Biden Administration Hits 8 Cuban Officials With U.S. Travel Bans Over Imprisonment of Peaceful Protesters
The Biden administration on Thursday slapped a travel ban on eight Cuban officials it says have been involved in in the repression of peaceful protesters in Cuba since July.
The sanction was announced by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a statement, claiming that the Cuban officials, who were not named, attempted to "silence the voices of Cuban people through repression, unjust detentions, and harsh prison sentences."
"Those who jail peaceful protesters and sentence them to unjust prison terms must be held accountable," Blinken tweeted.
The U.S. imposed visa restrictions on 8 Cuban government officials. Those who jail peaceful protesters and sentence them to unjust prison terms must be held accountable. We stand with the Cuban people in their fight for freedom.— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) January 6, 2022
Associated Press reported that the Secretary of State further noted that the move from the U.S. is a response to the Cuban government denying freedom among the Cubans.
Blinken said the visa restrictions were the response of the U.S. government in the continued "intimidation tactics, unjust imprisonment, and severe sentences" the Cuban government imposes against their people to deny freedom.
"We stand with the Cuban people in their fight for freedom," Blinken noted.
Cuba Foreign Minister Comments on U.S. Sanctions
The Cuban government decried the sanctions on their eight government officials announced by Antony Blinken. On Thursday, Cuba's Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez took to Twitter to criticize the travel ban sanctions.
"The US government persists in the bad habit of trying to impose its will on other governments through unilateral coercive measures," Rodriguez said.
The foreign minister added that the announcement made by Blinken does not "alter" the iota of Cuba's "determination to defend its sovereign rights."
El gobierno de EEUU persiste en el mal hábito de pretender imponer su voluntad sobre otros gobiernos por vía de medidas coercitivas unilaterales. El anuncio hecho hoy por el Secretario de Estado no altera un ápice la determinación de #Cuba de defender sus derechos soberanos— Bruno Rodríguez P (@BrunoRguezP) January 6, 2022
It was not the first time that Rodriguez slammed a sanction issued by the U.S. government. On a different tweet in July, the Cuba's foreign minister lambasted the U.S. government for imposing sanctions on the head of Cuba's military and the division of the Cuban Ministry of the Interior.
He said the sanctions that targeted those from the Cuban regime responsible for the repression of protests in the country were "baseless" and "slanderous."
Apart from retaliating on the U.S. sanctions, Rodriguez also denounced the U.S. State Department for urging other countries to condemn Cuba amid the protests.
He claimed that the department was "exercising brutal pressures" among the 35-member Organization of American States (OAS) to garner support on a draft joint statement condemning Cuba.
The travel bans are the latest actions against Cuba from the Biden administration. Last November, Blinken also announced travel bans on nine Cuban officials for similar actions against protesters.
The July demonstrations were considered the biggest one in decades against the country's Communist regime. The thousands of Cubans protesting in the streets were angry about the economy's collapse and food and medicine shortages. They also cited price hikes and the government's response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Many have been arrested during the protests. While protests are rare, unauthorized public gatherings are illegal in Cuba.
Antony Blinken said on Thursday that around 600 protesters remained imprisoned for joining the protests, sentences he called "harsh and unjust."
He added that some detainees have seen their health conditions deteriorate because they do not have access to proper food or medicine.
This article is owned by Latin Post.
Written by: Joshua Summers
WATCH: Cuba blames U.S. as the Country Sees Biggest Protests in Decades - From DW News
Subscribe to Latin Post!
Sign up for our free newsletter for the Latest coverage!