The Trump administration has declared Cuba a state sponsor of terrorism on Monday. International news outlets are reporting that this move is aimed at undoing the Barrack Obama legacy of opening United States relations with the island just weeks before President-elect Joe Biden should take office. The designation results in restrictions on U.S. foreign assistance, a ban on U.S. arms exports and sales, controls on dual-use items that could be used for both military and civilian purposes, and the withdrawal of U.S. support for loans from global financial institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank. Belize’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Eamon Courtenay stated that this decision is prejudicial to the interest of Cuba and opposed it in its entirety.
Hon. Eamon Courtenay, Minister of Foreign Affairs: “I think that that is a wholly unlawful and regrettable declaration. We believe that it is prejudicial to the interest of Cuba. We believe it is contrary to international law, we do not support it in fact we deplore it in the strongest possible terms. We do not believe that Cuba fits the unilateral criteria established by the United States for a country to be designated as a supporter of terrorism so we totally disassociate ourselves with it and deplore it in the strongest terms.”
Iran, North Korea, and Syria are the only nations currently designated as state sponsors of terrorism, which requires the State Department to certify a country repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism. The Trump administration removed Sudan from the list last month shortly after they agreed to formally recognize Israel. Cuba was placed on the list in 1982 under President Ronald Reagan but was removed in 2015 by President Barack Obama as part of a normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba.