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US Sanctions Venezuela and Cuba, Threatens Nicaragua


FILE - U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton gestures while speaking to the media in Tbilisi, Georgia, Oct. 26, 2018.

The White House is threatening to hit Nicaragua with sanctions after announcing new restrictions against Venezuela and Cuba Thursday, calling the three nations a "troika of tyranny."

Speaking in Miami Thursday, National Security Advisor John Bolton said the United States "will no longer appease dictators and despots near our shores in this hemisphere.”

Bolton likened the leaders of their nations -- Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela, Raul Castro of Cuba, and Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua -- to the bumbling comedy team The Three Stooges.

"These tyrants fancy themselves strongmen, revolutionaries, icons, and luminaries. In reality, they are clownish pitiful figures more akin to Larry, Curly, and Moe," Bolton said.

The new sanctions against Venezuela target the country's gold market, banning U.S. citizens and companies from doing any gold-related business with Venezuela.

The United States has accused Maduro of illegally exporting more than 21 metric tons of gold to Turkey to avoid previous U.S. sanctions.

Bolton blamed Cuba for boosting the Maduro government in Venezuela, where a failing economy has led to hyperinflation, severe shortages of basic goods, and a total collapse of democracy.

He said the United States has added another two dozen Cuban entities to the list of entities who are also prohibited from doing business with Americans.

Bolton also warned Ortega against continuing his violent deadly crackdown on the opposition.

The U.S. has already slapped sanctions on several senior Nicaraguan officials over the violence and alleged corruption.