The Trump administration announced on Thursday that the US would be placing more sanctions on Venezuela to gain some satisfaction from the country’s ruler, president Nicolas Maduro. According to a report from Bloomberg, the new sanctions are specifically targeted towards the South American country’s gold base; thus making it harder for Venezuela to continue to trade with foreign states.
According to a press release from President Trump, the new sanctions are the result of “actions by the Maduro regime and associated persons to plunder Venezuela’s wealth for their own corrupt purposes, degrade Venezuela’s infrastructure and natural environment through economic mismanagement and confiscatory mining and industrial practices, and catalyze a regional migration crisis by neglecting the basic needs of the Venezuelan people.”
In the past, the Maduro regime has transferred vast sums of bullion to overseas banks, mostly in Turkey. According to a report from Voice of America, these moves were direct attempts to surreptitiously avoid US sanctions.
Although Venezuela is the primary target of the new order, President Trump’s National Security Advisor, John Bolton, announced that additional sanctions were likely to come shortly against Cuba and Nicaragua. Bolton said the two countries along with Venezuela comprise a “Troika of Tyranny.”
“This triangle of terror stretching from Havana to Caracas to Managua is the cause of immense human suffering, the impetus of enormous regional instability, and the genesis of a sordid cradle of communism in the Western Hemisphere,” said the National Security Advisor, according to Bloomberg. “Under President Trump, the United States is taking direct action against all three regimes to defend the rule of law, liberty, and basic human decency in our region.”
Cuba fired back against the United States on Thursday during a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly. According to a report from Reuters, the General Assembly voted overwhelmingly in favor of lifting the US embargo on Cuba with the final vote being 189 to two and two abstaining. While the General Assembly can put pressure on the US to lift the ban, the decision ultimately lies with the US congress.
However, the US is unlikely to lift the embargo anytime soon and has cited the Cuban government’s human rights abuses as the main reason why it still exists.
“But you’re not hurting the United States when you do this,” said US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, while speaking to Reuters. “You are literally hurting the Cuban people by telling the regime that their treatment of their people is acceptable.”
Thursday’s vote was the 27th time the UN has voted on a resolution to end the embargo.
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