Don’t return Cuba to list of terrorist countries | Editorial

The Trump administration already has made it harder to travel to and from the island nation.
People waving Cuban flags greet passengers on Carnival’s Adonia cruise ship as they arrive from Miami in Havana, Cuba. Many cruise ship companies have stopped sailing to Cuba since the Trump administration’s recent ban on some types of travel to the country.  (Associated Press 2016)
People waving Cuban flags greet passengers on Carnival’s Adonia cruise ship as they arrive from Miami in Havana, Cuba. Many cruise ship companies have stopped sailing to Cuba since the Trump administration’s recent ban on some types of travel to the country. (Associated Press 2016)
Published June 21

Here’s hoping the buzz about putting Cuba back on the U.S. State Department’s list of state sponsors of terror doesn’t gain any traction. It’s a terrible idea, both unnecessary and unwarranted. Cuba is hardly a threat to the United States. Punishing the island nation any further would smack of political opportunism and be another wrong-headed move to wipe clean Obama-era gains.

President Donald Trump and the State Department recently decided to roll back ties with Cuba because of its support of Venezuela. The restrictions ban the group and educational trips, known as people-to-people visits, that Obama okayed in his last year in office and that tens of thousands of Americans used to visit Cuba in the last three years. The new restrictions also effectively ban cruise ships from visiting the island, including the ones run out of Port Tampa Bay.

So far, Trump hasn’t said what he will do next. But there’s noise from anti-Cuba factions that the country should go back on the terror list, along with North Korea, Iran, Syria and Sudan. Trump is mercurial enough to do it. That would be an unfortunate and self-inflicted setback in U.S.-Cuba relations. Polls show that the American people overwhelming support opening up ties with Cuba. So should the president.

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