Trump security adviser unveils new U.S. sanctions to pressure Cuba, Venezuela

FILE PHOTO: National Security Advisor John Bolton adjusts his glasses as U.S. President Donald Trump speaks while meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 2, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

MIAMI (Reuters) - U.S. national security adviser John Bolton announced a series of new sanctions against Cuba and Venezuela on Wednesday as the Trump administration sought to boost pressure on Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro and the countries that support him.

Bolton, in a speech to an association of veterans of the failed 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion, said the United States was adding five names linked to Cuba’s military and intelligence services to its sanctions blacklist, including the military-owned airline Aerogaviota.

Bolton said Washington planned new limits on remittances to Cuba and changes to end the use of transactions that allow Havana to circumvent sanctions and obtain access to hard currency. He also announced new sanctions on Venezuela’s central bank to prohibit its access to U.S. dollars.

“Under this administration, we don’t throw dictators lifelines. We take them away,” Bolton said.

Bolton’s announcement of the new sanctions came just hours after the Trump administration said it was lifting a long-standing ban against U.S. citizens filing lawsuits against foreign companies that use properties seized by Cuba’s Communist government since Fidel Castro’s 1959 revolution.

The major policy shift, announced by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, could draw hundreds of thousands of legal claims worth tens of billion of dollars. It is intended to intensify pressure on Havana at a time Washington is demanding an end to Cuban support for Venezuela’s Maduro.

Reporting by Matt Spetalnick; Writing by David Alexander; editing by Lisa Shumaker and Bill Berkrot