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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – President Trump’s national security advisor, John Bolton, addressed an invitation-only crowd Thursday at Miami Dade College’s Freedom Tower, Miami’s Ellis Island of sorts, that processed Cuban refugees fleeing communism.
“We will no longer appease dictators and a despots near our shores,” Bolton told the crowd.
Bolton laid into three Latin American nations, starting with Cuba, reiterating economic sanctions on the country that President Trump imposed last year.
Bolton said more prohibited dealings with Cuba will be announced soon. Regularly scheduled cruises and airline flights to the island continue unabated, however.
Bolton sad that, unlike President Barack Obama, the Trump administration won’t talk to Cuba.
“We will only engage with a Cuban government that is willing to undertake necessary and tangible reforms,” Bolton said.
On Venezuela, and its president Nicholas Maduro, Bolton said the U.S. will continue to tighten the economic screws.
“The United States is acting against the dictator Maduro, who uses the same oppressive tactics that have been employed in Cuba for decades,” Bolton said.
Bolton said Nicaraguan strongman Daniel Ortega will also come under economic sanctions soon. He did not specify what sanctions will be imposed on the Ortega regime.
Some Miami Dade College students in the audience said the United States needs to not distance itself, but rather keep its enemies closer.
“I definitely don’t feel it like this demonstration (Bolton’s speech) is going to sway me to vote Republican, because I do feel like we are moving into a more globalized world,” said student Maria Torrado.
“I think it’s already clear that sanctions do not and have not been working for the past 20, 30 years, when it comes to foreign policy with South American countries,” said student Diego Torres.
A crowd of mostly hardline Cuban-Americans, however, cheered Bolton’s speech.
In political terms, Bolton’s trip to Miami was quite pointed. In 2016, Donald Trump won the Cuban-American vote by 10%, but he lost the overall Hispanic vote by more than 30 points.