White House Mulls Returning Cuba To 'State Sponsors Of Terrorism' List "By End Of Year"

Reuters reports based on a Trump administration source that the White House plans to return Cuba to its official list of state sponsors of terrorism, following Obama's 2015 delisting of the country as part of a broader attempt to normalize ties.

Over the past years tensions have soared over Havana's backing socialist Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro as well as the outlawed Colombian group ELN. There's of course also the allegations that Cuban intelligence or some other nefarious entity was using super sonic sound waves to sicken US embassy personnel in the recently reopened building in the capital. 

Image source: IStock/The Telegraph

"The United States is considering returning Cuba to its list of state sponsors of terrorism, a senior Trump administration official told Reuters on Thursday, a move that would mark another major blow to increasingly tense relations between Washington and Havana," the report begins.

It's not a done deal, but appears to be headed that way, Reuters strongly suggests:

There is a “convincing case” that Cuba should be placed back on the U.S. blacklist, in part because of its continued backing for socialist Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and the refuge it gives to leaders of Colombia’s ELN rebel group, the official said.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official did not rule out that a decision on Cuba’s re-listing could come by the end of the year.

It comes as President Trump has reportedly returned to prioritizing a military and sanctions pressure campaign against Maduro, recently heightening US naval presence in the Caribbean to ensure a total blockade on the South American country.

US Embassy Cuba, via Reuters

Terror designation would return Cuba to the company of Iran, Syria and North Korea in terms of biting sanctions which could be leveraged. 

Reuters notes that Cuban officials dismissed a State Department announcement this week that designates the Communist-ruled island as uncooperative on US-led joint counter-terror efforts, which many see as an initial step to eventually relisting it as 'terror supporting' altogether.