The Biden administration announced 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, per the AP. The Treasury Department 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 Lopez Miera “has played an integral role in the repression of ongoing protests in Cuba." Cuba’s Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces, which is led by Lopez Miera, and other Cuban security services have attacked protesters and arrested or disappeared over 100 protesters in an attempt to suppress these protests, according to Treasury.
The regime led by Miguel Diaz-Canel moved quickly, and violently, to stem the protests. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the actions by Cuban authorities, and violent mobs it mobilized, “lay bare the regime’s fear of its own people and unwillingness to meet their basic needs and aspirations.” The Interior Ministry Special Brigade was already sanctioned in January by the Trump administration, which targeted the entire ministry and Interior Minister Lazaro Alberto Alvarez Casas under the Global Magnitsky Act. “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,” President Biden said in a statement.
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