The US administration is not close to making a decision to remove Cuba from the blacklist of states it accuses of supporting terrorism, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said on Thursday.

“We don’t anticipate delisting,” Mr. Blinken said yesterday when asked during a hearing before the Republican-dominated House of Representatives international affairs committee.

“Absolutely not,” he told a Republican politician when asked if Cuba had taken steps that would allow it to be considered for removing the country from that list. “The bar is very high,” added the head of the State Department.

Republican former President Donald Trump ended the policy of rapprochement with Cuba, which had been implemented by his Democratic predecessor Barack Obama. He blacklisted the country again in January 2021, days before he left the White House.

When he took office in 2021, current President Joe Biden promised to review Washington’s policy towards the island, but his tone changed after the crackdown on anti-government protests in July 2021.

“US Secretary of State Blinken confirms the obvious: the current US administration never intended to revoke Trump’s unfair designation of Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism because it does not suit its criminal policy of economic strangulation” on the island, was the reaction of Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez via Twitter.

“In practice, it confirms that the State Department lists are nothing more than tools of political and economic coercion, that they have nothing to do with issues as sensitive as terrorism, religion, human rights, drug trafficking and corruption.” he added.

In addition to the list of countries that the State Department says support terrorism, Cuba is listed on another, that of countries that the US State Department says attack religious freedom.

Nevertheless, the two countries talk about issues such as cross-border crime and immigration. A high-level US delegation recently visited Cuba.

Washington and Havana resumed talks on immigration in 2022 amid unprecedented immigration flows, especially to the US.

In late January, the US embassy resumed issuing visas to Cubans who want to go to or relocate to the US and meet the criteria to do so.