Reports are that among the last deeds of the Trump Administration is the push to declare Cuba as a State Sponsor of Terrorism. According to the U.S. Department of State,
“Countries determined by the Secretary of State to have repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism are designated pursuant to three laws: section 6(j) of the Export Administration Act, section 40 of the Arms Export Control Act, and section 620A of the Foreign Assistance Act. Taken together, the four main categories of sanctions resulting from designation under these authorities include restrictions on U.S. foreign assistance; a ban on defense exports and sales; certain controls over exports of dual use items; and miscellaneous financial and other restrictions.”
Such a designation would return Cuba to the list; the country was removed from the list in 2015 when President Obama tried to restore ties with Washington and Havana. Cuba had been placed on the list in 1982 by the Reagan administration. Currently, Iran, North Korea and Syria are on the list, Sudan was recently removed in the agreement to normalize ties with Israel. CNN has reported that officials have confirmed that the discussions about the designation are taking place and that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to make the designation in a few days.
Cuba’s Foreign Minister, Bruno Rodriquez took to twitter voice his objection to the proposed move. “I denounce the Sec of State Pompeo maneuvers to include #Cuba in the list of States sponsoring terrorism to please the anti-Cuban minority in Florida” he wrote.
While the move has its roots in American politics and as some claim could hinder President-elect Joe Biden’s diplomacy, the designation has much farther implications since it “…also implicates other sanctions laws that penalize persons and countries engaging in certain trade with state sponsors,” U.S. Department of State. Should the designation be made, what will become of the relationships between Cuba and its current partners and neighbours until the designation changes?