Sunday, January 17, 2021
Home World Trump considers labeling Cuba a state sponsor of terrorism, undoing Obama-era deal

Trump considers labeling Cuba a state sponsor of terrorism, undoing Obama-era deal


The #Trump administration is considering restoring #Cuba to the list of nations the U.S. accuses of sponsoring terrorism, an apparent effort to muddle #President-elect #Joe #Biden’s foreign policy plans while offering a potential boost for #Republicans running for the U.S. #Senate in #Georgia, several people familiar with the effort said #Wednesday.

#Such a move would allow #President #Trump to boast that he reversed a significant #Obama-era initiative and create potential hardship for #Cuba, the prospect of which pleases the president’s right-wing supporters and would be seen as a reward to #Latinos who voted for him in #Florida.

“This is like a stink bomb thrown into the wedding party: a going-away gift that is stinky but robust,” said #John #Kavulich, president of the #New #York-based U.S.-Cuba #Trade and #Economic #Council, who has been briefed on the potential action. “It’s an easy sell. #It’s one more box #Trump can check-mark where he gets to say he reversed something #Obama did.”

- Advertisement -

#In what was hailed at the time as a landmark achievement, #President #Obama in 2014 and 2015 ended half a century of #Cold #War hostilities with the communist-ruled nation, restored diplomatic ties with #Havana, eased travel restrictions between #Cuba and the #United #States and became the first U.S. chief executive to visit the island since 1926.

#Obama also removed #Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, a roster created by the #State #Department after regular assessment of a country’s actions such as attacking civilians or destabilizing other nations. The #State #Department at the time said that while it retained “significant concerns and disagreements with a wide range of #Cuba’s policies and actions,” those no longer rose to the level of state-sponsored terrorism.

#Trump, #Secretary of #State #Michael R. #Pompeo and other senior administration officials have steadily rolled back many of #Obama’s signature actions as they have accused #Cuba of being a tyrannical dictatorship, even after longtime leader #Raul #Castro stepped down and was replaced by #President #Miguel #Diaz-Canel.

They have alleged that #Cuba is a promoter of an expanded definition of terrorism that includes the anti-democratic treatment of its own citizens and ties to #Iran. The administration has lodged similar accusations against #Venezuela and #Nicaragua.

#Being placed back on the list would make #Cuba essentially an international pariah and complicate efforts of #American businesses, including several U.S. agricultural states, to trade with #Havana or of U.S. officials to negotiate with their #Cuban counterparts.

The only other countries on the list are #Iran, #North #Korea and #Syria. #Sudan was recently removed.

#Rep. #Gregory W. #Meeks (D-N.Y.), the incoming chair of the #House #Foreign #Affairs #Committee, said #Trump and his advisors were seeking to “tie the hands” of the president-elect. “They are playing politics on the backs of the #Cuban people,” #Meeks said in an interview.

- Advertisement -

#Speaking to reporters #Wednesday, #Biden’s spokeswoman #Jen #Psaki did not address the #Cuba issue. #However, she said the #Biden administration will issue a memo on the afternoon of #Inauguration #Day to “freeze” controversial regulations and executive orders, especially those issued in the waning weeks of the #Trump term.

#Reversing the #Cuba terrorism designation will probably be more difficult. The #State #Department, expected to be led by longtime #Biden advisor #Antony #Blinken, will have to refute many of the #Trump-era arguments and recertify that #Cuba is not a sponsor of terrorism.

The idea of blacklisting #Cuba has been discussed in the administration for months, especially when #Cuba hawk #Mauricio #Claver-Carone handled #Latin #American affairs on #Trump’s #National #Security #Council. #Claver-Carone, an ally of #Sen. #Marco #Rubio (R-Fla.), left that job in #September after #Trump nominated him to lead the #Inter-American #Development #Bank, and momentum for the #Cuba move seemed to subside.

U.S. officials began recently floating the action, according to people familiar with the debate, who requested anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. The #New #York #Times reported the discussions earlier #Wednesday.

#Rubio is especially supportive of the proposal. #In a recent op-ed for the #Miami #Herald, the senator urged #Biden to not return to #Obama’s “concessions” to #Cuba.

“Would #Biden stand with the dissidents and continue the #Trump #Administration’s key reforms, which have financially crippled the regime and prioritized the demands of the #Cuban people?” #Rubio wrote. “Or would he return to the failed #Obama #Administration policy of rewarding #Raúl #Castro and #Miguel #Diaz-Canel with sanctions relief and political legitimacy for decades of repressive behavior?”

- Advertisement -

#Critics of the administration said placing #Cuba on the terrorism list seemed timed to help two #Republican candidates #Trump supports in #Georgia, where elections next week will determine which party controls the #Senate. The move would allow the president and the senators to trumpet the cause of fighting communism.

#Republican #Sens. #Kelly #Loeffler and #David #Perdue have repeatedly branded their #Democratic challengers and the party they represent as socialists.

There was no official announcement on whether #Pompeo, in his last 21 days as secretary of #State, will finalize the decision. #He has been relentless, however, in attacking #Cuba, especially for its support of #Venezuela and #Iran.

#Cuba wasn’t waiting for official confirmation.

“I denounce #Sec of #State #Pompeo maneuvers to include ##Cuba in the list of #States sponsoring terrorism to please the anti-Cuban minority in #Florida,” #Cuban #Foreign #Minister #Bruno #Rodríguez said on #Twitter.

#Ricardo #Herrero, head of the #Cuban #Study #Group, a U.S. group of #Cuban descendants that favors better U.S. -Cuba relations, also criticized the move. “If #Cuba posed a real threat to US national security, this administration wouldn’t be so blithe about kicking it around like a proverbial political football to reward its cronies,” he said on #Twitter.

#Times staff writer #Janet #Hook contributed to this report.





[ source link ]
https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2020-12-30/trump-considers-labeling-cuba-a-state-sponsor-of-terrorism

##Trump #considers #labeling ##Cuba #state #sponsor #terrorism ##Obamaera #deal

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments