US State Department announces visa sanctions against Cuba’s Castro family
© WikiMedia (Gobierno de Costa Rica)
US State Department announces visa sanctions against Cuba’s Castro family

The US Department of State on Thursday announced sanctions preventing Raúl Castro, former president of Cuba and the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party and First Secretary of the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces, from traveling to the US.

The sanction was imposed under section 7031(c) of the FY 2019 Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, which provides that, “in cases where the Secretary of State has credible information that foreign government officials have been involved in significant corruption or a gross violation of human rights, those individuals and their immediate family members are ineligible for entry into the United States.” According to the law, Castro’s immediate family were also designated, including his children, Alejandro Castro Espin, Deborah Castro Espin, Mariela Castro Espin, and Nilsa Castro Espin.

The State Department stated that Raúl Castro “oversees a system that arbitrarily detains thousands of Cubans and currently holds more than 100 political prisoners.” In addition, Castro is also “responsible for Cuba’s actions to prop up the former Maduro regime in Venezuela through violence, intimidation, and repression.” Castro is also “complicit in undermining Venezuela’s democracy and triggering the hemisphere’s largest humanitarian crisis, forcing 15 percent of the Venezuelan population to flee the country and precipitating a food shortage and health crisis of unprecedented scale in this region.”