By John Clise
Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State spokes erson has announced a new round of sanctions against Cuban police in response to the violent repression of peaceful protests in the country.
According to the State Department, on July 22, the United States imposed sanctions on the leader of Cuba’s military and on the Cuban Ministry of the Interior’s Special National Brigade in response to Cuban security forces’ violent suppression of peaceful protesters.
“Today, the United States is announcing additional sanctions in connection with the Cuban regime’s repression of the peaceful protests that started on July 11,”Blinken said. “We take this action pursuant to Executive Order 13818, which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act. Through the Global Magnitsky sanctions program, the United States seeks to impose tangible and significant consequences to discourage malign actors and promote accountability in connection with serious human rights abuse.”
Blinken further noted the State Department is designating the Cuban Revolutionary National Police (Policía Nacional Revolucionaria, PNR) and its leaders, Director Oscar Callejas Valcárcel and Deputy Director Eddy Sierra Arias, in connection with the PNR’s participation in the Cuban government’s suppression of the protests. The PNR, under the leadership of Callejas Valcárcel and Sierra Arias, has attacked and beaten peaceful protesters.
“We recognize the bravery of the Cuban people and the protesters who stood up to the Cuban government’s police-state and sent a message to the world,” Blinken added. “Cubans deserve to have pride in their homeland and the basic necessities of life that the Cuban Communist Party’s failed system has been unable to deliver.”
“We stand in solidarity with the people of Cuba, and today’s designations result in an additional layer of restrictions on the PNR and its leaders, Blinken concluded. “We are making it clear that anyone who supplies Cuba’s brutal police force, the Special National Brigade, the Interior Ministry, or any other Cuban individuals or entities designated under the Global Magnitsky program may face sanctions risk of their own. We will continue to take action to promote accountability for the Cuban government’s human rights abuses.”