Shortly before the end of office, the Trump administration puts the Caribbean island of Cuba back on the terror list – a gift for the electorate in Florida.
Just over a week before the handover to Joe Biden, the outgoing Trump administration is once again intensifying its unresolved foreign policy conflicts. After strengthening US relations with Taiwan and declaring that the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen are terrorists, the State Department headed by Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo, who is loyal to Trump, has now put Cuba back on the list of terrorist states.
It is obvious that this step is purely politically motivated and has nothing to do with the facts. The fact that about ten executives of the Colombian guerrilla ELN are in Cuba is part of an agreement between the guerrillas and the Colombian government from 2017 at the beginning of peace talks – to interpret the Cuban government as support for terrorism is simply perfidious.
Barack Obama removed Cuba from the list in 2015 in order to be able to take a different path after five decades of failed embargo policies. It had its symbolic climax in 2016 with Obama’s visit to Cuba; Tens of thousands of Americans followed as tourists – much to the annoyance of the Cuban exile organizations in Miami that got stuck in the Cold War and their herald, Senator Marco Rubio.
Trump reversed almost all the reliefs created under Obama and even tightened the sanctions. Biden announced a return to Obama’s politics during the election campaign. That won’t work as long as Cuba is on the terror list.
Pompeo’s move is above all a thank you to the Cuban electorate in Miami, which brought Trump the election victory in Florida. But it does have an effect: A Biden government can withdraw the registration of Cuba – but this is a lengthy process that, even in the best case scenario, takes many months. Meanwhile, Cuba is sliding into an increasingly severe economic crisis. Pompeo’s internal political intrigue is directly at the expense of the island’s population.