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Trump administration taking steps to designate Cuba as state sponsor of terrorism in coming days


A senior administration official told CNN that #Secretary of #State #Mike #Pompeo is expected to make the designation in the coming days. A second official confirmed that discussions are taking place, although the timing is uncertain.

The #Cuban government has already denounced the move, which is one of a series of bold initiatives the #Trump administration is taking as it attempts to leave a lasting imprint on US foreign policy with just three weeks left before #President #Donald #Trump leaves office.

#Currently, only three other nations bear the US terrorism designation: #Iran, #North #Korea and #Syria. #Sudan was recently removed from the list as part of its agreement to normalize ties with #Israel.

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#Such a designation would impose restrictions on US foreign assistance, a ban on defense exports and sales, certain controls over exports and various financial restrictions. #It would also result in penalization against any persons and countries engaging in certain trade activities with #Cuba.

The #New #York #Times was first to report that #Pompeo was considering the designation. A #State #Department spokesperson declined to comment on #Tuesday, saying “we do not discuss deliberations or potential deliberations regarding designations.” The #White #House declined to comment on the record when reached by CNN.

#Momentum to get the designation through had waned in recent months when one of the original advocates for the plan, #Mauricio #Claver-Carone — a hawkish #Cuban-American attorney — left the #National #Security #Council to become president of the #Inter-American #Development #Bank.

#However, others within the administration, including #Elliott #Abrams, #Trump’s special representative for #Venezuela, and senior #Western #Hemisphere official #Michael #Kozak, as well as #Florida #Republican #Senators #Marco #Rubio and #Rick #Scott, all supported following through with the idea — despite a lack of support from most of the #State #Department’s #Cuba desk, according to a former administration official.

“#Returning #Cuba to the list of state sponsors of terrorism has been a goal of some in the #Trump administration since #January 20, 2017,” said #John S. #Kavulich, the president of the U.S.-Cuba #Trade and #Economic #Council. “The #Trump #Administration has altered the definition of ‘terrorism’ to include the behavior of a government towards its citizens — no longer is terrorism solely about an explosion or bombing. The #Trump administration connects #Cuba with the FARC and with governments #China, #Iran, #Russia, #Syria, and #North #Korea.”

‘#Shelter and impunity’

#Cuban #Foreign #Minister #Bruno #Rodriguez #Parrilla on #Wednesday “denounced” the expected designation, suggesting it was meant “to please the anti-Cuban minority in #Florida.”

“US grants shelter and impunity to terrorist groups acting against #Cuba from that territory,” #Rodriguez #Parrilla wrote on #Twitter.

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#Since taking office, #Trump sought to reverse efforts by the #Obama administration to end #Cold #War-era hostilities with #Cuba and help to foster a new era of prosperity and growth for the country following decades of rule by socialist #Fidel #Castro.

#Trump’s administration labeled #Cuba as part of a so-called “#Troika of #Tyranny,” which included #Venezuela and #Nicaragua, and has imposed bruising sanctions and other restrictions on all three countries in the name of combating socialism in the #Western #Hemisphere. A terrorism designation would likely please #Cuban #Americans and other voters who helped power #Trump to victory in #Florida though he ultimately lost the election.

#Critics of the #Trump administration’s policies toward #Cuba and #Venezuela believe that sanctions and other clampdowns have only caused more suffering for the people of those countries, while having a limited impact on the regimes they target.

#President-Elect #Joe #Biden said during his campaign that if elected, he “will promptly reverse the failed #Trump policies that have inflicted harm on the #Cuban people and done nothing to advance democracy and human rights.”

CNN’s #Patrick #Oppmann contributed to this report.



[ source link ]
https://edition.cnn.com/2020/12/30/politics/cuba-state-sponsor-of-terrorism-designation/index.html

##Trump #administration #steps #designate ##Cuba #state #sponsor #terrorism #coming #days

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