Cuba Denies Its Troops Control Venezuela, Blames ‘Pathological Liar’ John Bolton

A policeman stands guard in central Havana's Revolution Square a day before Pope Francis' visit to Cuba on September 18, 2015. Havana has received a rush makeover ahead of Pope Francis's arrival in Cuba on Saturday with newly paved streets, a renovated cathedral, repainted buildings and billboards of the pontiff …

The communist regime in Cuba responded to President Donald Trump threatening a “full and complete embargo” if it does not remove its military personnel from Venezuela, denying a military presence there on Wednesday.

Responding to the ongoing constitutional crisis in Venezuela on Tuesday, Trump warned that “if Cuban Troops and Militia do not immediately CEASE military and other operations for the purpose of causing death and destruction to the Constitution of Venezuela, a full and complete embargo, together with highest-level sanctions” will be placed against the regime.

“There are no military operations, nor Cuban troops in Venezuela,” responded Cuba’s president and second-in-command Miguel Díaz-Canel. “We call on the international community to stop this dangerous, aggressive escalation and to preserve peace. Enough lies.”

“We reject this coup movement that aims to fill the country with violence,” he continued. “The traitors who have placed themselves at the forefront of this subversive movement have used troops and police with weapons of war on a public road in the city to generate anxiety and terror.”

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla responded to comments made by White House National Security Advisor John Bolton about the influence of Cuban military, describing him as a “pathological liar who misinforms Trump.”

“There are no Cuban troops in Venezuela; nor are there any Cubans taking part in military or security operations there. Only medical staff on humanitarian missions. I strongly reject Trump’s total blockade threat,” he wrote. “Cuba’s firm support and solidarity to the Constitutional President of that sister nation, Nicolás Maduro, and his government and the Bolivarian and Chavista people.”

On Tuesday afternoon, Bolton warned that the Cuban military had “played a very significant role in propping Maduro up today, possibly with help from the Russians.”

“It’s time for them now, if the Cubans allowed them, to fulfill their commitments,” he said. “We reiterate that there can only be a political, peaceful and democratic way out for the multiple crises the country is facing.”

The presence of Cuban military in Venezuela is of vital importance to the country’s ongoing power struggle, as the socialist regime is totally dependent on the loyalty of the military for its survival. Cuban officials are understood to control large portions of the military’s power structure, often in return for generous salaries funded by illicit activities such as drug trafficking.

On Tuesday, Venezuelan President Juan Guaidó announced that key members of the military had decided to break ranks and stop supporting the government. He urged Venezuelans to take the streets against the few remaining leaders still backing Maduro. As of Wednesday, Maduro remains in Caracas’ presidential palace. Maduro appeared on television late Tuesday with his top military commanders in an attempt to disprove Guaidó’s claims.

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