The president of United States, Donald Trump promised on Friday to “fight” for Venezuela and Cuba during a visit to Florida, a state plagued by the coronavirus, a “plague” for which the Republican president again blamed China.
“We are going to fight for Venezuela. We are going to fight for our friends in Cuba,” Trump said at the headquarters of the Southern Command, in charge of US military operations in the Caribbean, Central and South America.
“Cuba and Venezuela have it very under control”he assured.
Since taking office in 2017, Trump reversed the rapprochement between Washington and Havana of his Democratic predecessor Barack Obama, tightening the blockade that has been in force since 1962 against the island’s communist government, arguing violations of human rights and support for the Nicolás Maduro regime in Venezuela, whom he considers a “dictator”.
But despite the economic sanctions against Caracas, and a diplomatic proposal to gradually withdraw them in a transition towards “free elections”, Maduro has kept usurping power with the backing of Cuba, China and Russia, its main creditors, and lately, of Iran.
“The United States will continue its campaign of maximum pressure on the Maduro regime,” said Trump’s national security adviser Robert O’Brien.
O’Brien said Trump asks “almost every day” what can be done to help the Venezuelan people. “This operation is part of that effort,” he said.
Trump celebrated the “incredible success” of the vast anti-drug operation launched three months ago in the Caribbean with his sights set on Venezuela, after the US justice system accused Maduro of “narcoterrorism” and offered him a 15 million dollar reward.
“Venezuela is a narco-state, led by a corrupt, criminal and illegitimate regime, and the people of Venezuela are suffering because of Maduro,” said O’Brien.
After meeting with members of the Cuban and Venezuelan exiles in Doral, Trump highlighted the “historic sanctions” against Caracas and boasted that he had “ended” Obama’s “betrayal” and its vice president Joe Biden, “with the Castro regime.”
“What they did for Cuba is ridiculous,” said Rosa María Payá, daughter of the late human rights activist Oswaldo Payá, and Orlando Gutiérrez, a prominent member of Cuban exile in Florida.
There were also Venezuelans Ernesto Ackerman, who asked Trump to “eliminate socialism throughout Latin America,” and Lorenzo Di Stefano, who urged him to “continue to apply more economic pressure” against Maduro.
Smiling, Trump highlighted how “very well” he is doing in Florida polls, a crucial pendulum state where every vote counts.
Trump traveled to Florida, where the covid-19 has claimed more than 4,000 lives and has recorded an avalanche of cases and record deaths in recent days, ignoring the risks of contagion to boost your campaign.
Biden, who leads him by 5 points in Florida and by 8.8 points nationwide according to the RealClearPolitics average polls, criticized the visit.
Trump, who also participates in a fundraising event, It lashed out again at China, where the new coronavirus emerged late last year.
“Relations with China were seriously damaged,” he told reporters. “They could have stopped the plague and they didn’t.”
The United States is the country most affected by covid-19, with more than 3.1 million infections and 133,000 deaths.
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