US sanctions Cuban security chief and special forces over crackdown on protests

US sanctions Cuban security chief and special forces over crackdown on protests

The US has imposed sanctions on a Cuban security minister and an interior ministry special forces unit for alleged human rights abuses in a crackdown on anti-government protests this month. The move marked the first concrete steps by Joe Biden’s administration to apply pressure on Cuba’s Communist government as it faces calls from US lawmakers and the Cuban American community to show greater support for the biggest protests to hit the island in decades. The speed with which the administration has crafted new sanctions further signals Biden is highly unlikely to soften the US approach to Cuba any time soon after his predecessor, Donald Trump, rolled back a historic Obama-era détente with Havana. “This is just the beginning,” Biden said in a statement, expressing condemnation for “mass detentions and sham trials”. “The United States will continue to sanction individuals responsible for oppression of the Cuban people,” he said. The Cuban foreign minister, Bruno Rodríguez, in a message on Twitter, rejected the sanctions as “unfounded and slanderous” and urged the US to apply such measures to its own record of “systematic …
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