Trump National Security Strategy Pledges to ‘Isolate’ Cuba and Venezuela

Nicolas Maduro, president of Venezuela, right, and Raul Castro, president of Cuba, shake hands during the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit in Margarita, Venezuela, on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016. Venezuela on Tuesday kicked off the the 17th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement on Margarita Island as it attempts to divert attention …
Carlos Becerra/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Trump administration’s National Security Strategy (NSS) has pledged to further isolate rogue left-wing dictatorships in both Venezuela and Cuba and blamed powers such as China and Russia for helping them survive.

The document, published on Monday, calls out both Russia and China for their providing of financial assistance to both regimes.

“In Venezuela and Cuba, governments cling to anachronistic leftist authoritarian models that continue to fail their people,” the document reads. “Competitors have found operating space in the hemisphere. China seeks to pull the region into its orbit through state-led investments and loans. Russia continues its failed politics of the Cold War by bolstering its radical Cuban allies as Cuba continues to repress its citizens.”

“Both China and Russia support the dictatorship in Venezuela and are seeking to expand military linkages and arms sales across the region,” it continues. “The hemisphere’s democratic states have a shared interest in confronting threats to their sovereignty.

In October, Russia offered a $3 billion debt restructuring package to Venezuela on its debt, while China has also shown patience with Nicolás Maduro’s socialist regime, which has defaulted on a number of its debts totaling a hefty $190 billion.

Cuba has also been the beneficiary of strong trading and financial relationships with both countries. China recently became its communist ally’s largest trading partner with Russia now sending oil shipments to Cuba as Venezuela fails to meet its needs.

However, frustrations have boiled over in recent months after one of China’s largest state-owned companies filed a lawsuit against the Venezuelan state-run oil firm Petroleum of Venezuela (PDSVA) over their failure to pay their debt, while the government has also begun cutting off key exports to Cuba over lack a lack of payment.

The Russian government has also expressed skepticism over Cuba’s ability to pay for its oil shipments, with Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak warning the country’s relationship was “not [based on] charity.”

President Donald Trump has repeatedly sought to increase pressure on both Cuba and Venezuela by taking steps to roll back the Obama administration’s “normalization” process with Cuba and reintroducing sanctions on the Castro regime.

As Venezuela slips further into a dictatorship, Trump has also imposed a range of economic sanctions against the country’s state-run oil company, as well as personal sanctions against Nicolás Maduro and other high-level government officials. He has warned that the U.S. will “not stand by as Venezuela crumbles” and even floated the possibility of a military solution.

“We will isolate governments that refuse to act as responsible partners in advancing hemispheric peace and prosperity,” the document adds. “We look forward to the day when the people of Cuba and Venezuela can enjoy freedom and the benefits of shared prosperity, and we encourage other free states in the hemisphere to support this shared endeavor.”

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