Cuba: US President Biden imposes new sanctions after crackdown on protests and warns that “this is just the beginning” | world News
The United States imposed new sanctions on Cuba’s security minister and the Interior Ministry’s special forces unit over allegations of human rights abuses during protests on the island.
“The United States will continue to punish those responsible for the oppression of the Cuban people,” he said.
It comes after thousands of people Take to the streets of Havana and other cities for anti-government demonstrations earlier this month to protest food shortages and price hikes, as well as the handling of the COVID pandemic.
Biden has faced calls from Cuban expatriates and politicians to show more support for the most important protests on the communist island in years.
Álvaro López Meira, the military and political leader, and special general of the Ministry of the Interior, are subject to the latest sanctions.
The US Treasury said Mr. Lopez Mira played an “essential role in suppressing ongoing protests” and that he led a unit whose “members have engaged in serious human rights violations”.
She said Cuban security services attacked protesters and arrested or disappeared more than 100 people in an attempt to suppress the demonstrations.
CubaBritish Foreign Secretary Bruno Rodriguez wrote on Twitter that the allegations were “baseless and slanderous” and suggested that Biden also implement sanctions for “repression and police brutality” in the United States.
I refute the US government’s baseless and slanderous. Sanctions against the army division gran Álvaro Lopez Mira and the National Special Brigade
Instead, it should apply to itself the Global Magnitsky Act of the systematic repression and police brutality that killed 1,021 people in 2020.
– Bruno Rodriguez P (@BrunoRguezP) July 22, 2021
The president also asked officials to review the money transfer policy for Cuban families in America to try to ensure that the money goes directly into the hands of the relatives without the system eliminating the capital.
Previously, the money sent to the island each year was estimated at several billion dollars.
Biden also said he is looking at ways to ensure Cubans continue to have access to the Internet after the Havana government restricted services such as WhatsApp and Facebook.
“We are working with civil society organizations and the private sector to provide Internet access to the Cuban people who are circumventing the regime’s censorship efforts,” his statement said.
The new sanctions indicate that improving relations with Cuba’s rulers is as unlikely at the present time as the region Unexpectedly on the president’s “to-do” list.
Former President Donald Trump has taken a hard line with the regime, in stark contrast to the approach of Barack Obama who in 2016 made him the first US president to visit the country in nearly a century.