Ambassador John Bolton, the White House National Security Advisor, was in Miami on Thursday to give a speech on U.S. policy in Latin America. Not one to mince words, Bolton got right down to the point and called out the main culprits spreading misery, despair, and death throughout the region: Cuba’s Castro dictatorship and its minions in Venezuela and Nicaragua.
The ambassador referred to dictators in Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua as the “troika of tyranny,” a title that suits them well.
Below is the full speech given by Ambassador Bolton given on November 1, 2018, at the Freedom Tower in Miami, FL:
John Bolton Takes Latin American “Troika of Tyranny” to Task
US National Security Advisor John Bolton labelled Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua the “Troika of Tyranny” in a November 1 speech outlining the Trump administration’s determination to combat authoritarianism in Latin America. Speaking at Miami’s Freedom Tower, a US national historic landmark due to its role in housing a processing center for Cubans fleeing to the United States, Bolton declared that under US President Donald J. Trump, the United States “will no longer appease dictators and despots near our shores.”
Bolton’s speech in a critical swing state for both the US Senate and the US House of Representatives just six days before the midterm elections can be seen as an attempt to shore up Republican Party support among the politically powerful Cuban-American community in southern Florida.
Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela have taken part in “the same oppressive behavior of unjust imprisonment, torture, and murder,” according to Bolton. This “triangle of terror,” Bolton argued, “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,” he added.
“John Bolton made it clear today where the administration is headed on Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua,” Jason Marczak, director of the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center, said.
“His forceful stance is no surprise,” said Marczak. “The US government has increasingly sought to ramp up pressure on all three countries. Bolton has long favored a stronger position.”
Bolton’s harshest rhetoric was reserved for the regime in Havana, which he accused of silencing “dissidents and suppressing every kind of freedom know to man.” Bolton promised that the Trump administration would “not glamourize Marxist guerillas to promote a delusion of our own glory. Our concern is with sanctions not selfies.”
Many of Bolton’s comments were highly critical of the Obama administration, which in December 2014 restored full diplomatic relations with Cuba and opened an embassy in Havana for the first time since the Cold War. “Members of this administration will never take a picture in front of an image of Che Guevara like Barack Obama did,” Bolton said in reference to Obama’s trip to Havana in March 2016.
Last June, Trump—a longtime critic of Obama’s rapprochement with Havana—announced that he was “cancelling the last administration’s completely one-sided deal with Cuba.” Despite these words, the embassy remained open and only restrictions on American travel to Cuba were reimplemented.
Bolton explained that “the United States is enforcing US law to maintain sanctions until among other things, all political prisoners are freed, freedom of assembly and expression are respected, all political parties are legalized, and free and internationally supervised elections are scheduled.”
Bolton also assured the audience that the administration has “scaled back our embassy personnel in Cuba,” and amid reports of potential microwave strikes on US Embassy personnel in Havana, that the United States “will not allow our diplomats to be targeted with impunity.”
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