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Cuba hits out at being listed as ‘state sponsor of terrorism’ by Trump administration

CUBA hit out at being listed as a “state sponsor of terrorism” by the Trump administration today, countering that the island is itself a victim of terrorism financed and perpetrated by the US government.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Carlos Fernandez de Cossio said Monday’s last-gasp move by departing US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was “an insult” to the socialist island, accusing the former CIA chief of “a calumny of lies.” 

Mr Pompeo cited Cuba’s support for the democratically elected government of Venezuela and its refusal to extradite guerilla fighters from Colombia’s National Liberation Army (ELN) as reason for its relisting.

Mr de Cossio said the terrorism list was abused by the US, with countries that fall out of line with Washington’s aims being added to secure sanctions and other coercive measures.

The US has maintained a crippling economic blockade — estimated to have cost Cuba some $753.69 billion — on the country since its 1959 revolution.

In April 2020 Washington was accused of modern-day piracy after blocking a shipment of masks and ventilators from China from reaching Cuba as it battled the global coronavirus pandemic.

Mr de Cossior insisted: “Cuba is a victim of terrorism, of terrorism that has been organised, financed and perpetrated by the government of the United States or by individuals and organisations that reside in the territory of the United States, or that operate from the territory of the United States with the tolerance of the authorities of that country.”

The relisting of Cuba as a terror-supporting state is believed to be a bid by Mr Pompeo to hamper plans by president-elect Mr Biden to roll back the policies of his predecessor. During his election campaign Mr Biden pledged to reverse policies that “have inflicted harm on the Cuban people and done nothing to advance democracy and human rights.”

Mr de Cossio said that Monday’s decision was rejected by the international community and the people of Cuba, along with many in the US, including religious institutions and members of Congress.

“We insist that it is a calumny, an insult against Cuba and that the secretary of state deliberately lies when describing Cuba as a country-sponsor of terrorism,” he said.

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