The Biden administration announced new sanctions Thursday against a Cuban official and a government special brigade that it says was involved in human rights abuses during a government crackdown on protests on the island earlier this month, AP reported.
The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control listed Alvaro Lopez Miera, a Cuban military and political leader, and the Brigada Especial Nacional del Ministerio del Interior, or Interior Ministry Special Brigade, as among those who will face the latest sanctions.
Treasury said in a statement that Lopez Miera “has played an integral role in the repression of ongoing protests in Cuba.”
U.S. President Joe Biden said on Thursday that new U.S. sanctions on Cuba target those responsible for a crackdown on protesters and that they are only the first step in the American response.
"I unequivocally condemn the mass detentions and sham trials that are unjustly sentencing to prison those who dared to speak out in an effort to intimidate and threaten the Cuban people into silence," Biden said in a statement.
The U.S. Treasury announced sanctions on Cuba's defense minister and an interior ministry special forces unit over allegations of human rights abuses in a crackdown on anti-government protests this month.
"This is just the beginning – the United States will continue to sanction individuals responsible for oppression of the Cuban people," Biden said.
The United States is reviewing its remittance policy to "maximize support to the Cuban people," Biden said.
Washington is also committed to restaffing the U.S. Embassy in Havana to provide consular services and engage in civil society "while ensuring the safety of U.S. diplomats serving in Cuba," Biden added.