Castro says Cuba will not abandon Venezuela despite U.S. 'blackmail'

Cuban Communist Party leader Raul Castro said on Wednesday Cuba would never abandon its leftist ally Venezuela despite U.S. “blackmail”, even as the Trump administration threatened more sanctions over its support. In a speech to the national assembly, meeting to enact the new constitution, Castro said Cuba had been upping defence preparedness in recent months in view of increased U.S. hostility. The island nation had also been adopting economic measures to contend with the Trump administration’s tightening of the decades-old U.S. trade embargo, Castro told legislators. “We will never abandon our duty of acting in solidarity with Venezuela,” Castro said. “We reject strongly all types of blackmail.” U.S. Vice President Mike Pence told the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday the United States would announce additional action to hold Cuba accountable for its support of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

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