The US government has imposed sanctions on Cuban officials who they say , committed rights abuses during a crackdown on protests earlier in July.
The ruling by President Joe Bide's administrationn intervenes amid pressure from Cuban Americans and politicians to respond to anti-regime protests.
The United States is also exploring ways to keep Internet access open on the island.
The July 11 protest was the largest in Cuba in years. decades. Hundreds of people were arrested and at least one protester was killed.
Cuba blamed the United States and its economic sanctions for the protests and more broadly Cuba's problems. The United States has said it supports the Cuban people in claiming their rights.
Protesters said they were angry with the collapsing economy, food and drug shortages, price hikes and the government's handling of Covid-19.
Sanctions announced Thursday target Defense Minister General Alvaro Lopez Miera, and Interior Ministry special forces unity, blocking all US assets and transactions with the Americans.
"This is just the beginning," Biden said in a statement. "The United States will continue to sanction those responsible for the oppression of the Cuban people.
During the presidential race, Mr. Biden pledged to reverse economic and tourism policies of then President Donald Trump against Cuba.
Former President Barack Obama reestablished diplomatic relations with Havana in 2015.
White House officials have said Biden may increase the number of Havana Embassy staff in a bid to support the Cuban people. earlier this week, the White House also formed a group to discuss ways for Cubans living abroad to send money home in a way that avoids government-controlled banks.
In recent weeks, Cuban Americans, especially those in Florida who backed Mr. Trump in the 2020 election, have strongly criticized Mr. Biden's response to the protests.
"Cuba's policy puts Joe Biden in an impasse, caught between those on the left who aspire to a return to diplomaObama-era advocacy and hard-line advocacy in Cuba, especially on the key Florida electoral battlefield, "said Anthony Zurcher, senior North American reporter for Hfrance.fr .
"It's a delicate balance that can leave no one satisfied.