Biden continues America's anti-Cuba policy, imposes more sanctions
The administration of US President Joe Biden has announced so-called human rights sanctions against Cuba targeting the country's police force and two of its leaders as Biden meets with a group of Cuban-American anti-Havana government individuals at the White House.
The US Treasury Department said on Friday the sanctions were a reaction to "actions to suppress peaceful, pro-democratic protests in Cuba that began on July 11,” referring to recent foreign-backed anti-government protests in the country.
Cuban leaders have held the decades-long US embargo responsible for the economic difficulties of the people.
The US sanctions targeted two Cuban police force leaders as well as the Cuban interior ministry's national police force.
Biden had promised additional sanctions against Cuban leaders, a move supported by many Cuban-Americans who have lobbied against the Cuban government.
There will be more sanctions: Biden
"There will be more, unless there's some drastic change in Cuba, which I don't anticipate," Biden said during a meeting with Cuban-American leaders at the White House.
He claimed, "The United States is taking concerted action to bolster the cause of the Cuban people."
Biden said he had asked the Treasury and State departments to report back in a month on how to allow remittance payments from Americans to Cubans without the Cuban government profiting.
Earlier this month, protests erupted against the government of President Miguel Diaz-Canel as the country experienced its worst economic crisis in 30 years, with shortages of electricity and food exacerbated by the US embargo.
Biden accused the Havana government of “repressing their citizens.” He said that his administration “was considering ways to force open internet restrictions in Cuba.”
The Cuban president said in response, “If President Joseph Biden had sincere humanitarian concern for the Cuban people, he could eliminate the 243 measures implemented by President Donald Trump, including the more than 50 cruelly imposed during the pandemic, as a first step toward ending the blockade.”
Last week, the US Treasury announced sanctions on Cuba's defense minister and an interior ministry special forces unit over allegations of human rights abuses during anti-government protests this month.
Biden said at the time that more sanctions would be coming against "individuals responsible for the oppression of the Cuban people."