Friday, November 02, 2018

John Bolton's Troika of Tyranny Speech (With Text)

I finally had a chance to read the text of John Bolton's speech yesterday about U.S. policy toward Latin America, though really mostly aimed at Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Cuba. The "troika of tyranny" phrase is just so...Russian.

The timing of the speech is aimed at the midterm election to get out the South Florida vote, and it is a pretty standard "get tough" thing, without much content. And there is also no mention of the dicey problem of how without the 14th amendment, many Cuban-Americans in the audience would now be Cubans (like, for example, Marco Rubio).

It is well known that the first half of the George W. Bush administration was a disaster in Latin America, with lots of insult hurling ("You're Hitler!" "No, YOU'RE Hitler!") that Hugo Chávez used to his advantage. Especially after Tom Shannon took over as a top Latin America advisor, that toned down and more actual work got done. Well, we're back to where we started. Shannon is out and Bolton is back in. How else to explain inane comments like these?

These tyrants fancy themselves strongmen and revolutionaries, icons and luminaries. In reality, they are clownish, pitiful figures more akin to Larry, Curly, and Moe. The three stooges of socialism are true believers, but they worship a false God.
Diplomacy becomes the equivalent of primates throwing poop around and waiting expectantly for some to be thrown back.

The text of the speech, as given to the press, is below.

Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor Ambassador John R. Bolton Delivers
Remarks on the Trump Administration’s Policies in Latin America at Miami Dade College

Miami, FL
Thursday, November 1, 2018
Remarks as prepared for delivery

Thank you, Representative Ros-Lehtinen, for your kind introduction. I also want to thank Dr. Rodicio
for the invitation to speak with all of you today in such a beautiful setting.

It is an honor to be in Miami to address so many friends on a subject of utmost importance to the
President, to me, and to this entire administration: U.S. policy toward Latin America.

Across our administration, we are working hard to strengthen bonds and deepen ties with several
responsible governments throughout the region.

The United States is thrilled to be partnering with nations such as Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina and many others to advance the rule of law and increase security and prosperity for our people.

The recent elections of likeminded leaders in key countries, including Ivan Duque in Colombia, and last weekend Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, are positive signs for the future of the region, and demonstrate a growing regional commitment to free-market principles, and open, transparent, and accountable

Yet today, in this Hemisphere, we are also confronted once again with the destructive forces of
oppression, socialism, and totalitarianism.

In Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, we see the perils of poisonous ideologies left unchecked, and the
dangers of domination and suppression.

This afternoon, I am here to deliver a clear message from the President of the United States on our
policy toward these three regimes.

Under this administration, we will no longer appease dictators and despots near our shores in this

We will not reward firing squads, torturers, and murderers.

We will champion the independence and liberty of our neighbors.

And this President, and his entire administration, will stand with the freedom fighters.

The Troika of Tyranny in this Hemisphere—Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua—has finally met its

There is no better place to deliver this message than right here in Miami, at the Freedom Tower.
Miami is home to countless Americans, who fled the prisons and death squads of the Castro regime in Cuba, the murderous dictatorships of Chavez and Maduro in Venezuela, and the horrific violence of the 1980s and the brutal reign of Ortega in Nicaragua.

In every corner of Miami, you will find someone who has endured years in Castro’s infamous
Combinado del Este political prison, or has been tortured in Maduro’s Helicoide prison, or has a loved one still languishing in Ortega’s El Chipote prison.

Others who call Miami home have escaped anti-Semitism and prejudice that has unfortunately existed in the region.

Anti-Semitism has no place in the United States, or anywhere in the world. We all have a responsibility to confront this heinous hatred, whether it occurs in Pittsburgh, Caracas, or in any other city.

Many of you in the audience today have personally suffered unspeakable horrors at the hands of the
regimes in Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, only to survive, fight back, conquer, and overcome.

You breathe the free air of this beautiful city. Your children have experienced the possibilities of liberty.

And your grandchildren will never know the firsthand heartache of repression.

Your descendants can be anything, and achieve anything. They can attend this great institution, Miami Dade College, or even stand one day alongside the President.

And as they grow and flourish in America, they will carry with them your history, your sacrifice, and the memories of your incredible triumph. Their success will be your enduring legacy.

In the United States, we frequently hear the stories of Americans who came to our country for a better
life, and pulled themselves up by their bootstraps, through hard work and sacrifice.

Today, I would ask that when you think of the American Dream, and this iconic imagery, you also
envision something else.

Generations of Americans have been inspired to thrive in liberty and freedom not only because of the
rewards of hard work, dedication, and sacrifice, but also because of the inalienable rights bestowed on every American and enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.

These fundamental liberties are represented forever by the red, white, and blue of our Old Glory, and
defended from harm by the greatest military on the face of the earth.

The American Dream depends on hard work and self-sufficiency, yes, but even more so on the
knowledge of what freedom makes possible: the awareness that you can chart your own destiny, the
cognizance that you are free to speak, to think, to write, to pray, to live.

Everyone here today understands this fundamental truth. There is no glamor in gulags and labor camps, in death squads and propaganda machines, in mass executions and in the sound of terrorizing screams from the depths of the world’s most notorious prisons.

These are the true consequences of socialism and communism. This is the price of freedom’s
extinguished flame.

As the President has said, the problems we see in Latin America today have not emerged because
socialism has been implemented poorly. On the contrary, the Cuban, Venezuelan, and Nicaraguan
people suffer in misery because socialism has been implemented effectively.

In Cuba, a brutal dictatorship under the façade of a new figurehead continues to undermine democratic institutions, and jail and torture opponents.

In Venezuela and Nicaragua, desperate autocratic leaders, hell-bent on maintaining their grip on power, have joined their Cuban counterparts in the same oppressive behavior of unjust imprisonment, torture, and murder.

This Troika of Tyranny, this triangle of terror stretching from Havana to Caracas to Managua, is the
cause of immense human suffering, the impetus of enormous regional instability, and the genesis of a
sordid cradle of communism in the Western Hemisphere.

Under President Trump, the United States is taking direct action against all three regimes to defend the rule of law, liberty, and basic human decency in our region.

As the President has repeatedly made clear, America’s security and prosperity benefits when freedom
thrives near our shores.

In Cuba, we continue to stand firmly with the Cuban people, and we share their aspirations for real,
democratic change.

Members of this administration will never take a picture in front of Che Guevara, plastered over the
Cuban ministry that runs the National Revolutionary Police.

As you know, this organization is responsible for oppressing dissidents and suppressing every kind of
freedom known to man.

We will not glamorize Marxist guerillas to promote a delusion of our own glory.

Our concern is with sanctions, not selfies.

Under this administration, there will no longer be secret channels between Cuba and the United States. Our policy is transparent for the American people and the world to see.

It is encapsulated in National Security Presidential Memorandum-5, “Strengthening the Policy of the
United States Toward Cuba.” And, in June of last year, President Trump came right here to Miami to outline this administration’s new policy and to announce the cancellation of the last administration’s one-sided and misguided deal with the Cuban regime.

As he said then, the United States will not prop up a military monopoly that abuses the citizens of Cuba. Under our approach, detailed in NSPM-5, the United States is enforcing U.S. law to maintain sanctions until, among other things, all political prisoners are freed, freedoms of assembly and expression are respected, all political parties are legalized, and free and internationally supervised elections are scheduled.

Importantly, our policy includes concrete actions to prevent American dollars from reaching the Cuban military, security, and intelligence services.

Today, I want to emphasize that NSPM-5 was just the beginning of our efforts to pressure the Cuban
regime. Since NSPM-5’s release, we have been tightening sanctions against the Cuban military and intelligence services, including their holding companies, and closing loopholes in our sanctions regulations.

Further, today, the State Department added over two dozen additional entities owned or controlled by
the Cuban military and intelligence services to the restricted list of entities with which financial
transactions by U.S. persons are prohibited.

The Cuban military and intelligence agencies must not disproportionately profit from the United States, its people, its travelers, or its businesses. In response to the vicious attacks on Embassy Havana, we have also scaled back our embassy personnel in Cuba. This President will not allow our diplomats to be targeted with impunity. And we will not excuse those who harm our highest representatives abroad by falsely invoking videos, or concocting some other absurd pretext for their suffering.

The United States will stand up for our citizens, our allies, and our friends, whether they frequent our
new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, chant for reform in Tehran, or fight for freedom in the streets of

We will only engage with a Cuban government that is willing to undertake necessary and tangible
reforms—a government that respects the interests of the Cuban people.

In Venezuela, the United States is acting against the dictator Maduro, who uses the same oppressive
tactics that have been employed in Cuba for decades.

He has installed an illegitimate Constituent Assembly, debased currency for political gain, and forced
his people to sign up for a corrupt food distribution service or face certain starvation.

These actions have created damaging ripple effects throughout the region. The crisis in Venezuela has
led to a massive humanitarian disaster and the largest mass migration in the Hemisphere. More than 2
million desperate Venezuelans have fled Maduro’s oppressive rule since 2015.

Sadly, this human tragedy was entirely preventable. Maduro and his cronies are the singular cause of all of this suffering.

The Venezuelan regime’s repression is of course enabled by the Cuban dictatorship. The United States calls on all nations in the region to face this obvious truth, and let the Cuban regime know that it will be held responsible for continued oppression in Venezuela.

In the United States, our demands are simple and straightforward. We call for the immediate release of all Venezuelan political prisoners; acceptance of international humanitarian assistance; free, fair, and credible elections; and legitimate steps to restore democratic institutions and the rule of law in

Since taking office, this President has signed four Executive Orders targeting corruption and the looting of the Venezuelan economy. This administration has sanctioned over 70 Venezuelan individuals and entities, including the President and his wife, along with senior members of his regime. And, we have levied a Kingpin drug-trafficking designation on a member of Maduro’s inner circle.

We have also condemned the regime’s involvement in the death earlier this month of a Venezuelan
opposition councilman in the custody of the intelligence services, and we have likewise spoken out
against the apparent-August torture of yet another opposition councilman.

Today, I am also proud to share that President Trump has signed an Executive Order to impose tough,
new sanctions against Venezuela.

The new sanctions will target networks operating within corrupt Venezuelan economic sectors and deny them access to stolen wealth. Most immediately, the new sanctions will prevent U.S. persons from engaging with actors and networks complicit in corrupt or deceptive transactions in the Venezuelan gold sector, which the regime has used as a bastion to finance illicit activities, to fill its coffers, and to support criminal groups.

The United States will not tolerate Maduro’s undermining of democratic institutions and ruthless
violence against innocent civilians.

Finally, in Nicaragua, the United States continues to condemn the Ortega regime’s violence and
repression against its citizens and opposition members. Ortega and his allies have completely eroded
democratic institutions, stifled free speech, and imposed a policy of jail, exile, or death for political

The government continues to illegally detain protestors and manipulate laws to target innocent civilians. Earlier this month, a student protestor was detained unlawfully, and to this day, his whereabouts remain unknown to his family.

This behavior is unacceptable anywhere, and especially in the Western Hemisphere. 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.

The Troika of Tyranny in this Hemisphere will not endure forever. Like all oppressive regimes and
ideologies, it too will meet its demise. The people of Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua are fearsome
opponents, and if I were Diaz-Canel, Maduro, or Ortega, I would fear their virtuous power.

These tyrants fancy themselves strongmen and revolutionaries, icons and luminaries. In reality, they are clownish, pitiful figures more akin to Larry, Curly, and Moe. The three stooges of socialism are true believers, but they worship a false God.

We know their day of reckoning awaits. We see its origins in the brave Ladies in White, who
courageously take to the streets to defend their families and all of Cuba. We feel its shiver in the crowd around the flag-draped coffin of fifteen-year-old Orlando Cordoba, killed in a peaceful protest in Nicaragua. We hear its echo in the piercing chants outside of a Venezuelan military base: “Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!”

The United States looks forward to watching each corner of the triangle fall: in Havana, in Caracas, in Managua.

While we await that fateful day, the people of the region can be assured that the United States stand
with them against the forces of oppression, totalitarianism, and domination.

Look to the North; look to our flag; look to your own. The Troika will crumble. The people will
triumph. And, the righteous flame of freedom will burn brightly again in this Hemisphere.
Thank you very much.


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