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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.

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
Jan 12, 2021 - World

Trump administration launches foreign policy blitz in final days

Pompeo leaves the stage. Photo: Jacquelyn Martin/AFP via Getty

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared Yemen's Houthi rebels a terror group, labeled Cuba a state sponsor of terrorism and risked provoking China by lifting restrictions on interactions between U.S. and Taiwanese officials — all within 48 hours, and with less than two weeks left in President Trump's term.

Why it matters: The administration, and in particular Pompeo, has made little secret of the fact that it's trying to tie President-elect Biden's hands, in particular when it comes to Trump's hardline policies on Iran and China.

Kaine, Collins' censure resolution seeks to bar Trump from holding office again

Sen. Tim Kaine (center) and Sen. Susan Collins (right). Photo: Andrew Harnik/Pool via Getty Images

Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) are forging ahead with a draft proposal to censure former President Trump, and are considering introducing the resolution on the Senate floor next week.

Why it matters: Senators are looking for a way to condemn Trump on the record as it becomes increasingly unlikely Democrats will obtain the 17 Republican votes needed to gain a conviction, Axios Alayna Treene writes. "I think it’s important for the Senate's leadership to understand that there are alternatives," Kaine told CNN on Wednesday.

Stark reminder for America's corporate leaders

Rosalind "Roz" Brewer is about to become only the second Black woman to permanently lead a Fortune 500 company. She starts as Walgreens CEO on March 15.

Why it matters: It's a stark reminder of how far corporate America's top decision-makers have to go during an unprecedented push by politicians, employees and even a stock exchange to diversify their top ranks.