National Security

White House to List Cuba as State Sponsor of Terrorism

Getty Images

The Trump administration is moving to designate Cuba a state sponsor of terrorism as soon as Monday, Bloomberg reported.

State Department officials will reverse the Obama administration decision to take Cuba off the list of state sponsors of terror, according to Bloomberg‘s report, which was published Monday. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reportedly plans to cite Cuba's harboring of an American domestic terrorist responsible for the death of a New Jersey state trooper in 1973, as well as communist Colombian revolutionaries responsible for a 2019 car bombing that killed 22 people.

State Department officials say the decision is not politically motivated and argue Cuba has not met the standards to remain off the list during the Trump administration.

American Enterprise Institute research fellow Ryan Berg affirmed the basis of the Trump administration’s decision.

"Cuba has provided unequivocal support to terrorist and insurgent groups throughout Latin America for many decades, such as Colombia's ELN and the FARC, to name just a few," Berg told the Washington Free Beacon. "Today, it also continues to support the consolidated dictatorship of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela, aiding and abetting what the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has declared to be ‘crimes against humanity.'"

Havana has also played a role in helping China expand its influence in the Caribbean. In November, Cuba followed the lead of China in echoing far-left talking points regarding race relations in America at the United Nations, and China covered for Cuba on its record of harboring terrorism. China, meanwhile, has reportedly expanded its surveillance capabilities in the Caribbean, using telecommunications networks to spy on American mobile phones in the region.

The move could affect President-elect Joe Biden’s approach to reengaging with the communist country, a policy out of the Obama administration’s playbook. Biden’s transition team for the Department of Defense included Frank Mora, an Obama administration holdover who advocated lifting sanctions on Havana.

Berg said the Cuba policy favored by Mora and Biden would probably require a reversal of the decision to return Cuba to the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

"A diplomatic opening with a country designated as a ‘state sponsor of terror' is a difficult lift," Berg said. "Therefore, one of the first steps to any Cuba opening would likely require a reversal of this decision."