The Trump administration’s placement of Cuba on the blacklist of countries supporting terrorism has sparked outrage and condemnation from a number of countries, including Russia, Venezuela, China and Iran.
Does Donald Trump practice a scorched earth policy to embarrass his successor? On January 11, nine days from the end of its mandate, its administration decided to deal a final blow to Cuba by placing the socialist island again on the blacklist of countries supporting terrorism, from which it had been withdrawn. in 2015 by Barack Obama, of which Joe Biden was the vice-president.
This last-minute decision by Donald Trump was deemed “unfounded” and strongly condemned by many international observers including senior politicians from Iran, China, Russia and of course Latin America.
As soon as the announcement made by Mike Pompeo, the Cuban president expressed his “firm and absolute” condemnation. “At the height of cynicism, terrorists and immoral members of the Trump administration accuse us of sponsoring terrorism,” Miguel Diaz-Canel wrote on his Twitter account. He stressed that the American blockade on his country was “state terrorism”.
Russia reacted on January 15 through the voice of the spokesperson for diplomacy, who condemned “a non-constructive approach”. “It is absolutely heinous to accuse Cuba of providing refuge to Colombian rebels of the National Liberation Army [ELN]», Detailed Maria Zakharova during her weekly briefing.
“No good deed goes unpunished”, quipped Russian diplomacy
Because in his announcement of January 11, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had cited as an argument the refusal of Cuba to extradite, at the request of Colombia from Ivan Duque, representatives of the ELN present in Havana. in the framework of peace negotiations since May 2018. Cuba, which in 2016 was the architect of the fruitful peace talks between the Colombian government and the former rebel army of the FARC, had indeed been the host of these new negotiations . These talks were interrupted by an ELN attack on a Bogota police academy in January 2019 that killed 22 people, following which Colombia demanded from Cuba the detention and extradition of the delegation of the ELN present on the island. Havana, which had condemned the attack, nevertheless refused the extradition, because it involved the incarceration of these peace negotiators, which would constitute a betrayal of its role in the talks. The protocol of the talks provided for, in the event of a breakdown in the dialogue, the return of these leaders to the guerrilla camps in Colombia.
It is the United States of America that supports many terrorist organizations
The spokesperson for Russian diplomacy therefore did not fail to recall Cuba’s role in this affair. “It turns out that Cuba is being punished for its efforts to promote dialogue, peaceful resolution of the conflict and national reconciliation” in Colombia, said Maria Zakharova, who stressed in this regard that Cuba’s role was “recognized by the US State Department itself ”. “According to this kind of foreign policy logic, as they say, no good deed goes unpunished. This is the dominant logic in Washington, ”added the Russian diplomat.
In Colombia, voices are raised to defend Cuba
In Colombia, around 20 members of Congress from different political coalitions sent a letter to Colombian President Ivan Duque on January 13 calling for the resumption of talks with the guerrillas of the National Liberation Army (ELN) while stressing the significant role of the Cuban government in the peace process, and denouncing the US decision to blacklist Cuba.
These representatives noted that Cuba, as the guarantor of the peace talks, “has been consistent and reliable”, an “essential” attitude that had enabled the Cuban government to reach agreements with the M-19 and Farc-EP guerrillas in 2016. “Over the past four decades, Cuba has made a significant contribution to peace processes,” they insist in their letter. “Colombia can testify to 40 years of efforts by the Republic of Cuba to achieve peace in our country,” Colombian left-wing Senator Ivan Cepeda told The Associated Press.
For Beijing, the United States discredits itself
China has also stepped up to the plate, arguing that the United States had provided “no evidence” justifying the placement of Cuba on the list of sponsor states of terrorism. Drawing an analogy with the US ‘baseless accusations against Chinese companies’, Hua Chunying, spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, estimated that “each time they undertake such actions, the credibility of the United States deteriorates even more”.
Without showing any evidence, the #US has put #Cuba back on the State Sponsor of #Terrorism list. Just like its groundless charges & penalties against Chinese companies. Each time it takes such actions, its credibility gets chipped away even more.
– Hua Chunying 华春莹 (@SpokespersonCHN) January 13, 2021
Iran also “strongly” condemned a “baseless” decision. In a press release on January 12, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Said Khatibzadeh said his country was alongside Cuba in its “resistance against the symbol of global arrogance”. “It is the United States of America that supports many terrorist organizations,” he added.
Bishop and President of the American Bishops’ Conference protests
In the United States also, voices, Catholics in particular, have been raised to protest against this placing of Cuba on the blacklist. Among them, that of David J. Malloy, bishop of Rockford and president of the Commission “Justice and International Peace” of the American Bishops’ Conference (USCCB), who expressed his “deep disagreement” with this decision.
We need more relations between the United States and Cuba, not less relations
In a note published on the website of the American Bishops’ Conference on January 12 and quoted by Vatican News, David J. Malloy recalls that “for decades, in collaboration with the Holy See and most of the international community, the United States Bishops’ Conference has called for cooperation and mutually beneficial relations between the United States and Cuba as well as the full revocation of the economic embargo against the island nation ”. “We need more relations between the United States and Cuba and not less relations, to build mutually beneficial commercial, cultural and scientific relations, which will produce lasting prosperity for our two nations”, adds the bishop. American.
Donald Trump administration intends to undermine the path of international politics before exiting through the back door of world history
The South African Communist Party has also joined in the chorus of condemnation. The SACP condemned the United States on January 13 “in the strongest possible terms” after its decision with regard to Cuba. “Washington’s action is a smokescreen to tighten its unilateral and arbitrary blockade of Cuba,” SACP spokesman Alex Mashilo said, adding that the sanctions against Cuba were “a repeated and serious violation of international law,” which has been condemned by an overwhelming majority by the United Nations and all peaceful peoples around the world ”.
The Latin American left wind up
In Latin America, the left condemned this new sanction against Cuba. “The Donald Trump administration intends to undermine the path of international politics before exiting through the back door of world history. We categorically reject the inclusion of our sister Republic of Cuba in the list of states that support terrorism, ”Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on his Twitter account on January 11.
The Puebla Group, an Ibero-American and Caribbean organization which has more than 50 leaders and ex-leaders from 17 countries – including Lula, Evo Morales, Rafael Correa or Alberto Fernandez – also strongly condemned the Trump administration’s decision. and called on President-elect Joe Biden to “overturn the unilateral measure, which violates the principles of international law and the United Nations, and which goes in the opposite direction to the idea of an integrated and multilateral world that can respond favorably to this type of inhuman policies ”.
Making it difficult for Joe Biden
But Trump’s move could complicate the efforts of the new Biden administration to re-launch Obama-era detente with Havana. It would indeed take long legal deliberations for the future Democratic president to cancel this appointment.
We took note of these last minute maneuvers
During his electoral campaign, Joe Biden had indeed assured that he would quickly reverse Trump’s policies in Cuba which “have inflicted damage on the Cuban people and have done nothing to advance democracy and human rights” . “We have taken note of these last-minute maneuvers,” a Biden team official said, quoted by Reuters. “The transition team is looking at each one of them,” he added.
Placing Cuba on the blacklist involves numerous sanctions such as a ban on US economic aid, a ban on money transfers between the two countries, and an obligation for the United States to oppose loans to Cuba by institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
However, many of these restrictions are already in place due to the decades-old US economic embargo, and reinforced by Donald Trump. It can only be lifted by the United States Congress.
Cuba joins Iran, North Korea and Syria on this US blacklist. Sudan was removed from this list in October by Donald Trump, who rejoiced on the same day as the announcement of a normalization agreement for that country with Israel.