Cubans protest new sanctions as Trump threatens embargo

Cubans protest new sanctions as Trump threatens embargo
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Millions of Cubans took to the streets during Wednesday’s May Day protests to rally against new U.S. sanctions as President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial Warren goes local in race to build 2020 movement 2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes MORE threatens an embargo over Havana’s support of embattled Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro.

“We'll give a forceful, strong and revolutionary response to the statements filled with threats, provocations, lies and slanders by the Yankee empire,” Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel tweeted Wednesday morning.

The march, marking International Workers' Day, was the first opportunity for Cubans to rail against the latest U.S. threats to impose harsh economic penalties against the island.

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Washington and Havana find themselves pitted against each other in Venezuela, with Cuba supporting the embattled socialist leader and the U.S. backing opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who has been recognized by several world powers as Venezuela’s rightful interim president.

Trump on Tuesday threatened to impose “a full and complete embargo” and “highest-level sanctions” on Cuba over its support for Maduro as Washington tries to oust the Venezuelan leader. The White House has also not ruled out a military option to resolve Venezuela's leadership dispute.

Cuba and Venezuela have a long-standing alliance that has seen Havana send upward of 20,000 medical and security personnel to the South American country in exchange for oil. National security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonAre Democrats building a collapsible impeachment? Live coverage: House holds first public impeachment hearing Trump threatening to fire Mulvaney: report MORE has also said Russian and Cuban military personnel are currently stationed in Venezuela.

Cuba has denied that it has any troops stationed in Venezuela. 

“Bolton is a pathological liar who misinforms President Trump. There are no Cuban troops in Venezuela or Cubans participating in military or security operations,” Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez said Tuesday.

The Trump administration threw its support behind an uprising to oust Maduro on Tuesday, though reports surfaced Wednesday morning that the effort had failed.