The United States Department of State announced this Saturday that it will impose travel restrictions on 28 Cuban officials for their role in the repression of the anti-government protests of July 11, 2021 in that country.
The restrictions will suspend “the non-immigrant entry to the United States of officials and employees of the Cuban Government and the Cuban Communist Party,” according to a statement issued this morning by the office and signed by Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Although the announcement does not go into detail about the people who will be affected by these sanctions, it does specify that among them there are “high-level members” of the party “responsible for determining national and provincial policies.”
The head of US diplomacy accused these officials of allowing or facilitating police violence and the imprisonment of hundreds of protesters.
Also included in the travel restrictions are several officials “who work in the state communications and media sectors and who formulate and implement policies that restrict the ability of Cubans to freely access and share information,” according to the department. .
The letter also accuses these people of spreading disinformation.
This is not the first time that the United States has imposed visa restrictions on Cuban officials for their role in the repression of the July 11 protests.
In January, the State Department made a similar announcement about eight other officials, whose identities it also did not reveal.
The July 11 protests, unprecedented on the island in more than six decades, erupted due to food and medicine shortages, blackouts and the effects of the economic crisis, aggravated by the pandemic.
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 regime.
Meanwhile, human rights organizations consider it unlikely that anti-government demonstrations will take place in Cuba in the short term, such as those of July 11, 2021, given that the Cuban State “has increased its tools of social and physical control” since then.
“They are specialists in the inhibitory effect,” Laritza Diversent, executive director of the Cubalex organization, told the EFE news agency. If there is any protest, “violence” could occur on both sides.
Diversent, who has asylum in the US, spoke in this way in the framework of the presentation of a report by Cubalex and Justicia 11J in which it is highlighted that after the 11J protests there were at least 1,484 documented arrests, of which 1,297 could have been verified through testimonies or documents from the Prosecutor’s Office and the Cuban courts.
According to the document, so far a total of 701 people, aged between 12 and 68, are still detained in Cuban prisons due to 11J.