The U.S. government “does not foresee” taking Cuba off the list of countries that sponsor terrorism, Secretary of State Antony Blinken affirmed Thursday in Congress.
“We do not anticipate taking them off the list,” Blinken answered a question from Cuban-born Congresswoman Maria Elvira Salazar during a hearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“There is no automatic or mandatory review (…) The law provides very clear criteria to rescind designations, there is an extremely high bar to do so,” pointed out the chief diplomat of Joe Biden’s administration.
Salazar asked him if Cuba had met the bar, to which Blinken replied: “Clearly, no”.
In January 2021, Blinken’s predecessor, Republican Mike Pompeo, reintroduced Cuba to the list of states that promote terrorism, which hinders foreign investment because of the legal consequences they could incur in the United States.
Pompeo did not link Cuba to any recent terrorist actions, but condemned its refusal to extradite leaders of Colombia’s National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrillas to the government of then-right-wing Colombian President Ivan Duque.
Colombia, now led by leftist President Gustavo Petro, has resumed negotiations with the ELN.
The Cuban government was quick to react to Blinken’s words.
“Blinken confirms what was evident: the current US government never had the intention of correcting the unjust classification of #Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism established by Trump, as it is convenient for its criminal policy of economic asphyxiation,” said Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez in a tweet.
Former Republican President Donald Trump (2017-2021) put an end to the rapprochement promoted by Democrat Barack Obama (2009-2017), of whom Biden was vice president, as a result of the restoration of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
In 2022 Washington and Havana resumed negotiations on the migration issue, in a context of record exodus of Cubans, mainly to the United States.
And in January 2023, the U.S. embassy in Havana resumed issuing visas for Cubans wishing to settle in the United States.
However, a normalization of relations with the communist island does not seem to be on Biden’s agenda, especially since the crackdown on protests in July 2021.
Washington not only kept Cuba on the list of countries sponsoring terrorism, which also includes Iran, North Korea and Syria, but also included it in another list of nations that do not respect religious freedom.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.
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