US imposes new Cuba sanctions over human rights abuses

Jul 22, 2021, 11:56 AM | Updated: 12:59 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration announced new sanctions Thursday against a Cuban official and a government special brigade that it says was involved in human rights abuses during a government crackdown on protests on the island earlier this month.

The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control listed Alvaro Lopez Miera, a Cuban military and political leader, and the Brigada Especial Nacional del Ministerio del Interior, or Interior Ministry Special Brigade, as among those who will face the latest sanctions.

Treasury said in a statement that Lopez Miera “has played an integral role in the repression of ongoing protests in Cuba.” Cuba’s Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces, which is led to by Lopez Miera, and other Cuban government’s security services have attacked protesters and arrested or disappeared over 100 protesters in an attempt to suppress these protests, according to Treasury.

The regime led by Miguel Diaz-Canel moved quickly, and violently, to stem the protests. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the actions by Cuban authorities, and violent mobs it mobilized, “lay bare the regime’s fear of its own people and unwillingness to meet their basic needs and aspirations.”

The Interior Ministry Special Brigade was already sanctioned in January by the Trump administration, which targeted the entire ministry and Interior Minister Lazaro Alberto Alvarez Casas under the Global Magnitsky Act.

“I unequivocally condemn the mass detentions and sham 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,” President Joe Biden said in a statement. “The Cuban people have the same right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly as all people.”

The move comes after the White House earlier this week announced that Biden had ordered his administration to take several steps to raise pressure on the communist regime after thousands of Cubans took to the streets of Havana and other cities across the island earlier this month to protest food shortages and high prices during the coronavirus crisis.

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez immediately took to Twitter to call the sanctions “baseless and slanderous” and suggested that Biden apply the sanctions on himself “for acts of everyday repression and police brutality” in the U.S.

The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control had been tasked with exploring sanctioning Cuban officials who committed human rights violations against peaceful protesters in Cuba.

“The Cuban people are protesting for the fundamental and universal rights they deserve from their government,” said Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. “Treasury will continue to enforce its Cuba-related sanctions, including those imposed today, to support the people of Cuba in their quest for democracy and relief from the Cuban regime.”

Biden has also called for the State Department to launch a working group to review U.S. remittance policy to ensure that money that Cuban Americans send home makes it directly into the hands of their families without the regime taking a cut.

Biden also ordered a review of the viability of increasing staff at the U.S. Embassy in Havana. The White House is hopeful that a boost in staffing could help it better facilitate civil society engagement following one of Cuba’s biggest antigovernment demonstrations in recent memory.

“We’ve made clear over the last week that addressing this moment was a priority for the administration and for President Biden,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.

Associated Press writer Andrea Rodriguez in Havana.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A currency trader walks by the screens showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI), left,...
Associated Press

Asian shares rise after ‘relief rally’ on Wall Street

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares rose Tuesday, encouraged by a rally in U.S. shares after some weak economic data raised hopes that the Federal Reserve might ease away from aggressive interest rate hikes. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 added 2.8% in afternoon trading to 26,959.25. South Korea’s Kospi gained 2.5% to 2,209.98. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 jumped […]
24 hours ago
FILE - Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., who is running for reelection, speaks about prescriptio...
Associated Press

Both candidates courting veterans in Nevada Senate race

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Common sense more than any campaign strategy dictated that Adam Laxalt not trumpet his own military service in Nevada’s sometimes-heated Republican Senate primary. After all, the ex-attorney general, who served as a Navy judge advocate general in Iraq, was running against retired Army Capt. Sam Brown, a war hero who was […]
24 hours ago
FILE - Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia Philip Lowe speaks in Sydney, Australia, Thursday,...
Associated Press

Australian central bank lifts cash rate to 9-year high 2.6%

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia’s central bank on Tuesday boosted its benchmark interest rate for a sixth consecutive month to a nine-year high of 2.6%. The Reserve Bank of Australia’s increase of a quarter percentage point to the cash rate was smaller than those at recent monthly meetings. The banks had hiked the rate by […]
24 hours ago
Elaine Moore stands next to a dry irrigation canal and almond orchard near her property, where two ...
Associated Press

California wells run dry as drought depletes groundwater

FAIRMEAD, Calif. (AP) — As California’s drought deepens, Elaine Moore’s family is running out of an increasingly precious resource: water. The Central Valley almond growers had two wells go dry this summer. Two of her adult children are now getting water from a new well the family drilled after the old one went dry last […]
24 hours ago
A protester is hit by Los Angeles Rams defensive end Takkarist McKinley (50) and linebacker Bobby W...
Associated Press

Rams LB Bobby Wagner flattens protestor who gets on field

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Bobby Wagner delivered one of the biggest hits on a person who got onto the field. The Rams linebacker flattened the protestor who ran on the field with a device emitting pink smoke late in the second quarter of Los Angeles’ game against the San Francisco 49ers on Monday night. […]
24 hours ago
The steeple lays on its side atop Southwest Baptist Church in Fort Myers, Fla., on Sunday, Oct. 2, ...
Associated Press

Hurricane Ian shakes SW Florida’s faith but can’t destroy it

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — In darkness and despair, there were flickers of light and hope, even for Jane Compton who lost her home and possessions to Hurricane Ian’s wrath. As the storm approached last week, she and her husband found sanctuary at their Baptist church, huddling with fellow parishioners through wind, rain and worry. […]
24 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
US imposes new Cuba sanctions over human rights abuses