MIAMI – The US government strengthened on Wednesday the embargo on Cuba and further restricted travel and remittances to the communist island, President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, said in a speech in Miami.
Speaking at a luncheon with Cuban exiles belonging to the Bay of Pigs Veterans Association-Brigade 2506, Bolton lambasted the regimes of Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba – led by Nicolas Maduro, Daniel Ortega and Miguel Diaz-Canel, respectively – calling them the “troika of tyranny” and the “stooges of socialism.”
In addition to tightening the US embargo on Cuba, which had been announced on Tuesday by the Trump administration, the new package of measures designed to increase pressure on the three regimes includes other “economic tools” to “end the glamorization of socialism and communism.”
During the commemoration of the 58th anniversary of the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, sponsored by the US to topple Fidel Castro in 1961, Bolton told Cuban veterans from Brigade 2605 who fought in the invasion about measures the administration is taking to strengthen the sanctions on Cuba.
Besides the possibility of filing lawsuits to recover assets expropriated in Cuba after the 1959 Revolution, the Trump administration will restrict the sending of remittances, as well as travel, to the communist island.
Bolton confirmed that starting on May 2 plaintiffs will be able to turn to the US courts to seek indemnities from international companies with an economic presence in the US for properties confiscated in Cuba after 1959 and then used by those firms for their business activities on the island, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had unveiled a few hours earlier in Washington.
“Americans who have had their private and hard-earned property stolen in Cuba will finally be allowed to sue,” said Bolton.
It is expected that in particular the measure will affect Spanish, Canadian and British firms having investments in properties or expropriated assets on the island and who will conceivably face legal action in the US along with visa restrictions.
“Anyone who traffics in property stolen from Americans will not be issued a visa to the United States. They are not welcome here,” stated Bolton regarding the activation of Titles III and IV of the 1996 Helms-Burton Act that tightens the embargo on Cuba.
The hardline national security adviser also said that remittances sent by exiles or other family members to relatives in Cuba will be limited to $1,000 per quarter and that the US Treasury Department will also “restrict non-family travel to Cuba, or in other words, ‘veiled tourism.’”
In addition, Bolton added that five Cuban companies linked to “Cuba’s military, intelligence and security services and personnel,” including Aerogaviota, will be added to the Cuba Restricted List of entities with whom direct financial transactions are prohibited.
“This US action should be a signal to all that working with the Cuban military and intelligence services will not be tolerated,” said Bolton.
“These new measures will help steer American dollars away from the Cuban regime, or its military and security services, who control the tourism industry in Cuba,” he added.
“Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua – (are) beginning to crumble. And ... the United States looks forward to watching each corner of this sordid triangle of terror fall,” Bolton said.