In an interview with Christina Londono of Telemundo, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said that Washington seeks to change the regime not only in Venezuela, but also in Nicaragua and Cuba – the countries White House National Security Adviser John Bolton infamously dubbed a “troika of tyranny” in November 2018.
“Yes, President Trump’s administration has done so and will continue to do so not just in Venezuela but certainly Nicaragua and Cuba as well”, Pompeo said when asked whether the United States intends to “help” people in “undemocratic regimes”.
Pompeo went on to explain that the current policy differs from that of previous administrations:
“They recognise that these governments are treating their people harshly, presenting real risks, security risks to the people, privacy risks, denying them basic liberties. […] The United States under President Trump is working diligently in not just Venezuela but each of those two countries to achieve good outcomes for those people. […] The American people will support them”, the US secretary of state elaborated.
When Londono asked if he was hoping for a domino effect in the region, Pompeo answered that he wanted the citizens of those countries to realise that “the yoke of authoritarianism that has been foisted upon them is not necessary”.
“I hope that each of those countries, that the citizens of those countries understand… that they can have a different life and that they’ll continue their efforts, their goodwill, and their humanity towards achieving a better political situation, both in Venezuela and Nicaragua, and Cuba as well”.
Pompeo also reiterated that all options were on the table in Venezuela, but “we are very hopeful that the Venezuelan people and the Venezuelan military will come to understand that Maduro’s days are past”.
While the governments of Cuba and Nicaragua are yet to comment on Pompeo’s claims, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who has launched a signature-gathering campaign against US interference, previously told Sputnik that the main objective behind Washington's involvement in Venezuela was the fact that the country has the biggest oil reserves in the world.
Political Crisis in Venezuela
On Thursday, Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro said that the Trump administration’s policies and rhetoric towards Venezuela were linked to the re-election campaign of Donald Trump.
"Donald Trump has started his pre-election campaign… He's desperate, and so he really liked the idea of attacking Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua, and he thinks that, using this rhetoric of Cold War, he will improve [his rating], which in reality could lead to his total collapse", Maduro said in remarks broadcast by a local TV channel.
Earlier this week, Trump called on Venezuelan military officers not to follow orders given by Maduro to block the humanitarian aid deliveries to the country, adding that Washington is seeking a peaceful transition of power in the country but "all options" were on the table.
President Maduro, for his part, accused Washington of orchestrating a coup and severed diplomatic ties with the US.
The US has been trying to push its humanitarian aid to Venezuela through Colombia, which was also accused by Maduro of trying to sabotage his government. While Maduro has consistently refused to allow the aid, currently stockpiled in Colombia, into the country out of national security concerns, Guaido signed his first “presidential” decree in order to authorise the deliveries.
Cuba: Washington's Socialist Neighbour
Since the Cuban Revolution in 1959, tthe US has been trying to undermine the communist government in Havana, imposing stringent sanctions against the island and standing up against Fidel Castro, including the botched 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion to overthrow El Comandante.
In December 2014, Barack Obama's administration announced a decision to take steps toward a rapprochement with Havana after more than 50 years of non-engagement, although his historic move was scrapped by the current administration, which re-imposed economic, trade, and travel restrictions.
The United States has made repeated attempts to undermine the Nicaraguan government, with the most scandalous attempt from 1982-1989. The so-called Iran-Contra affair involved senior Reagan administration officials secretly facilitating the illegal sale of weapons to Iran, which was under an arms embargo, in a bid to use the money to support and fund the Contras, Nicaraguan paramilitaries attempting to topple the Sandinista government.
Currently, the situation in Nicaragua is reminiscent of that in Venezuela: last April, people took to the streets to protest against social security reforms that would have resulted in increased taxes. Even though, President Daniel Ortega eventually cancelled the envisaged reforms, protests didn’t stop and have morphed into a broader opposition movement.