United States intensifies "failed policy" on Cuba with new measures, says academic — Interview


White House national security adviser John Bolton made the announcement in a speech to a Cuban exile group in Florida on Wednesday. The US has added the Venezuelan Central Bank to the list of institutions under the U-S embargo, accusing it of plundering Venezuela's assets and promoting corruption. The Trump administration recognized Guaido as the nation's "interim president" on January 23, days after Maduro was inaugurated for a second term.

"Following U.S. condemnation of the exchange, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that troops would remain in the country as "for as long as needed" and accused the U.S. of trying to "stage a coup" in the country through the threat of military action". Russian Federation says they are there to honor obligations under previous arms contracts.

The Trump administration on Wednesday undertook a series of measures against Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba by sanctions and restrictions.

On April 12, the US Treasury imposed sanctions on Venezuela's state oil company, as well as companies and ships carrying Venezuelan oil to Cuba.

The OFAC on the same day blacklisted Laureano Ortega Murillo, the son of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo, as well as a Nicaraguan bank Banco Corporativo SA.

JOHN BOLTON: The walls are closing in. Venezuela and Cuba are our allies and strategic partners in the region. On Wednesday, he called them "the three stooges of socialism". Bolton was addressing veterans of the Bay of Pigs invasion as they marked the 58th anniversary of the failed Central Intelligence Agency plot to overthrow Fidel Castro.

The move, which could deal a blow to the Cuban government's efforts to attract foreign investment, marks a further step by Trump to roll back parts of the historic opening to Cuba, an old Cold War foe, under his predecessor, Barack Obama. The Obama administration had lifted all limits on such remittances. Other countries implemented similar "blocking statutes" at the time.

The Trump administration also added five entities owned by the Cuban military to its restricted list.

United States citizens are prohibited from going to Cuba as tourists, and can only do so at present under 12 categories that include group travel for so-called people-to-people contacts, or cultural and educational purposes.

One attendee of the speech told the AP he believes the measures announced by Bolton will bring down Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel's government.

This section allows U.S. nationals to file lawsuits against individuals and legal entities from third countries that invest in Cuban territory in nationalized properties after the triumph of the Revolution on January 1, 1959.

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The Spanish government says Washington's move damages relations between Europe and the United States and will lead to lawsuits and counterclaims.

The law had been on the books but was systematically suspended every six months amid heated disagreements with the European Union.

A senior government official told The Associated Press that Madrid would ask the European Union to challenge the USA move in the World Trade Organization.

The move, announced Tuesday, breaks with two decades of USA policy on the island.

"We are determined to work together to protect the interests of our companies in the context of the WTO", the Geneva-based World Trade Organization.

"Our respective laws allow any U.S. claims to be followed by counter-claims in European and Canadian courts, so the United States decision to allow suits against foreign companies can only lead to an unnecessary spiral of legal actions", Brussels and Ottawa stressed.

That provision allows US citizens to file lawsuits in USA courts against foreign companies "trafficking" in property confiscated after the 1959 revolution in Cuba.

The U.S. accuses Havana of providing key support to the government of Venezuelan socialist President Nicolas Maduro, whom Washington considers illegitimate.

"Sometimes regimes that look alike are treated differently because in the constellation of American interest, our relationship with them and the circumstances we face is different, and I don't think we need to make any apologies for that - not this administration, or not other administrations". Effective May 2, Title III "will be implemented in full" and civil lawsuits may be filed by USA citizens against persons trafficking in property that was confiscated by the Cuban regime.

"Those citizens' opportunities for justice have been put out of reach for two decades", Pompeo said.