Trump cracks down on Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela

The Trump administration on Wednesday intensified its crackdown on Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, rolling back Obama government policy and announcing new constraints and sanctions from the three nations whose leaders nationwide security advisor John Bolton dubbed the”three stooges of socialism.”

The measures appear likely to hit hardest in Cuba, and it is at a moment of severe financial weakness because it struggles to find money to import standard food and other equipment following a fall in support from Venezuela and a series of bad years in other key economic sectors.

Bolton declared a new cap that their loved ones can be sent by families in the United States . The new limit will be $ 1,000 per individual each quarter, although the Obama administration had raised limits on remittances. Remittances to Cuba in the USA amounted to $3 billion according to the State Department.

Washington also proceeded to restrict”non-family travel” after a wide loosening of so-called significant visits beneath Obama contributed to soaring numbers of American excursions for educational and cultural exchanges. Tourism is a lifeline of hard currency for Cuba, although details about the constraints weren’t immediately clear.

Bolton died hours after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared a new policy allowing suits against foreign firms operating on properties Cuba seized after the 1959 revolution. The United States has imposed a trade embargo against Cuba since the 1960s.

The statements were fulfilled by officials with defiance.

“Nobody will snatch away from us, neither through seduction nor force,’the Fatherland our parents won for us by standing up,'” President Miguel Díaz-Canel explained via Twitter. “We Cubans won’t concede.”

Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez called it an attack on international law, Cuban sovereignty and states that would do business with the island”Aggressive escalation by (hashtag)US against Cuba may fail. Just like at Giron, we will be more successful,” he tweeted, referring to your Bay of Pigs shore where invaders landed.

“We shall always be ready to have a dialogue based on absolute respect, but if the U.S. government has selected a confrontational route we will not hesitate to defend the benefits of the revolution in any price,” Rodríguez later stated on state television.

On Venezuela,” Bolton said Washington was sanctioning the country’s Central Bank, and also the Trump administration says was instrumental in propping up the embattled government of President Nicolás Maduro. The sanctions don’t bar humanitarian support or personal remittances and aim to guarantee reliability of debit card and charge card transactions, which are very essential amid skyrocketing inflation and a shortage of cash notes.

Maduro called the move the most recent case of”imperialist aggression.” In a nationally broadcast TV look, he stated any nation’s central bank is”sacred” and warrants respect.

“I watch imperialism as crazy, distressed,” Maduro said.

“The United States looks forward to watching each corner of this sordid triangle of terror fall: in Havana, in Caracas, also in Managua,” Bolton said in South Florida, which is home to several thousands of exiles and immigrants in the 3 countries.

He said Obama administration policies had awarded the Cuban authorities”political defense to enlarge its malign influence” round the area, including in Venezuela. Cuba has coached Venezuelan security forces to repress civilians and encourage Maduro, Bolton explained, calling Maduro”quite just a Cuban puppet.”

Meanwhile, together with the large stakes of the Cold War a fading memory, a few critics of U.S. policy toward Venezuela worry the Trump government’s position that all choices are on the table, including a military one, to oust Maduro is still an empty threat that will only serve to ignite the streets and economic tensions with Russia, compounding the misery of Venezuelan citizens.

“Honoring one of U.S.’ biggest military fiascos from 60 years back suggests U.S. coverage to Latin America owes more now to a perverse Cold War nostalgia than practical benefits for people of the region,” explained Ivan Briscoe, the Latin American director for the International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based think tank.

Collin Laverty, president of Cuba Educational Travel, said in a statement which the steps on remittances and travel threaten the financial survival of Cuban families and also the viability of tens of thousands of independent smallish businesses allowed to run since 2010 under reforms implemented by former President Raúl Castro.

“The Warriors are countless Cubans off and on the island and also the overwhelming majority of Americans that support involvement with Cuba.”

Many of the 400 or so who paid $100 to attend Bolton’s speech in the Biltmore were of Cuban descent. Rafael UsaTorres, a member of the 2506 Brigade that worked on the CIA at the time of the invasion, said he’s faith that the measures will bring down Díaz-Canel’s government, although he wished it had been done earlier.

“Today is a significant day,” the 78-year-old said. “But I feel very sad — a lot of years waiting.”

Others said Washington is not going. Manuel Menendez-Pou, 79, said that the Cuban government had seized some $63 million in land from his loved ones, after one of the richest about the island .

“The dilemma is not the money,” Menendez-Poualong with a former member of this brigade, said minutes before the speech. “They stole our life”

In Havana, homemaker Odalis Salazar concerned about the near future of remittances she receives from two kids living abroad.

“It hurts everybody and Trump is absolutely criminal, since he knows that… (the remittances) help us a whole lot,” Salazar said. “We Cubans have families there and also we all get by largely with that aid that they deliver us.”

Pompeo’s decision on permitting lawsuits lets Americans, such as Cubans who became citizens, sue nationalized after Fidel Castro took power.

Once the suspension expires pompeo stated he would not renew a pub on litigation that’s been in place for two years, meaning lawsuits can be filed starting May 2.

The Justice Department has coached roughly 6,000 claims as having merit, stated Kimberly Breier, the leading U.S. diplomat for the Americas. Those claims have $ 2 billion in land an estimated price of $2 billion and $ 6 billion dollars in interest, she explained.

An extra claims could run into the tens of billions of dollars, ” she said.

Breier said there would be no exceptions to the policy, but overseas companies”will not have anything to be concerned about if they’re not working on possessions taken from Americans.”

Companies in the European Union and Canadian businesses began to lose tens of thousands in interest and compensation, and replies were prompted by the choice and promises to protect companies from lawsuits.

In Spain, which has investments in hotels and other tourism-related partnerships on the island, a senior government official said Madrid would ask the EU to mount a challenge in the World Trade Organization.


Associated Press writers Michael Weissenstein in Andrea Rodríguez in Havana Miami and Aritz Parra in Madrid contributed to this report.