Updated Jan 11, 2021 - World

Trump administration names Cuba as state sponsor of terrorism

Photo of a masked police officer with the Cuba Capitol in the background
The Capitol of Cuba in Havana. Photo: Ramon Espinosa/Pool/AFP via Getty

The Trump administration has designated Cuba a state sponsor of terrorism, the State Department said Monday.

Why it matters: The announcement is part of President Trump's latest effort to force controversial policies through before he leaves office. It could complicate President-elect Biden's plans to improve relations with Cuba.

The big picture: The Obama administration lifted the designation in 2015 in a push to thaw Cuba-U.S. relations.

  • Trump, however, has undone a number of Obama-era policies on Cuba since he became president.
  • In 2017, he banned financial transactions with businesses owned by Cuba's military and intelligence services and tightened its trade embargo to force Cuba to take greater action in protecting human rights.
  • The U.S. also blocked all flights to Cuba outside Havana in December 2019 to curb tourism.

What they're saying: "We condemn the US announced hypocritical and cynical designation of #Cuba as a State sponsoring terrorism," Cuba's Foreign Affairs Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla tweeted Monday afternoon. "The US political opportunism is recognized by those who are honestly concerned about the scourge of terrorism and its victims."

The Cuba announcement came after the State Department designated Yemen's Houthi rebels as a terror group over loud objections from Congress and humanitarian groups.

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