(Washington) The United States imposed sanctions on the Cuban police force on Friday and Joe Biden, under pressure on this politically hot topic, promises other measures unless there is a “significant” change in Cuba.
Posted on Jul 30, 2021 at 5:51 pm Updated at 9:24 pm
When asked about additional sanctions, the American President replied on the sidelines of a meeting in the White House with representatives of Americans of Cuban origin: “There will be others, unless there is a significant change in Cuba that I do not expect”.
The United States on Friday sanctioned two senior Cuban police officers and the entire National Revolutionary Police for their involvement in cracking down on recent protests against the Cuban government, the Treasury Department said.
PNR Director Oscar Callejas Valcarce and Deputy Director Eddy Sierra Arias, accused of “serious human rights violations”, are blacklisted in the US.
Their possible assets in the US will be frozen and access to the American financial system will be denied to them from now on.
“The Ministry of Finance will continue to sanction and identify by name those who encourage serious human rights violations by the Cuban regime,” said the director of the Ministry of Finance’s main sanctions department, Andrea Gacki.
“The measures taken today are designed to hold those responsible for suppressing the Cuban people’s demands for freedom and respect for human rights accountable,” she added.
With the voice of its Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, Cuba “decidedly” refused to include the PNR and its two officials in the lists that were classified as “forged”.
“These arbitrary measures contribute to disinformation and aggression to justify an inhumane blockade against Cuba,” the minister wrote on Twitter, referring to Washington’s embargo on the island since 1962.
” A shame ”
On July 11th and 12th, thousands of Cubans demonstrated by shouting “We are hungry” or “Down with the dictatorship”.
At the end of these demonstrations, the most important since the revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power in 1959, around 100 people were arrested, according to various opposition organizations.
Washington immediately condemned these actions in the strongest possible terms and supported the demonstrators with a promise to help the Cubans.
But Joe Biden found himself increasingly under pressure from Congress and the large Cuban-American community to take more concrete action.
The Ministry of Finance therefore announced on July 22nd a first series of targeted financial sanctions against the Cuban Defense Minister Alvaro Lopez Miera and the interior ministry’s “black berets” used in the demonstrations.
But the impact of these sanctions, in addition to the much more general ones that have hit the Caribbean island for decades, is very limited – especially since the Home Office as a whole was already on the American blacklist.
“We hear your voices. We hear the calls for freedom, ”said the US President on Friday and once again condemned“ the failed communist regime (of Cuba) ”.
He reminded that other support measures were being examined. In particular, the United States is considering ways to ensure free internet access on the island.
Washington also wants to ensure that the Cuban community’s foreign transfers, some of which the Americans say are being diverted by the Cuban military, reach their destination.
But the Democratic president, who is so willing to band together, has little chance of attracting the Republicans.
The latter, for a long time closely linked to the virulent criticism of the communist regime, reminds Joe Biden again and again that Barack Obama, of which he was Vice President, had attempted a policy of openness towards Havana.
“The Democrats are weak against Cuba, the ones who spread the lies of the communist regime’s anti-American propaganda. Biden’s lack of firmness is a shame, ”the Republican National Committee commented in a statement Friday.