism and its victims.”