"The Department is publicly designating Leopoldo Cintra Frias, Minister of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba (MINFAR), under Section 7031(c) of the FY 2019 Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, due to his involvement, by command responsibility, in gross violations of human rights," Pompeo said in a statement on Thursday.
Designation under Section 7031(c) makes foreign government officials and their immediate family members ineligible for entry into the United States. Cintra Frias was designated together with his two children.
Pompeo claimed that the minister was an accomplice in suppressing the Venezuelan opposition.
"Alongside Maduro’s military and intelligence officers, MINFAR has been involved in gross human rights violations and abuses in Venezuela, including torturing or subjecting Venezuelans to cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment or punishment for their anti-Maduro stances," he said.
Today we designate #Cuba regime official Leopoldo Cintra Frias for his involvement in gross violations of human rights and use of violence to prop up the former Maduro regime in #Venezuela. We will promote accountability for those who abuse human rights, wherever they may reside.— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) January 2, 2020
Venezuela has faced political crisis since last January when opposition leader Juan Guaido proclaimed himself interim president in a bid to oust actual Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro from power. The United States and a number of Western countries have recognized Guaido, while Russia, China, Cuba, Turkey and numerous other states have said they recognize Maduro as the only legitimate president of Venezuela.
Maduro has accused Guaido of being a US puppet, working with Washington to orchestrate a coup to force a change of government so that the United States can control Venezuela’s vast natural resources.