WASHINGTON, July 22 (Hfrance.fr) - The Biden administration plans to announce U.S. sanctions on Thursday against several Cuban officials for their role in cracking down on anti-government protests earlier this month, people familiar with the matter said.
The sanctions shouldbe imposed on security force officials accused of human rights abuses against activists who participated in the largest such protests in decades on the communist-ruled island, the two sources told Hfrance .fr.
This will mark the first concrete steps of President Joe Biden 'the US administration to exert pressure on the Cuban government as Washington is facing calls from US lawmakers and the Cuban-American community to show more support for the protesters.
The speed with which the administration drew up new sanctions, Biden is highly unlikely to soften U.S. enforcement in Cuba soon after his predecessor, Donald Trump, called off a historic Obama-era detente with Havana.
Thousands of Cubans organizedprotests a week ago demonstrate against an economic crisis that has resulted in commodity shortages and power outages. They were also protesting against the government's handling of the coronavirus pandemic and restrictions on civil liberties. Hundreds of activists have been arrested.
Biden had promised during the 2020 campaign to overturn some of Trump's Cuban policies, but the Thursday's announcement does not bode well for an appetite for a return to rapprochement.
At the same time, the administration is still looking for ways to alleviate the humanitarian situation of the Cuban people.
The White House said Tuesday that Biden will form a task force to examine remittances to Cuba following the protests on the island. The aim is to deter mine how Cuban-Americans can send money toow families on the island while keeping funds out of the hands of the Cuban government.
Trump had imposed strict restrictions on the flow of remittances , which previously amounted to billions of dollars a year.
The United States is also working with the private sector and Congress to seek ways to make the Internet more accessible to the Cuban people, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Tuesday.
Price called on the government Cuban to restore full internet and telecommunications to Cubans who were reduced amid the wave of protests.
The Cuban government blamed the protests mainly to the "counter-financing " funded by the United States. revolutionary "exploiting the economic hardship caused by US sanctions.
Sanctions should be imposed under the Global Magnitsky Act, used to punish human rights violators by freezing US assets and banning travel to the US, said one of the sources. But US officials have acknowledged that the targeted Cuban individuals are unlikely to have financial relations with the United States.
NEW MEANING OF 'EMERGENCY
The unrest appears to have injected a new sense of urgency into Biden's broad review of Cuban politics, which began shortly thereafter he took up his post in January. Until now, Cuba had not been treated as a priority item on the agenda as the administration dealt with the economic recovery and the coronavirus pandemic at home and challenges such as China, Russia and Iran abroad.
Cuba, a state department official told Hfrance.fr, is now a " top priority ".
Biden, a Democrat, had sworn during the campaign to ease some of the sanctions against Cuba toughened by Trump, a Republican.
But analysts say the measures To complicate matters, Biden's poorer-than-expected performance among voters in the Cuban-American anti-Communist community in South Florida, which supported Trump's harsh policies towards Havana and Caracas, is unlikely in the short term. and helped him win the state of the battlefield. -testid = "paragraph-18 "> Many analysts say Biden may need to be cautious in Cuban politics ahead of the elections. 2022 Congress. Report by Matt Spetalnick; Editing by Dan Grebler and Cynthia Osterman
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