Cuba: The United States sanctioned two high-ranking officials of the Castro police for the brutal repression of protests.
The US Department of the Treasury reported that Oscar Callejas, director of the National Revolutionary Police, and Eddy Sierra, deputy director of the force, were added to designated persons.
A week after the first round of sanctions against the Cuban regime for the brutal repression against the protesters who took to the streets of the island on July 11, the United States sanctioned the director and vice-director of the National Revolutionary Police (PNR), an organization that the US Treasury Department also designated.
The Biden administration said the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) had blocked all PNR assets and interests. Its director, Oscar Callejas, and its deputy director, Eddy Sierra, prohibited any citizen US resident or entity do transactions with them.
After announcing the sanctions, the US President, Joe Biden, assured that "unless there is a drastic change, which I do not anticipate, there will be more" warnings against the Castro regime.
The Treasury said in a statement that since the beginning of the July protests," the Cuban regime deployed the PNR, a police unit under the Cuban Interior Ministry, to repress and attack the protesters."
He added that PNR agents had taken pictures of protesters being arrested in Havana, including the July 11 mothers' movement, a group set up to organize families of prisoners and missing persons.
In Camagüey, a city in the center-east of Cuba," a Catholic priest was beaten and detained by the PNR while defending young protesters," said the Treasury, specifying that police agents also beat a group of protesters, including there were several minors, and they "violently" dissolved peaceful protests.
"Today's measure serves to hold accountable those responsible for suppressing the Cuban people's calls for freedom and respect for human rights," said OFAC Director Andrea Gacki, promising new punishments for those who "facilitate the participation of the Cuban regime in serious abuses."
Last week, the United States approved Alvaro Lopez-Meira, Minister of the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR), and an elite military unit known as the "Black Wasp" or "Black Beret.
In a statement, the US Treasury Department announced sanctions, blaming the authorities for cracking down on anti-government protests in Cuba on July 11.
López-Miera is a trusted man of the former Cuban dictator Raúl Castro, who also held minister of the FAR on the island for decades; At the same time, the "black wasps" is the popular name of the elite unit known as the national special brigade of the Ministry of the Interior.
The sanctions block any assets that López-Miera or members of that elite unit may have under US jurisdiction and prohibit people in the United States from negotiating with them.
US President Joe Biden said that this is just the beginning: the United States will continue to punish those responsible for the atrocities against the Cuban people.
The Treasury Department has accused the Lopez Miera-led ministry of playing a pivotal role in suppressing protests in Cuba by arresting or disappearing more than 100 protesters.
As for the special brigade of "black wasp, the Treasury has assured that it was deployed by the Cuban government on July 11 to "suppress" the protests and "attack the protesters," for which it "Responsible for serious human rights violations.
The sanctions are based on the so-called Magnetsky International Law, a US law that bans the United States from freezing financial assets and the travel of human rights violators to any country in the world.
The move shows Biden's interest in tightening his policy on Cuba in light of this month's protests, although during the election campaign, he was promoted by former President Barack Obama (2009-2017). Wale promised to return when it melted.
The White House is also considering other measures, such as re-allowing remittances to Cuba, which have been banned since last November. First, however, it wants to guarantee that the money "reaches the hands of the Cuban people directly," a US official explained to the EFE.
Another move the Biden government is analyzing is the involvement of diplomatic, consular, and civil society and the transfer of more personnel to the US embassy in Havana for "security" reasons.
The president has ordered his government to work with the private sector and Congress to make the Internet "more accessible" in Cuba.