‘Donald Trump has threatened Cuba with the a “full and complete embargo” over its support for Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro, a shuddering escalation of tensions that called to mind the Cold War.
On a day that saw violence erupt on the streets of Caracas as opposition leader Juan Guaido launched his latest bid to oust Mr Maduro, Mr Trump took to social media to heap new pressure on the Venezuelan president and his supporters in Havana.
“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 on the island of Cuba,” he tweeted. “Hopefully, all Cuban soldiers will promptly and peacefully return to their island.”
Mr Trump’s comments came as Mr Guaido and his supporters gathered to try and oust Mr Maduro, one that ultimately fizzled. In a video posted on social media early on a day Mr Guaido had termed Operation Freedom, the opposition leader was seen outside La Carlota airbase in Caracas, urging supporters and the military to take to the streets.
By his side stood his mentor, Leopoldo Lopez, an opposition politician who had been surprisingly freed from house arrest by a small number of intelligence agents who have turned against Mr Maduro.
“The time is now. We are going to achieve freedom and democracy in Venezuela,” said Mr Guaido, saying he was going to release a list of senior officers who were backing him. “The armed forces have taken the right decision. With the support of the Venezuelan people and the backing of our constitution, they are on the right side of history.”’