By Circles Robinson
HAVANA TIMES – The disgraced president of the United States will go out with a bang in eight days or less. In the meantime, he seeks to pardon his enablers and pander to his key supporters. His placing Cuba on the list of state sponsors of terrorism on Monday was his latest act.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who saw nothing wrong with his leader promoting an assault on the US Capitol, made the announcement. The idea is to make things harder for Joe Biden to return to the rapprochement with Cuba initiated by the Obama administration.
Pompeo apparently just discovered that several US fugitives from the 1970s and former Colombian rebels reside on the Island. Another justification is Cuba’s support of Venezuelan ruler Nicolas Maduro, something that dates way back to his predecessor Hugo Chavez.
The move is popular among many Cuban American voters who helped Trump win Florida in the November election. These same people buy the conspiracy line that it was actually communist infiltrators that ransacked Congress. Like their leader proclaims, they consider the incoming Biden government a capitulation to communism in the USA.
In Cuba, the prospect of even greater hardship is not so popular, even among government dissenters.
The usual tit-for-tat
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: “With this action, we will once again hold Cuba’s government accountable and send a clear message: the Castro regime must end its support for international terrorism and subversion of US justice.”
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez: “We condemn the cynical and hypocritical qualification of Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism, announced by the United States.”
Democrat representative Gregory Meeks said the last-minute designation is “another stunt by President Trump and Pompeo, trying to tie the hands of the incoming Biden administration on their way out the door.”
An obstacle to foreign investment
For Cuba, being on the list with Iran and North Korea means strict limits on possible foreign investment. It can also discourage companies from third countries.
The island already faces major shortages of basic foods and consumer products. This, due to a sharp decline of national production and a lack of funds to import. The government sees foreign investment as the only way to lift the highly depressed economy.
President-elect Biden says he will reopen travel for Cuban Americans and ease family remittance restrictions. He opposes further isolation of Cuba, despite the flagrant human rights abuses by the Castro-Diaz Canel government.