The Trump administration on Wednesday imposed new sanctions and other punitive measures on Cuba and Venezuela, seeking to ratchet up US pressure on Havana to end its support for Venezuela’s socialist president, Nicolas Maduro.
Speaking to a Cuban exile group in Miami, US national security adviser John Bolton said the United States was targeting Cuba’s military and intelligence services, including a military-owned airline, for additional sanctions and was tightening travel and trade restrictions against the island.
Bolton’s speech followed the State Department’s announcement on Wednesday that it was lifting a long-standing ban against US citizens filing lawsuits against foreign companies that use properties seized by Cuba’s Communist government since Fidel Castro’s 1959 revolution.
President Donald Trump’s decision, which the State Department said could unleash hundreds of thousands of legal claims worth tens of billions of dollars, drew swift criticism from European and Canadian allies, whose companies have significant interests in Cuba.
Taking aim at Venezuela, Bolton said the United States was also imposing sanctions on the country’s central bank to prohibit access to dollars by an institution he described as crucial to keeping Maduro in power. Bolton also announced new sanctions on Nicaragua.
While accusing Cuba of propping up Maduro with thousands of security force members in the country, Bolton also warned “all external actors, including Russia,” against deploying military assets to support the Venezuelan leader.
Russia termed the sanctions illegal and said it plans to do everything to support its allies in Caracas and Havana, RIA news agency cited Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying.