U.S. Sanctions More Cuban Officials Over Crackdown on Protesters

The United States on Aug. 19 sanctioned more Cuban officials in response to the crackdown of anti-government protesters on the Caribbean nation last month.

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions on three Cuban officials “in connection with actions to suppress peaceful, pro-democratic protests in Cuba,” freezing any property they have in the U.S. and blocking any transactions using the U.S. financial system.

OFAC designated the new sanctions on Roberto Legra Sotolongo and Andres Laureano Gonzalez Brito of the Cuban Ministry of Revolutionary Armed Forces, and Abelardo Jimenez Gonzalez of the Cuban Ministry of Interior.

According to OFAC, Legra is the Chief of the Directorate of Operations of the Revolutionary Armed Forces which deployed a military police unit in response to the protests.

Meanwhile, OFAC said that Gonzalez was the Chief of the Central Army and Jimenez was responsible for the treatment of people imprisoned in Cuba.

According to OFAC, Cubans in jail “are prosecuted by Cuban authorities in summary trials, with simplified procedures and often without the chance of hiring a defense lawyer.”

Cuban security forces have arrested over 800 people in response to the protests, OFAC said.

“Today’s action exposes additional perpetrators responsible for suppressing the Cuban people’s calls for freedom and respect for human rights,” OFAC Director Andrea M. Gacki said in a statement.

The new sanctions come as the fourth round in a series of actions against the crackdown on protests, which began in Cuba last July 11.

U.S. President Joe Biden has previously sanctioned several Cuban officials, the national police, and an elite brigade of government forces deployed to stop the protests.

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