The Biden Administration on Thursday imposed sanctions against the Cuban Defense Minister and a government special forces unit for human rights violations during a government crackdown on protests this month.
Protests have been widespread throughout the country for the past two weeks, due to growing frustrations with the lack of food and medical care in the country, as well as power shortages.
Alvaro Lopez Miera, leader of Cuba’s Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces and the National Special Brigade of the Ministry of the Interior or Boinas Negras is being held responsible by the United States for “the repression of peaceful, pro-democratic protests in Cuba that began on July 11.”
President Joe Biden said on Thursday that the United States government will continue to sanction individuals that are “responsible for oppression of the Cuban people.”
“We are reviewing our remittance policy to determine how we can maximize support to the Cuban people,” the President said.
“Today, my administration is imposing new sanctions targeting elements of the Cuban regime responsible for this crackdown — the head of the Cuban military and the division of the Cuban Ministry of the Interior driving the crackdown — to hold them accountable for their actions,” President Biden said.
“I unequivocally condemn the mass detentions and shame trials that are unjustly sentencing to prison those who dared to speak out in an effort to intimidate and threaten the Cuban people into silence.”
“The Cuban people are protesting for the fundamental and universal rights they deserve from their government,” Janet Yellen, Treasury Secretary, said. “Treasury will continue to enforce its Cuba-related sanctions, including those imposed today, to supper the people of Cuba in their quest for democracy and relief from the Cuban regime.”
Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla expressed his frustrations with the United States government on Twitter.
“I reject the unfounded and slanderous accusations by the US government against General Alvaro Lopez Miera and the National Special Brigade. They should apply to themselves the Global Magnitsky Act for the daily acts of repression and police brutality which cost 1,022 lives in 2020,” Parilla tweeted.
I refute the unfounded & slanderous US gov. sanctions against Army Corp Gral Alvaro López Miera and the National Special Brigade.
It should rather apply unto itself the Magnitsky Global Act for systematic repression & police brutality that took the lives of 1021 persons in 2020.
— Bruno Rodríguez P (@BrunoRguezP) July 22, 2021
“As we hold the Cuban regime accountable, our support for the Cuban people is unwavering, and we are making sure Cuban Americans are a vital partner in our efforts to provide relief to suffering people on the Island,” President Biden said Thursday.