On Thursday, the United States imposed financial sanctions on Cuban Defense Minister Alvaro Lopez Meira and a special unit of the Ministry of the Interior, against the backdrop of the recent “repression” of “peaceful and pro-democracy demonstrations” in Cuba.
“The Cuban people are demonstrating for the basic rights that their government should guarantee them,” US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement, promising to continue implementing sanctions on the island to support their “quest for democracy.”
For his part, US President Joe Biden said today that the new US sanctions against Cuba, against the backdrop of the “repression” of the recent demonstrations, “are only the beginning.”
“The United States will continue to impose sanctions on those responsible for the repression of the Cuban people,” he said in a statement, denouncing “mass arrests and show trials” targeting “those who dare to speak.”
from cuba protests
The decision was the first concrete step taken by the Biden administration to increase pressure on the communist government in Cuba, amid calls by US lawmakers and the Cuban community to show more support for the largest protests on the island in decades.
A US State Department official told Reuters that Cuba was now a “top priority”.
Thousands of Cubans took part in protests a week ago against the economic crisis that has caused shortages of basic goods and power cuts. They also demonstrated against the way the government is managing the coronavirus pandemic and restrictions on civil liberties. The authorities arrested hundreds of activists.