Cuba's support for Maduro 'not negotiable' despite US sanctions

HAVANA, Cuba (AFP) — Cuba rejected the latest US restrictions on travel to the island yesterday and stressed that its support for Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro is “not negotiable”.

The official statement was published by the Cuban press two days after the US Treasury Department banned group educational travel, as well as cruise ship and private yacht visits, by Americans to Cuba, linking the action to Havana's backing of Maduro.

“Cuba's solidarity with the constitutional President Nicolas Maduro Moros, the Bolivarian and Chavista Revolution and the civil-military union of its people, is not negotiable,” it said.

The last US cruise ship sailed out of Havana's harbour on Wednesday as the US ban went into effect, targeting a burgeoning tourism market that had seen visits by more than 250,000 Americans in the first quarter of 2019.

“We will continue to take actions to restrict the Cuban regime's access to US dollars,” US National Security Advisor John Bolton said.

Among the reasons given by the US State Department for the latest action was Cuba's “interference in Venezuela, and its direct role in the man-made crisis led by Nicolas Maduro”.

The Cuban statement charged that Washington had come up with “new pretexts” for its attacks.

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