Trump Takes the Gloves Off Against Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua

By Richard Morris & Eileen McGann

April 23, 2019 3 min read

National security adviser John Bolton announced yesterday strong measures against the three dictatorships that are exporting terror, starvation and socialism in our hemisphere. The new axis of evil begins in Havana and spreads out to Caracas and Managua.

Among the measures Bolton announced:

— A limit on remittances that Americans can send home to their families in Cuba of $1,000 per quarter per person. Americans currently send $3 billion a year to Cuba, a full 3% of the island's GDP.

— New restrictions on American travel to Cuba. While the nature of the limitation was not immediately clear, the U.S. should ban cruise ships from stopping in Cuba if they also stop in the U.S.

— Allowing lawsuits against foreign firms operating on properties Cuba seized from Americans after the 1959 revolution. The U.S. has already certified 6,000 claims as having merit, potentially totaling $8 billion in damages. The targets include foreign companies that have been operating out of hotels, tobacco factories, distilleries and other properties nationalized by Castro.

— Sanctioning the Venezuelan national bank.

— Sanctioning Bancorp, which Bolton says is a "slush fund" for Nicaragua's dictator, Daniel Ortega.

Bolton condemned the three nations as the "troika of tyranny," noting that Cuba has "trained Venezuelan security forces to repress civilians and support Maduro," whom he called a "Cuban puppet."

Russia and China have moved in to try to support Nicolas Maduro and keep him in power to counter Washington. Russia recently deployed about 100 soldiers to Venezuela, and China has lent the nation a reported $50 billion since 2007.

The insurgent president of Venezuela, Juan Guaido, whom we recognize, should warn Beijing that he will not honor debts incurred by Chavez or Maduro to China. He should note, for example, that Poland unilaterally refused to repay Russia for its loans to Warsaw during the Communist period.

The Trump administration's measures strike at the heart of the tyranny that is emanating from Havana and spreading throughout the hemisphere. Coupled with earlier sanctions recently imposed on vessels carrying oil to Cuba, these actions herald a new day in Washington-Havana relations, reversing the thaw that Obama encouraged until Cuba stops bolstering tyrannies in other parts of Latin America. It is welcome, indeed.

The Monroe Doctrine never shined brighter.

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