U.S. Threatens Tighter Financial Restrictions on Cuba


Eurasia Review

Flags of Cuba and United States

Raquel Perry, Reporter

On Monday, the Trump administration threatened to put additional financial restrictions on Cuba’s military and intelligence services, for supporting the regime of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.

Over the past 15 years, Venezuela and Cuba have become close allies both economically and politically. After nearly 60 years of trade embargo, the Cuban economy is in a period of consistently low growth of about 1 percent a year, with foreign investment at roughly $2 billion, far below what it needs to spur more prosperity. Cuba’s complicity in the current economic, political and social crisis that Venezuela is experiencing has been pointed out on other occasions by representatives of the White House. Last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Cuban agents regularly conduct “attacks against the people of Venezuela, on behalf of Maduro.”

The announcement will limit lawsuits to a list of about 200 Cuban businesses and government agencies that are already subject to special U.S. sanctions because they are tied to the Cuban military and intelligence ministries.

None of the businesses have any links to the U.S. legal or financial systems, so the ability to sue is unlikely to have any effect on the Cuban economy or foreign businesses that work with the socialist government.

Some of the businesses on the list are hotels operated as joint ventures with foreign companies, but the Trump administration measure does not allow the foreign companies themselves to be sued, a State Department official told reporters on condition of anonymity.

The Cuban government, along with those of Russia, China, Nicaragua and Bolivia, is one of the few who support Maduro, compared to the nearly fifty who already recognize Juan Guaidó as interim president of the oil nation.

“The role of Cuba in the usurpation of democracy and the promotion of repression in Venezuela is clear. That is why the United States will continue to reinforce financial restrictions on Cuba’s military and intellectual services. Democracies in the region must condemn the Cuban regime, “Bolton wrote on Twitter.