Cuba on Wednesday warned the outgoing US administration against redesignating the island as a state sponsor of terrorism, a move reportedly under discussion that could hinder President-elect Joe Biden’s diplomacy.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is reviewing the possibility before leaving office on January 20 of returning Cuba to the blacklist, which severely impedes foreign investment, a person familiar with the situation said.
CNN, quoting an unnamed senior administration official, said that Pompeo would make the designation “in the coming days.”
The New York Times first reported that the State Department had drawn up the proposal but said it was unclear if Pompeo would sign off on it.
“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 Rodriguez wrote on Twitter.
“#US grants shelter and impunity to terrorist groups acting against Cuba from that territory,” he said, in a familiar charge against Cuban-American anti-communist activists who deny any wrongdoing.
The discussion comes ahead of the 60th anniversary on January 3 of the United States severing relations with the nearby island following Fidel Castro’s communist revolution.
Tensions finally eased under former president Barack Obama, who declared the policy of isolating the island to be a failure, established diplomatic relations and removed Cuba from the terrorism list in 2015.
Only three nations remain on the terrorism blacklist — US nemeses Iran, North Korea and Syria — after Trump last month removed Sudan.