US National Security Adviser John Bolton unveils new sanctions to pressure Cuba, Venezuela

In this file photo taken on January 28, 2019, US National Security Adviser John Bolton speaks during a briefing in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC. (Photo by AFP)

US National Security Adviser John Bolton has announced a series of new sanctions against Cuba and Venezuela as the Donald Trump administration is seeking to boost pressure on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and the countries that support him.

Bolton, in a speech to an association of veterans of the failed 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion on Wednesday, said the US was adding five names linked to Cuba's military and intelligence services to its sanctions blacklist, including the military-owned airline Aerogaviota.

He said Washington planned new limits on remittances to Cuba and changes to end the use of transactions that allow Havana to circumvent sanctions and obtain access to hard currency. He also announced new sanctions on Venezuela's central bank to block its access to US dollars.

"Under this administration, we don’t throw dictators lifelines. We take them away," Bolton said.
The announcement of the new sanctions came just hours after the Trump administration said 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.

The major policy shift, announced by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, could draw hundreds of thousands of legal claims worth tens of billions of dollars. It is intended to intensify pressure on Havana at a time Washington is demanding an end to Cuban support for Venezuela's Maduro.