W.e US has imposed further sanctions against protests critical of the government in Cuba. The US government put the head of the Cuban police force, Oscar Callejas Valcarce, and his deputy Eddy Sierra Arias on its black sanctions list on Friday. President Joe Biden threatened that further penalties would follow “if there are no drastic changes in Cuba”.
The government in Washington accuses the two Cuban police representatives of “serious human rights violations”. The authorities of the Caribbean state had cracked down on demonstrators two weeks ago, according to activists. A 36-year-old man died in a demonstration on the outskirts of Havana, and more than a hundred people were arrested.
Protests triggered by severe economic crisis
The USA immediately and sharply criticized the actions of the authorities. Last week, the government in Washington imposed sanctions on high-ranking government officials, state organizations and companies. However, the consequences were not considered to be particularly far-reaching. For example, the entire Cuban Interior Ministry had previously been on a US sanctions list.
“The measures taken today are aimed at bringing those responsible for the repression of the Cuban people’s demands for freedom and human rights to account,” said tax officer responsible for sanctions Andrea Gacki. The US Treasury Department will continue to specifically sanction those “who support the Cuban regime in its serious human rights violations”.
On July 11th and 12th, thousands of people took to the streets in socialist-ruled Cuba. In 40 cities, the demonstrators expressed their displeasure with the worst economic crisis in 30 years and the associated electricity and food shortages. Since the beginning of the corona pandemic, there has also been a critical drug shortage in Cuba.