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National security adviser John Bolton speaking in Coral Gables, Florida, on April 17. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

National security adviser John Bolton's announcement on April 17 of additional sanctions on Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba marked another step in the attempt to tighten the noose around the countries he has dubbed the "Troika of Tyranny."

The big picture: Ahead of 2020, President Trump is trying to fuse the anti-communism of Cuban American voters with the frustrations of other Troika migrants who have fled repression and dysfunction. With regime change yet to take hold in Venezuela, the administration has begun to increase pressure on Cuba while tying together its policies toward both countries.

Background: Bolton has given his two major Latin America policy speeches in Miami, targeted in part at southern Florida's anti-communist Cuban Americans, who have helped deliver the state's 29 electoral votes to Republicans. But that community has diversified in recent years and supported Trump substantially less than past GOP presidential candidates.

Between the lines: The keystone of Bolton’s speech on April 17 — the 58th anniversary of the failed Bay of Pigs invasion — was the announcement that the White House would implement Title III of the 1996 Helms-Burton Act, which re-codified the Cuba embargo into law.

  • The provision allows American citizens, including naturalized Cuban–U.S. citizens, to bring suits in U.S. courts against foreign companies that have invested in assets confiscated by Fidel Castro after the revolution.
  • Canada, Spain, France and other U.S. allies oppose the provision and U.S. courts have questioned the legality of its extraterritorial overreach.
  • Since the law’s passage, both Democratic and Republican administrations have suspended Title III. The Trump administration’s intent to implement it threatens to alienate more than 50 coalition partners trying to force Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro to step down.

The bottom line: Those governments will find it increasingly difficult to stand with a White House that has unilaterally opened the door to suits against their citizens and businesses. At the same time, Venezuelan and Nicaraguan American voters may see in this tighter embrace of the embargo — a 67-year-old policy that has failed to loosen the Castros' grip on power — the seeds of their own frustration.

Christopher Sabatini is an adjunct professor at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs, executive director of Global Americans and a non-resident fellow at Rice University's Baker Institute.

Go deeper

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Pat Gelsinger. Photo: Axios on HBO

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Why it matters: There is bipartisan support for funding the domestic semiconductor industry, but Congress has yet to sign the check. The Senate has passed the CHIPS Act that includes $52 billion in semiconductor investment, but it has yet to pass the House.

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Children are among a group of 17 missionaries kidnapped in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, per a statement from Christian Aid Ministries Sunday.

The latest: "The group of 16 U.S citizens and one Canadian citizen includes five men, seven women, and five children," the Ohio-based group said. Haitian police inspector Frantz Champagne on Sunday identified the 400 Mawozo gang as the group responsible, in a statement to AP.

Ina Fried, author of Login
4 hours ago - Technology

Intel CEO wants to compete against Apple

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger hasn't given up on the idea of the Mac once again using Intel chips, but he acknowledges it will probably be years before he gets that chance.

  • In the meantime, he is focused on powering Windows machines that give Apple CEO Tim Cook a run for his money.

Why it matters: In getting pushed out of the Mac, Intel not only lost a customer but picked up a new rival.