President Donald Trump. Image courtesy Reuters

The White House on Thursday imposed “tough” new sanctions against Venezuela, denouncing Caracas as being part of a “troika of tyranny” that includes Cuba and Nicaragua.

National Security Advisor John Bolton told an audience at Miami Dade College that the sanctions would particularly target Venezuela’s gold sector, which “has been used as a bastion to finance illicit activities, to fill its coffers and to support criminal groups.”

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Bolton, a longtime foreign policy hawk, said the elections of far-right Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil and conservative Ivan Duque in Colombia were “positive signs for the future of the region” that demonstrate a regional commitment to free markets and “accountable governance.”

“The troika of tyranny in this hemisphere will not endure forever,” Bolton said, referring to Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua.

“Like all oppressive regimes and ideologies, it too will meet its demise.”

The new sanctions against Venezuela came in the form of an executive order signed by President Donald Trump.

The sanctions on Venezuela’s gold take aim at an important revenue source for the regime of President Nicolas Maduro, which relies on “corrupt or deceptive” transactions, Bolton said.

He also announced the State Department has added new sanctions on more than two dozen entities owned or controlled by the Cuban military and intelligence services.

The leaders of Venezuela and Nicaragua are “desperate” autocrats who had joined Cuban counterparts in the “same oppressive behaviour of unjust imprisonment, torture and murder,” Bolton said.