The US added new sanctions on Cuba’s government on Friday, the latest move in a series of hardline actions against Havana in the Trump administration’s final days.
The sanctions target Cuba’s Ministry of Interior and its minister, Lazaro Alberto Alvarez Casa, over alleged human rights abuses. The measures come after the Trump administration announced that it was re-designating Cuba as a state sponsor of terror.
Cuba was first put on the terror list by the Reagan administration in 1982. President Obama removed Cuba from the list in 2015 and took other steps to normalize with Havana, including lifting travel restrictions and sanctions on Cuban goods.
Since Obama never fully lifted the decades-old trade embargo on Cuba, his steps towards normalization were easily reversible. Throughout his term, President Trump has gradually re-imposed the sanctions, and travel restrictions eased by Obama.
Joe Biden is expected to revive Obama’s Cuba policy, but the terror designation will slow his plans down. Reversing the designation requires a review from Congress, a process that could take months.