The inclusion of Cuba on the list of state sponsors of terrorism, just days after US President Donald Trump encouraged the assault on Congress in his own country, might seem like a practical joke. But it is not, and Havana takes the measure very seriously, despite considering it “a superb act of a discredited, dishonest and morally bankrupt government,” according to the Cuban Foreign Ministry on Monday. For the Cuban Foreign Ministry, the classification is “fraudulent”, “cynical”, “opportunistic” and “lacking in motivation”, and considers that its true objective is “to impose additional obstacles to any prospect of recovery in the bilateral relations between Cuba and the U.S”.
“Cuba is not a state sponsor of terrorism, a truth recognized by all. The official and well-known policy, and the impeccable conduct of our country, is the rejection of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, in particular State terrorism ”, the Government indicated in a statement, in which it considers the famous category of countries sponsors of terrorism (it was Ronald Reagan in 1982 who put the island on the list, and Barack Obama who removed it in 2015 during the process of reestablishing relations) is a simple “instrument of defamation to apply economic coercive measures against nations that resist bowing to the whims of US imperialism. “
The designation of Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism may trigger sanctions that include “restrictions on foreign aid from the United States; a ban on defense exports and sales; certain controls on the export of articles; and various financial and other restrictions, ”according to the State Department.
During the four years of the Trump administration, the United States has increased financial persecution and harshly attacked Cuba with all kinds of sanctions, tightening the embargo to unprecedented extremes. Joe Biden has already announced that he will resume the policy of rapprochement with the island implemented by Obama and himself when he was vice president, and it is expected that he will lift the tangle of measures and sanctions imposed by his predecessor – ranging from the restriction of remittances, the prohibition of direct flights and cruises, the closure of the Consulate or the elimination of the so-called people to people, the category that most North Americans used to travel to the island. Some of these, analysts say, can be disassembled relatively quickly, but others are more complex to disable, such as what it means to be on the famous list.
For Carlos Alzugaray, an expert in Cuba-US relations and former Cuban ambassador to the European Union, this latest measure by Trump against Cuba has “domestic objectives: to please a certain sector of the electorate and continue to reverse President Obama’s policies.” “In four years the issue was barely touched upon and now, less than 10 days before the end of the mandate, the measure is taken without running with the regulated procedures and without any prior investigation having been carried out.”
Alzugaray considers that it is a question of “putting the greatest obstacles” to any attempt by Biden to resume the path of normalization with Cuba. “Without the slightest modesty or political probity, Trump and [el vicepresidente] Pompeo take a measure that surely Biden will have to review, and that in fact further discredits a list that the most important specialists consider that it has been used for political purposes and that it does not contribute anything to the fight against terrorism.
The former Secretary of Energy of the Obama administration, Joe García, who recently organized the shipment from Miami of health aid to the island to face the pandemic, considers the measure “the last cry of the drowned man.” “This has nothing to do with Cuba, or with terrorism or even with national security. This has to do with the visceral hatred of a governor who was overwhelmed in the election by Joe Biden, “says García, who recalls that the president-elect has already” said that he will examine all these decisions made in an act of final desperation by a government that it has lost all legitimacy, and that it intends to harm the new administration ”.
The former Democratic congressman hopes “that the Government of Cuba will continue and deepen its economic reform for the benefit of the Cuban people: that is the appropriate response to Donald Trump and those who empowered him in Miami.” For Alzugaray, what Trump has done is so “irresponsible” that “Joe Biden and the Democrats, now that they have control of the Executive and both Houses, should rectify this decision and put relations with Cuba in the place where they must be in accordance with the North American national interests: path of normalization ”. And it goes further: “So that these situations do not recur in the future, it may be necessary to make a kind of reset and, along this path, also eliminate the unilateral and extraterritorial blockade, which the international community has been insisting since 1992 is illegal ”.