President Donald Trump is adding Cuba to the State Sponsors of Terrorism list before leaving office, according to a press release.
The designation was announced by the State Department Monday, just nine days before President-elect Joe Biden is sworn into office. The small island nation to the south of Florida was previously on the list until being removed in 2015 by President Barack Obama.
Obama made the move as part of a policy of thawing relations with the socialist Cuban government. The decision of Trump’s State Department to reverse course could hamper plans Biden has to continue the Obama-era approach, according to the Washington Post.
Biden has promised he’d undo Trump’s Cuba policies and return to a less hostile stance like that of the Obama administration, NBC reported.
The U.S. economic embargo of Cuba prevents most Americans from visiting or engaging in business with the island, but being added to the state sponsors of terrorism list will shut down some relationships between the Cuban government and other third parties, according to the Post.
“We condemn a unilateral, absurd, hypocritical and unjust maneuver of the US administration to include Cuba in their list of state sponsors of terrorism,” Cuban President Manuel Diaz-Canel said at the end of 2020, before the move was made official. (RELATED: Scientific Panel Backs Theory That Cuba Attacked US Diplomats)
We condemn a unilateral, absurd, hypocritical and unjust maneuver of the US administration to include Cuba in their list of state sponsors of terrorism. This administration protects terrorist groups acting against #Cuba. #LivingCuba https://t.co/pAqKbP6lez
— Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez (@DiazCanelB) December 31, 2020
The Obama administration re-established diplomatic ties shortly before leaving office, but Trump has reinstated many of the previously-existing restrictions on the country over his four years in the White House.
The Trump administration has accused Cuba of working with socialist Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro and of harboring fugitives wanted by the U.S. government. The State Department also cites Cuba’s refusal to extradite 10 Colombian militants accused of killing 22 people in a car bombing back to Bogota as justification for the terror designation.
With Cuba added, the list grows to four countries, also including Iran, North Korea and Syria.