Tue, 11 May 2021

Trump in final days reverses Obama's U.S.-Cuba rapprochement

Voice of America
12 Jan 2021, 16:28 GMT+10

The Trump administration redesignated Cuba as a "state sponsor of terrorism" Monday, just nine days before U.S. President Donald Trump leaves office.

The move places new sanctions on Cuba shortly before President-elect Joe Biden takes office and could complicate any efforts by the incoming Biden administration to revive Obama-era detente with Havana.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the designation Monday, citing Cuba's continued harboring of U.S. fugitives, its refusal to extradite Colombian rebels, as well as its support for Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro.

The designation reimposes major restrictions on Cuba, including barring most travel between Cuba and the United States, as well as the transfer of money between the two countries.

Vintage cars drive on the seafront boulevard El Malecon in Havana

Vintage cars drive on the seafront boulevard El Malecon in Havana, Cuba, December 29, 2020.

"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," Pompeo said in a statement Monday.

Trump has clamped down on Cuba since coming to power in 2017, working to reverse former President Barack Obama's efforts at rapprochement. Obama formally removed Cuba from the terrorism list in 2015, a step toward restoring diplomatic ties with Havana that same year.

Since Trump came to power, he has steadily increased restrictions on flights, trade and financial transactions between Washington and Havana.

Cuba has repeatedly refused to turn over U.S. fugitives that have been granted asylum, including Joanne Chesimard, who fled a New Jersey prison following her conviction for killing a New Jersey state trooper in the 1970s.

Cuba has a long-standing alliance with Maduro, and the two countries cooperate on trade and travel. Cuba has denied charges that it is involved in security operations in Venezuela.

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