The Cuban embassy in Paris was attacked with petrol bombs on Tuesday, its staff said, causing damage to the building but no harm to those working inside.
As expected, Cuba’s Foreign Ministry blamed the United States for the attack: “I hold the US Government responsible for its continuous campaigns against our country that encourage these behaviors and for calls for violence, with impunity, from its territory”, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez posted on Twitter.
Cuban embassies in cities across the world have been the scene of demonstrations after the government’s brutal reaction to mass protests that took place on the island in early July.
The foreign ministers of over 20 countries on Monday denounced the mass arrests in Cuba, calling for complete restoration of access to the internet.
WASHINGTON – The United States imposed sanctions on Cuba’s defense minister and the communist nation’s special forces brigade for the suppression of peaceful protests that broke out on the island last week.
The sanctions mark the first steps by the Biden administration to apply pressure on the Cuban government as Washington faces calls to show greater support for the protesters.
President Joe Biden warned the Cuban government that there will be more to come.
“This is just the beginning – the United States will continue to sanction individuals responsible for oppression of the Cuban people,” the president said in a statement Thursday. Previously, Biden said the U.S. stands “firmly with the people of Cuba as they assert their universal rights.”
The Treasury Department singled out Cuban Defense Minister Alvaro Lopez Miera, for having “played an integral role in the repression of ongoing protests in Cuba.”
The sanctions prohibit payments from entities in the United States to Lopez Miera and the special forces, as well as payments from the Cuban entities to the U.S.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said Thursday that the U.S. was working with the private sector and Congress to look for ways to make the internet accessible to the people of Cuba. Price has previously called on the Cuban government to restore full internet and telecommunications.
“The actions of Cuban security forces and violent mobs mobilized by Cuban Communist Party First Secretary Miguel Diaz-Canel lay bare the regime’s fear of its own people and unwillingness to meet their basic needs and aspirations,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrote in a statement.
“We stand with every Cuban seeking a government that respects the human rights and dignity of the Cuban people,” he added.
Over a week ago, thousands of protestors filled the streets over frustrations with a crippled economy hit by food and power shortages.
The rare protests, the largest the communist country has seen since the 1990s, come as the government struggles to contain the coronavirus pandemic, pushing the island’s fragile health-care system to the brink.
“This is huge,” said Sasha Tirador, a top Miami political operative who was briefed on the plans Wednesday night.
MIAMI — President Joe Biden on Thursday plans to slap targeted individual sanctions on Cuba regime officials, bucking the progressive voices in his own party who called for an end to the embargo.
Biden’s response to Cuba — which also includes measures to bring increased internet access to the island and calls for more international pressure on the totalitarian government — was outlined Wednesday night in a call with Democratic Cuban-American activists in Miami who had been calling for more action ever since the July 11 uprisings on the island.
But it’s the proposal to extend the targeted sanctions of the Magnitsky Act, originally passed in response to Russian government oppression and then extended to governments such as Venezuela, that has most encouraged activists who want more pressure on Cuba.
“This is huge,” said Sasha Tirador, a top Miami political operative who was briefed on the plans Wednesday night.
“No administration has ever announced that they will hold each individual who violates human rights on the island of Cuba accountable,” she said.
Tirador and others on the call had been initially frustrated that Biden didn’t immediately react with a response plan for Cuba after the uprisings as Cuban-American Republicans such as Sen. Marco Rubio, also a Miami resident, began questioning the administration’s resolve.
The conservative criticism of Biden’s Cuba response has escalated significantly in recent days, with several high-profile commentators, congressional lawmakers and 2024 Republican White House hopefuls using the unrest to hammer the administration’s foreign policy — all while galvanizing the GOP around anti-communist themes.
They’ve also called for Biden to green light a proposal to launch high-altitude balloons to beam internet access into the island, but the president and administration officials have been cool to the idea because they’re not sure it works. Instead, on the call Wednesday night, officials with the administration said they’re working on an alternative way to provide internet access or what are called virtual private networks, or VPNs, to allow Cubans on the island to communicate freely without the regime spying on them.
Around the same time that Miami Democrats were being briefed, Fox News’ Sean Hannity came to Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood and devoted his hour-long, weeknight show entirely to Cuba’s protests, hosting the program live from Calle Ocho and featuring guests that included Rubio, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and Rep. María Salazar (R-Fla.).
Accusing the president of “great cowardice,” Hannity asked at one point in the broadcast: “What is the Biden doctrine? To kiss the ass of every single, solitary dictator in the world?”
Administration officials last week began to speed up efforts to develop a Cuba plan following the widespread anti-government protests in more than 40 cities across the island.
Prior to the protests, Biden’s team repeatedly made clear that Cuba policy was not a foreign policy priority for the administration. But the protests made the communist-run island nation an unavoidable subject.
Progressives on Twitter were aghast that Biden would move to tighten sanctions and appear to go back on his campaign promise last year to undo the restrictions imposed by former President Donald Trump in 2017. Some skeptics questioned whether targeted sanctions would work.
Rubio, who helped draft those Trump-era sanctions, was silent about Biden’s plans but said in a tweet that Biden should approve the plan for internet access as well as bringing VPN internet services to the island.
For his part, Trump claimed without evidence in a Wednesday Telemundo interview that, if he still were president, “the Cuban crisis may have been over by now because [Cuban regime officials] were getting ready to give it up.”
Cuba’s totalitarian government has lasted for 62 years and 13 U.S. presidents.
Trump also credited his policies in Latin America with the increased support he enjoyed among Florida voters with roots in Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Colombia. And progressive critics of Biden’s suggested that politics factored into his Cuba proposals.
In its Wednesday conference call, the Biden administration had told the participants that it planned to announce the new Cuba policy at 10:30 a.m., but by mid-day no announcement had been made, although an administration official confirmed POLITICO’s reporting later to The Washington Post. The conference call attendees included Miami-Dade Mayor Daniela Levine Cava, Florida Democratic Party Chair Manny Diaz, Florida state Sen. Annette Taddeo, former Rep. Joe Garcia, former Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Hispanic outreach specialist Jose Parra, pollster Fernand Amandi, local radio personality Enrique Santos and Cuba policy specialist Carlos Saladrigas.
All of them praised Cuba’s policy proposals, with many saying it’s a new opportunity for the United States to reorient policy on the island and, perhaps, politics in Florida.
On Monday, the Biden administration announced it would form a working group that will consider remittances for Cuban families and look into increasing the staff at the U.S. embassy in Havana.
Multiple people close to the White House confirmed last week that U.S. officials were exploring using Magnitsky, which also allows the U.S. to impose economic sanctions on individuals believed to be engaged in human rights abuses and corruption.
“As @POTUS directed, we will apply hard-hitting sanctions on Cuban officials who orchestrated these human rights violations,” Julie Chung, the acting assistant secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere, posted on Twitter on Thursday, following a meeting with a Cuban human rights activist.
Sen. Bob Menendez, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a Cuban American Democrat, has been a key figure in talks with the administration, multiple people close to the White House said. Menendez, of New Jersey, has called for the Biden administration to keep strong sanctions against Cuba and work to build international support against the Cuban regime.
“I think it’s important that the administration send a clear message that violence and repression against peaceful protesters is not only condemnable but it can have actions against them,” Menendez told POLITICO last week.
A group of more than 140 Republican lawmakers are calling on the U.S., governments of Central and South America and the European Union (EU) to hold an international criminal tribunal to investigate alleged human rights by the Cuban government amid historic protests in the island nation.
The Republicans, led by Sen. Rick Scott (Fla.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) included the demand in a letter sent to the Organization of American States, the EU and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
The lawmakers wrote in the letter, which was first reported by Politico, that following “more than six decades of brutally oppressive rule, the Cuban people are risking their lives to loudly denounce the disastrous communist regime that has time and time again failed to promote and protect the general welfare of its citizens.”
“The world must stand with them in this critically important moment,” they added. “As the democratically-elected leaders of the world’s free countries, we write to you today to fervently implore you to take action in support of the Cuban people and their democratic aspirations.”
“It is time to finally end the evil and murderous reign of the communist, illegitimate Cuban regime that has murdered, tortured and oppressed for far too long,” the lawmakers said.
The letter specifically called on world leaders to probe reports that “Cuban activists have been regularly kidnapped, unjustly jailed, physically mutilated and murdered.”
“We encourage you to work with us in forming an International Criminal Tribunal for Cuba for crimes against humanity and work to hold the communist regime accountable,” they added.
The GOP senators and House members also urged the international community to “emphatically denounce the illegitimate Cuban regime, hold it accountable for its human rights abuses and immediately end diplomatic relations,” as well as “end all financial support to the regime.” Additionally, the lawmakers wrote that the “world’s democracies must work collaboratively to coordinate democratic assistance for the brave Cuban freedom advocates,” and “do everything in our power to make sure the people of Cuba can communicate with each other and the outside world through unfettered internet access, cellular service, cellular and satellite phones, and other technology that may assist the democratic opposition.”
The demands come as Republicans and Democrats remain largely divided on the best responses to the ongoing Cuban demonstrations amid a severe economic crisis in the country, food shortages and other allegations of corruption by the country’s communist regime.
Some Democrats have seized on the economic and humanitarian crisis as justification to lift the decades-long U.S. embargo on Cuba, while GOP members contend that the Biden administration should maintain a tough stance on the Cuban government.
Officials told The Hill on Tuesday that the White House has established two working groups to evaluate whether to allow remittances to Cuba and reestablish consular services, with a senior administration official s
The Chief of Cuba’s Oriental Army, Gen. Agustín Peña Porres died on Saturday according to Cuba’s official press.
No cause of death was given and there were no previous reports that he was suffering an illness.
Peña was a Delegate to the VIII Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC), held in April, and elected member of its Central Committee. Peña Porres was in charge of the military regions of the provinces of Granma, Holguín (both in the east of the country), and Ciego de Ávila (center) and also directed the Army logistics department.
His body was cremated on the same day he died according to Prensa Latina.
For the hypocrites of the Black Lives Matter movement, the only Black lives that matter are those that are NOT Cuban.
If they are Cuban, then a dictatorship, where 99% of the leadership is white, has carte blanche to kill Black Cubans and also white Cubans.
Today, the BLM asked the U.S. government to end the Cuban embargo. BLM argued that the embargo was “instituted with the explicit intention of destabilizing the country and undermining Cubans’ right to choose their own government”
Choose their own government? Are they so stupid not to know that Cubans have not been able to choose their own government in 62 years?
Not a single word of condemnation against the dictatorship that is beating and killing Cubans of all colors in the island.
As we reported earlier, the founders of the Black Lives Matter movement have described themselves as “trained Marxists.”