The White House announced new sanctions Thursday against Venezuela and Cuba, and threatened to do the same against Nicaragua, calling the three nations a "troika of tyranny."
In a Miami speech, National Security Adviser John Bolton said the United States "will no longer appease dictators and despots near our shores in this hemisphere.
He likened the leaders of their nations � Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro, Cuba's Raul Castro, and Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega � to the bumbling comedy team The Three Stooges.
"These tyrants fancy themselves strongmen, revolutionaries, icons, and luminaries. In reality, they are clownish pitiful figures more akin to Larry, Curly, and Moe," Bolton said.
The new sanctions against Venezuela target the country's gold market, banning U.S. citizens and companies from doing any gold-related business with Venezuela.
The U.S. has accused Maduro of illegally exporting more than 20 million tons of gold to Turkey to avoid previous U.S. sanctions.
Bolton blamed Cuba for boosting the Maduro government in Venezuela, where a failing economy has led to hyperinflation, severe shortages of basic goods, and a total collapse of democracy.
He said the U.S. has added another two dozen Cuban entities to the list of those prohibited from doing business with Americans.
Bolton also warned Ortega against continuing his violent crackdown on the opposition.
"Free, fair, and early elections must be held in Nicaragua and democracy must be restored to the Nicaraguan people. Until then, the Nicaraguan regime, like Venezuela and Cuba, will feel the full weight of America's robust sanctions regime," Bolton said.
The U.S. has already slapped sanctions on several senior Nicaraguan officials over the violence and alleged corruption.
Source: Voice of America