THE WHITE HOUSE – National Security Adviser John Bolton on Wednesday issued new sanctions against Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, which he calls “the troika of tyranny.”
During a luncheon at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Fla., with members of the Bay of Pigs Veterans Association, Bolton also said that the United States is adding five Cuban-linked companies to its sanctions blacklist, including Aerogaviota airlines.
The security adviser chided the three target countries’ leaders, saying, “Under this administration, we don’t throw dictators lifelines. We take them away.”
In contrast to the policies of former President Barack Obama, which has sought to open ties with the United States and Cuba, Bolton said, “In no uncertain terms, the Obama administration’s policies toward Cuba have enabled the Cuban colonization of Venezuela today.”
To put pressure on Venezuela and Nicaragua, Bolton announced that the Treasury Department will sanction the Central Bank of Venezuela and the Corporative Bank of Nicaragua.
Venezuela’s bank allegedly has been helping the Nicolás Maduro regime to sell gold for hard currencies, and the Nicaraguan bank is accused of being a “slush fund” used by former President Daniel Ortega.
“These steps against the Central Bank of Venezuela should be a strong warning to all foreign actors, including Russia, against deploying military units in Venezuela to shore up the Maduro regime,” Bolton said.
In conjunction with Bolton’s announcement, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Trump administration will lift a longtime ban barring U.S. citizens from filing lawsuits against foreign companies that use properties seized by Cuba’s Communist government since the Cuban 1959 revolution.
The policy shift is likely to invite hundreds of thousands of legal claims worth tens of billions of dollars.
“It’s a watershed moment,” Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart (R-Fla.) said at the luncheon, according to published reports. “If you are not trafficking in stolen property, you have nothing to fear … but if you are, it is going to cost you dearly.”