Special forces troops patrol Prado Avenue after the protests in Cuba, Havana on July 21, 2021.
Yander Zamora | Anadolu Agency | .
WASHINGTON – Sanctions imposed by the United States on of Cuba defense minister and of the Communist nation special forces brigade for repression of peaceful protests that broke out on the island last week.
Sanctions mark the first steps by the Biden administration to lobby on the Cuban government while Washington faces calls to show greater support for the protesters.
“Ministry of Cuba of the Revolutionary Armed Forces, led by Alvaro Lopez Miera, played a fundamental role role in repression of protests in course in Cuba, in that Cuban citizens are calling for the end of 62-year old regime and worsening living conditions in the whole island, as well as demanding access for basic goods and services and medical care, “wrote the Treasury Department in a press release announcing the sanctions.
Last week, thousands of protesters filled the streets over frustrations with a cripple economy hit from food and power shortcomings. The rare protests, the largest the Communist country has seen since the 1990s, come as the government struggles to contain the coronavirus pandemic, pushing the island’s fragile health care system to the brim.
on the heels of protests, President Diaz-Canel Bermudez said his regime was “ready to do anything” to quell the protests, according to a Washington Post report. “We will fight in the streets, “he said, adding that the United States is in part to blame for widespread discontent in Cuba.
The next day, he appeared alongside the members of his government and blamed the United States trade sanctions for hindering Cuba growth.
In response to the comments of the Cuban president, Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters last week that the United States was not to blame for the laundry list of problems that plague Havana.
Blinken said Cubans were “tired” of bad management of the Cuban economy, tired out of lack of adequate food and, of of course, an adequate response to the Covid-19 pandemic “.
“This is what we are hearing and seeing in Cuba, and this is a reflection of the Cuban people, not of the United States or any other outside actor, “said Blinken.
President Joe Biden told White House reporters that the United States is “standing still” with the people of Cuba while asserting their universal rights “.
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