The US announced sanctions against the Cuban dictatorship for the repression against the massive protests of July 11

The government of the President of the United States, Joe Biden, announced on Thursday sanctions against the Minister of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR) of Cuba, Álvaro López-Miera, and an elite military unit popularly known as “black wasps” or “berets. black women ”for their role in the repression of the anti-government protests of July 11.

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This marks the first concrete steps of the Biden administration to put pressure on the Cuban dictatorship, at a time when Washington faces calls from US lawmakers and the Cuban-American community to show greater support for the protesters.

The speed with which the administration crafted the new sanctions indicates that Biden is unlikely to soften the U.S. approach to Cuba shortly after his predecessor, Donald Trump, rolled back a historic Obama-era détente with Havana.

Thousands of Cubans held protests a week ago to demonstrate against an economic crisis that has led to shortages of basic goods and power outages. They also protest the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and restrictions on civil liberties. Hundreds of activists were arrested.

Biden had vowed during his campaign to reverse some of Trump’s policies toward Cuba, but Thursday’s announcement suggests little appetite for getting closer to the communist-ruled island again.

At the same time, the Biden administration continues to seek ways to alleviate the difficult humanitarian situation of the Cuban people.

The White House said Tuesday that Biden would form a task force to analyze the issue of remittances to Cuba in the wake of protests on the island. The goal is to determine how Cuban-Americans can send money to families on the island while keeping the funds out of the reach of the Cuban dictatorship.

Trump had imposed strict restrictions on the flow of remittances, believed to have amounted to several billion dollars annually.

The United States is also working with the private sector and Congress to seek ways to make the Internet more accessible to the people of Cuba, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said Tuesday.

The sanctions were applied based on the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act), a norm with which the US Justice can accuse citizens of corruption and human rights violations. foreign.

Congress approved it in 2012 and originally targeted officials of the Russian regime who were being investigated for the crime of the lawyer Sergei Magnistski in 2009, a militant who had denounced the corruption of the government of Vladimir Putin.

Four years later, the United States began to apply that law worldwide, a rule that allows it to sanction governments that violate human rights, freeze assets in different parts of the world and prohibit entry to the United States.

On the other hand, the human rights group in exile Cubalex, which has created a list of detainees that it updates every day, reports that more than 500 Cubans were detained during or after the protests against the Castro dictatorship. Several of those detainees are missing, according to their relatives.

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