US imposes new restrictions on Cuban officials over alleged involvement in crackdown on protests
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US imposes new restrictions on Cuban officials over alleged involvement in crackdown on protests

The US Department of State Saturday announced visa restrictions on 28 Cuban officials allegedly involved in the violent crackdown on the July 2021 protests. This is the US’s fourth round of visa restrictions on Cuban officials. The US Department of Treasury has also instituted four rounds of financial sanctions against many of the same targets.

According to the State Department:

Those covered include high-ranking members of the Cuban Communist Party responsible for setting national- and provincial-level policies. Instead of ensuring the safety of the Cuban people and respect for their freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly, these officials permitted or facilitated violent and unjust detentions, sham trials, and prison sentences spanning decades for hundreds of protesters.

Cuban diplomat Bruno Rodriguez responded to the newest round of visa restrictions with strong condemnation:

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called the crackdown on the protests last year “abusive.” HRW found multiple cases of children, innocent bystanders and political dissidents being detained. Cuban human rights organization Cubalex has an ongoing spreadsheet documenting how many are still in detention a year later, with a large portion of those still detained being Indigenous or “mestiza,” a term referring to mixed heritage. 

The US has had a fraught diplomatic relationship with Cuba, only restoring diplomatic ties in 2015. The new visa restrictions were announced under Presidential Proclamation 5377, issued by former President Ronald Reagan in 1985.