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Caricom says US designation of Cuba as state sponsor of terrorism unwarranted

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC) — The Donald Trump administration's decision to put Cuba back on a list of countries considered state sponsors of terrorism has drawn the ire of the Caribbean Community (Caricom), which denounced the “unilateral declaration” by the outgoing administration and said it was unjustified.

The Trump administration made the announcement on Monday, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying that the re-designation was warranted because Cuba has repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism in granting safe harbour to terrorists, including several American fugitives.

However, in a statement on Wednesday, Caricom contended that “Cuba's international conduct does not in any way warrant that designation”.

“This further attack on the country adversely affects its international standing and its social, human and economic development and is another misguided action in addition to the unproductive, unnecessary and illegal financial and economic embargo already imposed on this Caribbean nation by the United States,” it said.

“Caricom calls for the immediate review and reversal of these unjustified actions taken in regard to Cuba and looks forward to the United States moving towards normalising relations with Cuba.”

The US action subjects Cuba to sanctions that penalise people and countries engaging in certain trade with Cuba, restricts US foreign assistance, and bans defence exports and sales.

According to Pompeo's statement, the Trump administration has 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”.

He said by designating it a state sponsor of terrorism, the US will “once again hold Cuba's government accountable and send a clear message: the Castro regime must end its support for international terrorism and subversion of US justice”.

The Trump administration's action rescinds a 2015 move by the previous Barack Obama administration to thaw ties with Cuba, and also complicates the incoming Joe Biden administration's efforts at diplomacy with the Spanish-speaking nation.