The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have condemned outgoing US President Donald Trump’s administration for returning Cuba to the State Sponsors of Terrorism list.
The terror designation severely hampers foreign investment and can only be removed after a formal review by the US president-elect Joe Biden’s administration, meaning it may remain in force for months and slow efforts to ease tensions.
With nine days left in office, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cited Cuba’s ties with Colombian rebels, alliance with leftist Venezuela and sanctuary to several US fugitives in justifying the adverse listing.
“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,” Pompeo said in a statement on Monday, referring to former leaders Fidel and Raul Castro.
Cuba’s continued support for terrorism in the Western Hemisphere must be stopped. Today the United States is returning Cuba to the State Sponsors of Terrorism list to hold the Castro regime accountable for its malign behavior.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) January 11, 2021
“The United States will continue to support the Cuban people in their desire for a democratic government and respect for human rights, including freedom of religion, expression and association,” he said.
In a statement, the EFF slammed the move as an attempt to continue “economic terrorism that seeks to subdue all countries that refuse to conform with the global capitalist establishment”.
“The designation of Cuba as a terrorist state seeks to incorrectly coerce Cuba into viewing the enemies of the US as enemies of Cuba. This must never be the case and no country must seek to impose its will on others through ill-conceived sanctions and economic terror,” said the party.
EFF Statement On The Trump Administration Designating Cuba As A Terrorist Sponsoring State pic.twitter.com/7B1JJEST73
— Economic Freedom Fighters (@EFFSouthAfrica) January 13, 2021
It has called on Biden to reinstate all policies towards Cuba adopted under former US president Barack Obama’s administration, including a lifting of trade and economic embargoes against the people and government of Cuba.
The party further called on the South African government to sponsor a resolution at the next sitting of the UN Security Council and General Assembly, condemning the Trump administration’s decree against Cuba as provocative and one that should be rescinded by Biden.
“Failure to do so must culminate in the isolation of the US as a hypocritical nation of imperialists, who terrorise nations through sanctions while failing to have a functional democracy as a result of the domestic terrorism that has characterised their nation since the term of Trump began, notably the racist-wing invasion of their Capitol Building.”
Cuba joins North Korea, Iran and Syria on the list, which were designated “sponsors of terrorism” on 20 November 2017, 19 January 1984 and 29 December 1979 respectively.
Compiled by Vhahangwele Nemakonde. Additional reporting by Neo Thale and AFP