Beginning July 11, tens of thousands of Cubans in dozens of cities and towns throughout the country took to the streets to peacefully demand greater freedom and a better future. In response, the Cuban regime has violently repressed the protests, arresting hundreds of demonstrators simply for exercising their fundamental freedoms and human rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.
The actions of Cuban security forces and violent mobs mobilized by Cuban Communist Party First Secretary Miguel Diaz-Canel lay bare the regime’s fear of its own people and unwillingness to meet the demands of the Cuban people to enjoy their human rights.
In response to the repression of the Communist Cuban Regime, the United States imposed sanctions on Minister of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba Álvaro López Miera and the Cuban Ministry of the Interior’s Special National Brigade or “Boinas Negras” or Black Berets. López Miera and the Special National Brigade have been involved in suppressing the protests, including through physical violence and intimidation. Through the Global Magnitsky sanctions program, the United States seeks to impose tangible and significant consequences to discourage malign actors and promote accountability for those who commit serious human rights abuses. If left unchecked, the abuses undermine the values that form stable, secure, and functioning societies.
In an international display of solidarity with the Cuban people, the United States and 20 other democracies condemned the mass arrests in Cuba and called for full restoration of Internet access in the island nation. “Democracies around the world are coming together to support the Cuban people, calling on the Cuban government to respect Cubans’ demands for universal human rights,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
“We stand with every Cuban seeking a government that respects the human rights and dignity of the Cuban people,” said Secretary Blinken, “We will continue to take action to promote accountability for the Cuban government’s human rights abuses, including through additional sanctions.”