03:56 GMT +312 December 2017
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    President Donald Trump speaks during a joint news conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in the East Room of the White House in Washington.

    Trump: US Won't Lift Sanctions on Cuba, Venezuela Until They Restore Freedoms

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    US president Donald Trump has said Washington is challenging the "communist dictatorship of Cuba and the socialist oppression of Venezuela" and will maintain pressure on the countries until they give "political and religious" freedoms to their people.

    Addressing the conservative conference on Friday, Trump also said the US is fighting against "rogue" states of Iran and North Korea.

    Since his election victory, President Trump has taken a new course in relations with Cuba after a thaw that the island nation enjoyed under President Obama. In particular, he rolled back parts of the March 2016 deal between the Obama administration of and the Communist state, imposing business and travel restrictions on Havana.

    Trump has also been tough on Venezuela, repeatedly referring to the Maduro government as a "dictatorship" and accusing it of suppressing democracy in the country. In August, the US president signed an executive order that imposed new financial sanctions against Caracas. Trump has also suggested that Washington may launch military operation amid the rising death toll in Venezuelan protests.

    Venezuela has been turmoil since March when the Venezuelan Supreme Court ruled to restrict the power of the legislature. The decision was canceled, but supporters of the Parliament, who strive for the dismissal of the court members, started protests that eventually led to the deaths of more than 120 people.

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    Tags:
    rogue state, communism, sanctions, Donald Trump, Cuba, United States, Venezuela
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