US Imposes Visa Restrictions on Eight Cuban Officials

© AP Photo / Ramon EspinosaA U.S., and a Cuban national flag, hang from a balcony to mark the restored full diplomatic relations between Cuba and the Unites States, in Old Havana, Monday, July 20, 2015
A U.S., and a Cuban national flag, hang from a balcony to mark the restored full diplomatic relations between Cuba and the Unites States, in Old Havana, Monday, July 20, 2015 - Sputnik International, 1920, 06.01.2022
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In July, violent large-scale protests took place in Cuba due to poor living conditions, caused partly by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the protesters were arrested and the US has imposed sanctions against a number of Cuban police and military officials.
The US Department of State on Thursday introduced restrictions on visa issuance for eight Cuban officials over imprisonments that followed the July 2021 protests, according to Secretary of State Antony Blinken

"The United States took steps to enforce visa restrictions in response to Cuban government attempts to deny Cubans their freedom and rights through continued intimidation tactics, unjust imprisonment, and severe sentences", Blinken said in a statement.

He did not specify the officials' names but said that all of them were connected to the detention, sentencing, and imprisonment of peaceful 11 July protesters. He also noted that approximately 600 protesters in Cuba remain jailed after the July protests.
Cuba has condemned the new US sanctions, with Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez saying that the "US government is persisting in its bad manner to impose its will on other governments via unilateral measures".
On 30 November, the Biden administration imposed visa restrictions against nine high-ranking officials after Cuban authorities refused to sanction a mass protest, planned for 15 November.
Earlier sets of sanctions were introduced against other members of Cuban security agencies and police in July and August.
On 11 July, Cuba faced mass protests that took place in several cities, with participants vandalising shops and other venues. President Miguel Diaz-Canel called on supporters to take to the streets. The US has accused Cuban law enforcement of gross violations of human rights, while Diaz-Canel blamed Washington for organising the riots.
A passenger aircraft from Russia's national airline Aeroflot lands at Cuba's Havana Jose Marti International Airport in 2013. - Sputnik International, 1920, 03.01.2022
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The first US sanctions against Cuba were imposed in the 1960s and restrictive measures were later tightened to the level of a near-total embargo and were coupled with the cessation of diplomatic relations. In 1982, Cuba was included in the US list of states sponsoring terrorism. In 2014, then-President Barack Obama and his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro announced their intention to normalise diplomatic relations. As part of the historic rapprochement, Obama lifted a number of sanctions against Cuba.
Former President Donald Trump restored a number of restrictions, with the trade embargo remaining unchanged. Biden, who pledged to revise the US policy towards Cuba, in September of last year prolonged the sanction packages and extended the trade embargo for another year.
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