EFE/14ymedio, Washington/Havana, 6 January 2022 — The US State Department announced on Thursday the imposition of visa restrictions on eight more Cuban officials, whose identities were not disclosed, for the arrest and prosecution of people who participated in the July 11 protests.
“The State Department took measures today to impose visa restrictions on eight Cuban officials implicated in attempts to silence the voices of the Cuban people through repression, unjust detentions and harsh prison sentences,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken explained in a statement.
Blinken said that about 600 protesters remain in jail, some of them “in deteriorating health conditions and without access to food, medicine or calls to their loved ones.”
Although Blinken has not revealed the names of those sanctioned, it could be the prosecutors who have requested excessive sentences against the protesters and whose names have been disseminated in recent days through social networks.
The July 11 protests, unprecedented on the island in more than six decades, brought thousands of Cubans to the streets shouting for freedom and demanding the resignation of President Miguel Díaz-Canel. The demonstrations came amid aggravated food and medicine shortages, prolonged power outages and rampant inflation.
These demonstrations, which included peaceful marches, clashes with the police and occasional looting, were followed by a wave of arrests of hundreds of people critical of the government.
The playwright Yunior García Aguilera, one of the leaders of the Archipelago platform and the main promoter of 15N (15 November), had to leave Cuba after the acts of repudiation against him orchestrated by the regime. After getting off an Iberia flight, together with his wife, Dayana Prieto, he said he was arriving in Spain “with our ideas intact.”
Last November, the United States announced sanctions against nine other Cuban officials against whom it imposed visa restrictions. Through his Twitter account, Secretary of State Antony Blinken then announced the measure and reiterated his administration’s support for the island’s people “in their fight for fundamental freedoms.”
Those sanctions sought to penalize “those who undermine the ability of the Cuban people to improve their political, economic and security conditions” in the face of the repression against the Civic March of 15N, Blinken explained. However, the official did not offer details about who has been the target of these measures.
The State Department, in response to an email sent shortly after from the 14ymedio newsroom, also declined to reveal the names of those punished. “We are taking steps to suspend the entry into the United States of nine people, including high-ranking members of the Ministries of the Interior and the Armed Forces.”
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