U.S. Puts Cuba Back On List Of State Sponsors of Terrorism

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Republican Trump has clamped down on Cuba since coming to power in 2017, tightening restrictions on U.S.travel and remittances to Cuba and imposing sanctions on shipments of Venezuelan oil to the island.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on January 11 that the USA government had been focused from the start on denying the Castro regime the resources it uses to "oppress its people at home, and countering its malign interference in Venezuela and the rest of the Western Hemisphere".

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday he was placing Cuba back on a blacklist of state sponsors of terrorism, a last-minute roadblock to expected efforts by President-elect Joe Biden to ease tensions. But the administration of former President Barack Obama removed the country from the list in 2015 during negotiations to normalize ties between the two nations.

"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 global terrorism and subversion of U.S. justice", Pompeo said in a statement, referring to former leaders Fidel and Raul Castro. He also referred to the idea that the Cuban intelligence agencies have "assisted Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to maintain his stranglehold over his people".

Mr Trump's hard-line Cuba policy was popular among the large Cuban-American population in South Florida, helping him win the state in November though he lost the election to Mr Biden, who was Mr Obama's vice president.

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Only three other countries are on the blacklist - U.S. nemeses Iran, North Korea and Syria. In a formal notice to Congress in that year, Obama said a State Department review determined that Cuba - which was added to the terrorism list in 1982 - met the requirements for removal.

Cuba has long denied any links to terrorism. "Cuba also harbors several USA fugitives from justice wanted on or convicted of charges of political violence, many of whom have resided in Cuba for decades".

"Nothing remotely like that exists here", the Democrat from Vermont said in a Monday statement, adding that this will make U.S. -Cuba relations more hard for the Biden administration to deal with. The ELN was in peace talks with the Colombian government but those ended after the group claimed responsibility for the deadly 2019 bombing of a Bogota police academy.

A relisting of Cuba has heavy symbolic meaning for Havana, which had chafed for decades under the USA designation, though it is unclear how much practical impact there will be. Monday's action is a capstone of that and it's likely to provoke the ire of Biden, who has vowed to revert to the Obama-era policy.

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