Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Trump Administration announces new sanctions against Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua

The Trump administration has announced new sanctions and penalties against Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua aimed at both ending the rule of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and weakening Cuba’s communist regime.

One of the measures will allow lawsuits against foreign companies operating on property in Cuba that was seized from U.S. citizens during the Cuban revolution, a reversal of more than 20 years of U.S. policy. On Wednesday, national security adviser John Bolton called Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua the “troika of tyranny” and said the new measures would “end the glamorization of socialism and communism.”

The measures come as the U.S. pushes for Venezuela and the international community to recognize opposition leader Juan Guaidó as interim president. “This is just the beginning,” Bolton said. “As long as the people of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua stand for freedom, the United States will stand with them.”

Earlier on Wednesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the U.S. would no longer suspend Title III of the Helms-Burton Act. That provision allows U.S. citizens to file lawsuits in U.S. courts against foreign companies “trafficking” in property confiscated after the 1959 revolution in Cuba.

Previous administrations had a long-standing policy of waiving the provision for six months at a time. But the Trump administration had signaled its intent to tighten the U.S. trade embargo with Cuba earlier this year when it renewed the waiver for only 45 days.

The new policies announced Wednesday also include sanctions on Venezuela’s central bank and a financial services provider in Nicaragua that the administration calls a “slush fund” for President Daniel Ortega.

NPR