U.S. Takes Action Against Venezuela, Nicaragua And Cuba The U.S. promises to bring democracy to Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua. A year ago protesters demanded the removal of Nicaragua's president, that situation is in a stalemate — just like in Venezuela.

U.S. Takes Action Against Venezuela, Nicaragua And Cuba

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President Trump's administration has announced new sanctions against Nicaragua, targeting the president there, Daniel Ortega. His government has faced one year of protests now. And in those protests, more than 300 people have been killed, hundreds more jailed and tens of thousands sent into exile. Nicaraguans protested yesterday to mark the one-year anniversary of this civic rebellion.

NPR's Carrie Kahn reports.

CARRIE KAHN, BYLINE: Shouting freedom and singing protest songs, small groups of protesters, like this one that posted to Twitter, popped up around the capital of Managua defying a ban against demonstrations.


UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: (Singing in Spanish).

KAHN: Officers in riot gear spread out, prohibiting the groups from merging or marching. In one video shot live by a reporter with the independent press group Article 66, dozens of police jump out of pickup trucks at a traffic circle and rush the protesters.



KAHN: Reporter Abixael Mogollon continues broadcasting live. You hear him repeatedly identifying himself as a journalist.


ABIXAEL MOGOLLON: (Speaking Spanish).

KAHN: The live transmission cuts out as Mogollon is dragged off by police. Opposition groups say at least 50 people were detained yesterday. Mogollon was later released. He says he was beaten and his phone was stolen. President Ortega was criticized for the heavy-handed police presence. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights accused Ortega of imposing a police state. The Nicaraguan government didn't answer an email seeking comment.

Hours before the demonstrations in Managua, the Trump Administration announced new sanctions against the Nicaraguan regime, including measures against a national bank and Ortega's son, who the U.S. says is being groomed to succeed him. John Bolton, President Trump's national security adviser, unveiled the sanctions in Miami to a group of Cuban exiles. Bolton announced new penalties against Cuba and Venezuela as well, repeating his labeling of the three countries as a troika of tyranny.


JOHN BOLTON: This is just the beginning. As long as the people of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua stand for freedom, the United States will stand with them.

KAHN: Cuba received the brunt of Bolton's tough talk, railing against Havana, who he accuses of propping up the Maduro regime in Venezuela. He announced new restrictions for Americans travelling to Cuba and drastically lowered amounts of money relatives can send to family members back home. In addition, U.S. citizens will now be allowed to sue foreign companies using their properties confiscated during the Cuban Revolution, reversing a 20-year-old policy. Fernando Cutz, who helped shape Latin American policy on the National Security Council in both the Obama and Trump administrations, says Bolton's harsh rhetoric and economic sanctions so far haven't forced regime change in any of the three countries. He says especially in Cuba, the policy will likely bring about much hardship.

FERNANDO CUTZ: What we're leading the Cuban people toward is a darker day, where there will be less economic opportunity. There will be less of a middle class and, essentially, just very hard times to come for the people of Cuba.

KAHN: The new sanctions against Cuba also drew quick protests from U.S. allies, especially from European governments, who have substantial business holdings on the island.

Carrie Kahn, NPR News.

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