While the Biden administration may remove Cuba from the terrorism list, this will require a review process that could take months.
Ted A. Henken, associate professor of sociology at Baruch College in New York City, called the designation the Trump administration’s “final symbolic gesture” towards Cuba, as well as a reward for the Cuban community in exile and Latino voters sharing the same ideas. turned out in surprisingly high numbers for the president in November.
“It’s unwarranted on the basis of merits or evidence,” he said. “Cuba is a dictatorship that systematically denies basic rights to its citizens, but it has not been shown to engage in terrorist activities.”
“The designation is politically motivated for a national audience in the United States,” he added.
William LeoGrande, professor of government at the American University in Washington, noted that Mr. Trump’s numerous sanctions against Cuba meant that the new designation would have little additional effect.
Over the past two years, Cuba has been subjected to the toughest US sanctions in the past 50 years, which have contributed to rationing and deep shortages of basic necessities like medicine and food. Its economy shrank 11% last year, according to Alejandro Gil, Cuban Minister of the Economy.
Mr LeoGrande said the designation could hamper legal financial transactions involving US financial institutions, such as a US airline that pays the Cuban government a landing fee, as banks increasingly wary of surveillance additional of these exchanges from Washington.
Banking transactions through third countries could also be affected. During Mr. Trump’s tenure, European banks became increasingly reluctant to issue payments to Cuban state-owned enterprises. The island’s terrorism designation could further reduce risk appetite.