US imposes travel ban, sanctions on Cuba

Washington: The United States on Wednesday imposed new sanctions on Cuba including limitations on travel to the Latin American nation.

The new measures restricted Cuba’s border policies and allowed exiles to sue for properties seized by the former Fidel Castro-led Cuban government, The Washington Post reported.

In addition, the United States also announced new limits on the amount of money Cuban Americans can send to relatives on the island at USD 1,000 per person.

The measures have been taken in an attempt to oust Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and pressurize all those countries, including Cuba and Nicaragua that support his regime.

“The Department of the Treasury will implement further regulatory changes to restrict non-family travel to Cuba. These new measures will help steer Americans dollars away from the Cuban regime,” The Hill quoted US national security adviser John Bolton as saying.

Addressing a gathering in Miami on the 58th anniversary of the failed 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion, Bolton said that many Cubans in Venezuela are actually military and intelligence agents who control Venezuela’s military and keep Maduro in power.

Earlier in the day, US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo had stated that Washington will allow the U.S. citizens to sue foreign businesses using property seized during the 1959 Cuban revolution.

On April 12, the US Treasury imposed sanctions on Venezuela’s state oil company, as well as companies and ships carrying Venezuelan oil to Cuba.

The upcoming changes will significantly influence the US’ diplomatic ties with Cuba that was normalised during the former Obama regime.

In his statement, Bolton also said that the socialist governments of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela, Miguel Díaz-Canel in Cuba and Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua are “beginning to crumble.”

“The walls are closing in,” Bolton said of U.S. pressure against Maduro.

“There is no turning back. The people will prevail. And when they do, we know that Cuba will be next. And soon after, we pray, the third member of the Troika, Nicaragua, will also, at last, be free,” he added.

Venezuela is currently facing a political and economic crisis, which has been worsened by blackouts and an acute shortage of water and medicines.

The U.S. has recognised National Assembly leader Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s interim president and tightened sanctions on the country over the past few months.