Trump's Latin American Sanctions: Clear ‘Political Tactic' For Midterms

© Photo : Jaclyn O'LaughlinOn Tuesday, US voters could cast a vote electronically or fill out a paper ballot.
On Tuesday, US voters could cast a vote electronically or fill out a paper ballot. - Sputnik International
US National Security Advisor John Bolton's recent announcement on new sanctions against Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela is nothing more than an attempt at painting the countries as the US' enemies, Paul Dobson, a journalist for Venezuela Analysis, told Sputnik.

Bolton told eventgoers at Miami Dade College's Freedom Tower on Thursday that the Trump administration would be initiating new sanctions against Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua that would include banning US citizens from dabbling in trade with Venezuelan gold.

"This troika of tyranny, this triangle of terror stretching from Havana to Caracas to Managua, 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," Bolton told the Miami crowd.

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"Under President Trump, the United States is taking direct action against all three regimes to defend the rule of law, liberty and basic human decency in our region."

Dobson told Sputnik on Thursday that Bolton's remarks were largely part of a Trumpesque effort ahead of the US midterm elections to rally support for the Republican Party by trying to instill fear into Americans.

"When we look at the rhetoric used by Bolton, we have to understand it in the context of the upcoming midterm elections," Dobson said. "Very clearly, he and his administration are trying to paint an external enemy to sow fear in the American population, and this is why he uses these phrases such as ‘troika' and so on."

New US policies in regards to Cuba mostly focus on the continuation of already established financial penalties and the removal of diplomats from the US embassy in Havana. It's presently unclear what plans the US might have for Nicaragua.

Bolton noted during his 30-minute speech that unless Venezuela releases hundreds of its political prisoners and allows free elections, among other demands, the US would continue to "target networks operating within corrupt Venezuelan economic sectors and deny them access to stolen wealth."

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The latest move against Venezuela, and more specifically Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, is an add-on to sanctions the Trump administration previously imposed on the Central American nation in September.

For Dobson, the sanctions aren't exactly as tough as Bolton would like one to believe, and they won't really have much of an impact on Venezuelan society.

"These aren't tough new sanctions in any way, shape or form. Tough new sanctions would be an oil embargo, would be travel restrictions, things like this," he explained. "And these haven't been unveiled because obviously the American ruling class, the business sector, is not prepared to put up with a full-scale oil embargo on Venezuela."

"The American economy is still highly dependent on Venezuelan oil and other products which are produced from here. So I think when we look at the words used by Bolton, we have to understand them in the context of an election campaign, in the context of trying to influence voters, more than the actual content of the sanctions themselves," he continued.

And then there's the migrant caravan which US President Donald Trump has likened to an "invasion." It should be noted that the majority of those traveling from Honduras to the US-Mexico border are fleeing from poverty and violence rooted from the US' repeated interventions in the region.

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Trump on Thursday stated that his administration would be "finalizing a plan to end the rampant abuse of our asylum system" and that any violence by members of the migrant caravan, including the throwing of stones, would be met with a military response.

Bolton's remarks in the Florida battleground, in line with Trump's anti-immigration stance, work as a means to "stoke racial hatred toward immigrants already based in the United States," Dobson said.

"There's a very clear connecting line between racial hatred, between the migrant march of Hondurans and between these later statements about Nicaragua, Venezuela and Cuba," the Venezuela-based journalist said.

"In these statements, we see how they're [Bolton and Trump] trying to reassess the political ballpark and try to blame the three governments, in this case Venezuela, for the ills which normal American citizens are feeling every day — job shortages, lack of medical care and so on."

"This is a very clear… political tactic used during electoral campaigning," he concluded.

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