The Department of State took steps to impose visa restrictions on eight Cuban officials who were involved in attempts to deny the Cuban people their fundamental rights through intimidation, unjust imprisonment, and severe sentences. Hundreds of protesters across Cuba remain jailed after the July 11 protests, some with worsening health conditions and no access to proper food, medicine, calls or visits from their loved ones or attorneys.
The Department implemented these targeted actions pursuant to Presidential Proclamation 5377, which suspends nonimmigrant entry into the United States of officers and employees of the Cuban government and Communist Party. These eight individuals include Cuban officials connected to the detention, sentencing, and imprisonment of peaceful July 11 protesters.
For those who participated in the July 11th protests, the Cuban government imposed harsh penalties, seeking sentences of up to 30 years in prison. Authorities have repeatedly detained Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara, Maykel Osorbo, and Jose Daniel Ferrer, all of whom are currently in prison simply for giving voice to the Cuban people’s desire for freedom.
In mid-November, the Cuban regime sent security forces and a government-sponsored mob to bully playwright Yunior Garcia, who took part in the 2020 negotiations with the Ministry of Culture and organized calls for another peaceful protest. He has since traveled with his family to Spain.
Cubans have repeatedly asked the government to hear their calls to respect human rights, freedoms of expression and assembly, and democracy. “On every occasion, the regime squandered the opportunity for dialogue, doubling down on a bankrupt ideology and failed economic system that cannot provide for Cubans’ basic needs,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken in an earlier statement.
The latest visa actions reinforce the U.S. commitment to supporting the Cuban people and promoting accountability for Cuban officials who enable the regime’s affront to democracy and human rights. These actions magnify the impact of four Treasury Department sanctions enacted since July 11 and the Department’s November 30 announcement of visa restrictions on nine Cuban officials.
The United States continues to use all appropriate diplomatic and economic tools to push for the release of political prisoners and to support the Cuban people’s call for greater freedom and accountability.