June 16, 2017 / 11:44 PM / 2 months ago

Venezuela decries 'ignorant' Trump's Cuba policy rollback

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks during a meeting with soldiers and military officers at the headquarters of the Ministry of Defense in Caracas, Venezuela June 15, 2017. Miraflores Palace/Handout via REUTERS

CARACAS (Reuters) - Cuba's main regional ally, socialist-ruled Venezuela, slammed U.S. President Donald Trump's tightening of restrictions on Cuba on Friday as an "offence" against Latin America.

"His speech was aggressive and threatening, ... revealing his contempt and ignorance," President Nicolas Maduro said in a speech. "We reject Donald Trump's declarations against our brother Cuba. It is an offence against Latin America."

Reversing former leader Barack Obama's detente with Cuba's communist government, Trump ordered stricter regulations on American travellers and a clampdown on U.S. business dealings with the Caribbean island's military.

Maduro's foreign minister Delcy Rodriguez earlier on Friday pledged Venezuelan solidarity with Cuba via regional blocs including the Alba group of leftist nations founded during the friendship of late leaders Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro.

"U.S. extremism aspires to cover the planet with misery, violence and death," she said in a series of tweets blasting Trump and praising Cuba.

Fellow leftist President Evo Morales, of Bolivia, also weighed in to condemn Trump's move.

"It's an abuse of power by the U.S. empire not to listen to the whole world's support against the blockade of Cuba," he said. "Instead of asking Cuba to free political prisoners, Trump should expel the criminal politicians sheltered in the USA."

Mexico took a more moderate line, urging Washington and Havana to resolve their differences "via dialogue."

Additional reporting by Hugh Bronstein in Buenos Aires, Dave Graham in Mexico City, Diego Ore in Caracas; Writing by Andrew Cawthorne; Editing by Richard Chang

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