Washington (CNN)The Trump administration announced a wave of new measures Wednesday targeting Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua -- a group US National Security Adviser John Bolton previously dubbed the "troika of tyranny."
Trump administration targets so-called 'troika of tyranny' with wave of new sanctions
First, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the US will enforce a controversial provision of the decades-old trade embargo on Cuba that will allow US citizens to file lawsuits in US federal court against businesses that operate on property seized by the Cuban government during the revolution -- the first administration to do so since the law's creation in 1996.
Pompeo said Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, also known as the Libertad Act, would be implemented in full effective May 2. He had already informed Congress of the decision, he said.
"Any person or company doing business in Cuba should heed this announcement," Pompeo said in remarks at the State Department. "Implementing Title III in full means a chance at justice for Cuban Americans who have long sought relief from Fidel Castro and his lackeys seizing property without compensation."
The move comes as the Trump administration attempts to ratchet up the pressure on Nicolas Maduro's regime in Venezuela and countries that they see as sustaining it.
"The Cuban regime has for years exported its tactics of intimidation, repression and violence. They've exported this to Venezuela in direct support of the former Maduro regime," Pompeo said.
Speaking in Miami on Wednesday, National Security Adviser John Bolton also announced additional restrictions on Cuba, including visas and travel, as well as new sanctions on Venezuela and Nicaragua.
"At this moment, Havana continues to prop up Maduro and help him sustain the brutal suffering of the Venezuelan people," he said. "As President Trump has said Maduro is quite simply a Cuban puppet."
In addition to reiterating the administration's decision regarding Title III, Bolton said the Treasury Department would "implement further regulatory changes to restrict non-family travel to Cuba."
"These actions should be a signal to all that working with the Cuban military and intelligence services will not be tolerated," he said.
Cuban officials have decried the increased sanctions on the communist-run island and offered to enter into negotiations to repay US companies for seized property.
Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez on Wednesday did not explicitly mention the US but tweeted a defiant message in Spanish shortly after Bolton's remarks.
"It will not change the attitude towards those who hold the sword against us. We Cubans do not surrender, nor do we accept laws about our destinies that are outside the Constitution. In # Cuba we send Cubans. # Cuba trusts in its strengths and in our dignity. # SomosCuba," he said according to a translation of the tweet.