Rex Tillerson, nominated for United States Secretary of State, said on Wednesday that President-elect Donald Trump will make a “bottom-up review” of the bilateral relationship with Cuba, including the decision of Barack Obama to withdraw the country from the list of States sponsoring terrorism.
That effort will include a “comprehensive review of executive orders” adopted by the current US president, Barack Obama. The new State Department will carefully review the criteria by which Cuba was eliminated from the list of states sponsoring terrorism and if that decision was appropriate.
In April 2015, Obama ordered removing Cuba from the list of states sponsoring terrorism, prepared annually by the Department of State and in which the island remained since 1982, which implied sanctions such as a ban on weapon sales and economic aid.
For years the Cuban government demanded to be taken out of the list, since they believed it was imperative for the progress of bilateral relations that both countries began in late 2014.
The US reasons to keep Cuba on the list for so many years were its alleged asylum to members of the Basque terrorist organization ETA and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), in addition to some fugitives from US justice.
Tillerson stressed that “the United States cannot ignore the law” and must comply with measures such as the Helms-Burton Act, which established the embargo in 1996 and stipulated that economic restrictions must remain in force until Cuba meets certain conditions, such as Castro family stepping out of the political arena.
Our recent relationship with the Government of Cuba was not accompanied by any significant concessions in terms of human rights. We have not made them accountable for their behavior. Their leaders received a lot while their people received little,”
said Tillerson at the beginning of the confirmation hearing.
These statements fit with the line adopted towards Cuba by President-elect Trump, who in late November threatened to end the diplomatic approach to Cuba unless the Cuban government signed “a better deal” with him.