The Joe Biden Administration intensifies pressure on the Cuban regime. The Treasury Department announced this Thursday sanctions against the Minister of Defense, Álvaro López Miera, and the National Special Brigade (BEN), a unit known as black berets, for the repression exerted by the security forces during the demonstrations that on July 11 threw thousands of citizens into the streets. The punishment raises the tension between Washington and Havana, which has experienced the largest mobilizations against Castroism since the crisis of the 1990s. Biden’s words this Thursday, as soon as the penalties are published, suggest that the crisis will take time to subside: “This is just the beginning, the United States will continue to sanction the individuals responsible for the oppression of the Cuban people,” he said in a release.
The penalties were made public shortly after the trials began in Cuba against the protesters and are part of the Global Magnitsky Law, approved by former President Barack Obama in 2012, which persecutes the perpetrators of serious crimes of human rights abuses and human rights abuses. corruption around the world. As a consequence of the sanction, the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) freezes the properties and interests of the minister.
In video, analysis of Biden’s reaction after the protests in Cuba on July 11.
In its statement, the department headed by Janet Yellen accuses the Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces, which López Miera controls, of having “attacked protesters and arrested or disappeared around a hundred in an attempt to suppress the protests.” He points out, in turn, that he deployed the black berets with the mission of “suppressing” the protests and “attacking” the protesters.
The Biden era is not a continuation of that of Barack Obama regarding Havana, in which the current president served as vice president. Republican Donald Trump ended the thaw started by his predecessor in 2015 and established restrictions on travel and commerce, among others, that Biden has now maintained. The crackdown on the protests on the weekend of July 11 has prompted the White House tenant to go further and take these two high-profile but selective measures. The regime has not yet communicated an official number of detainees, although different sources estimate hundreds, most of them young, and there are reports of abuse and police violence.
“The Cuban people have the same right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly as the rest of the people,” said Biden this Thursday, and reiterated the support of the United States for the “brave” who have taken to the streets to protest. with “62 years of repression under a communist regime.”
Democrat gets crossfire. On the one hand, members of Congress and Cuban-American movements calling for a strong hand against the Castro regime. On the other hand, voices from the left flank of his party, such as Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who defend a softening of the embargo to avoid hardships for the population.
In this sense, the president said this Thursday in his statement that a “review” of their remittance policy is being carried out to see how they can “maximize” their support for the people. Trump banned the sending of remittances last November. A week ago, when asked about the issue, Biden pointed out that they were studying the possibility of opening that door, making sure that the money was not confiscated by the regime, besieged by the serious economic crisis that the island is suffering.
The number two Julie Chung, from the State Department for Latin America, announced on Wednesday that a working group would be created to find out how the money that the relatives of Cubans send to the island can be carried “directly into the pocket of the Cuban people.” “We must prevent Cuban remittances from falling into the hands of the oppressors,” Chung continued.
Washington is also working with the private sector to identify ways to guarantee access to the internet and all kinds of information without restrictions, after the blockages suffered, and intends to recover the staff at its Embassy in Havana. The United States withdrew most of its personnel in 2017 following a series of mysterious attacks, supposedly sonic in origin, that affected 21 diplomats, in some cases severely while stationed in Cuba.
Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel has accused the United States of orchestrating the Cuban protests. This Thursday, his Foreign Minister, Bruno Rodríguez, responded to the sanctions, who called the accusations “baseless and slanderous” on which the measures against López Miera and the black berets. “[Estados Unidos] He should apply the Magnitsky Law to himself for the daily acts of repression and police brutality that cost 1,021 lives in 2020, ”he wrote on his Twitter account.