Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the step, citing in particular Cuba's continued harboring of US fugitives, its refusal to extradite a coterie of Colombian guerrilla commanders as well as its support for Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro.
The Trump administration has designated Cuba a state sponsor of terrorism, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Monday, reversing an Obama-era decision to remove the label and potentially hindering the efforts of incoming president Joe Biden to normalize relations with the country.
The Caribbean island was removed from the list by President Barack Obama in 2015, but Mr Trump has taken a harder line towards the country.
"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 global terrorism and subversion of USA justice", he said.
The designation, which had been discussed for years, is one of several last-minute foreign policy moves that the Trump administration is making before Biden takes office January 20.More news: Lucasfilm Games Rebrand Revealed as the Future of Star Wars Gaming
The latest sanctions reinstated by the Trump administration include major restrictions that will bar most travel from the U.S. to Cuba and transfer of money between the two countries, a significant source of income for Cubans who have relatives in the United States.
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., tells "Fox & Friend's he worries that a Biden administration would "betray" our allies and 'help the enemies of freedom" by legitimizing dictatorships in the Western hemisphere.
Trump has reversed many of Obama's overtures to Cuba and also imposed sanctions on its leftist ally Venezuela, a stance that helped win support among immigrant communities in Florida, a crucial state in USA elections. The Castro regime has also never hidden its support for the FARC, a Marxist terrorist organization, including allowing prominent FARC leaders to march in its parades after Obama removed it from the state sponsors of terrorism list. "The US political opportunism is recognized by those who are honestly concerned about the scourge of terrorism and its victims".
Only three other countries are on the blacklist - U.S. nemeses Iran, North Korea and Syria.
Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy, a staunch supporter of Obama's rapprochement, condemned Pompeo for a "blatantly politicized designation", saying "domestic terrorism in the United States poses a far greater threat to Americans".More news: Riot Releases New Valorant Cinematic Trailer For Episode 2: Formation
The designation carries a prohibition on USA economic aid, a ban on US arms exports, controls on "dual-use" items with military and civilian applications, and a requirement that the United States oppose loans to Cuba by global financial institutions such as the World Bank and worldwide Monetary Fund.
But many of those restrictions are already in place - or have even been tightened by Trump - and a decades-old US economic embargo remains and can only be lifted by Congress.
The US is expected to site Cuba's refusal to extradite fugitives.
In making that determination, the department said several leaders of the Colombian rebel National Liberation Army remained on the island despite attempts at dialogue.More news: Newly Elected GOP Rep Apologizes for Hitler Remark