HAVANA (Dispatches) -- Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez has condemned the "hypocritical and cynical” U.S. move to return Havana to its list of "state sponsors of terrorism”, describing it as political opportunism.
"We condemn the U.S.-announced hypocritical and cynical designation of Cuba as a State sponsoring terrorism,” Rodríguez tweeted on Monday night.
"The U.S. political opportunism is recognized by those who are honestly concerned about the scourge of terrorism and its victims,” he added.
His comments came after the U.S. administration announced it was returning Cuba to the list of state sponsors of terrorism, a move that could complicate any efforts by the incoming Biden administration to revive Obama-era detente with Havana.
Just nine days before Republican President Donald Trump leaves office, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday Cuba was being blacklisted for "repeatedly providing support for acts of international terrorism” by harboring U.S. fugitives as well as Colombian rebel leaders.
Pompeo also cited Cuba’s security support for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
Returning Cuba to the list is a further rollback of the detente that Democratic former President Barack Obama orchestrated between the old Cold War foes. Obama’s decision to formally remove Cuba from the terrorism list in 2015 was an important step toward restoring diplomatic ties that year.
He also became the first U.S. president to visit the island in more than eight decades. Cuba was first added to the terrorism list by the Reagan administration in 1982.
Now it would require lengthy legal deliberations for Democratic President-elect Joe Biden to reverse the designation.
Trump has clamped down on Cuba since coming to power in 2017, tightening restrictions on U.S. travel and remittances to Cuba, and imposing sanctions on shipments of Venezuelan oil to the island.
Trump’s hardline Cuba policy was popular among the large Cuban-American population in South Florida, helping him win the state in November though he lost the election to Biden, who was Obama’s vice president.
Biden said during the election campaign he would promptly reverse Trump policies on Cuba that "have inflicted harm on the Cuban people and done nothing to advance democracy and human rights.”