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Biden announces new sanctions on Cuba over alleged abuses

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Washington | July 31, 2021 6:45:10 AM IST
The Biden administration outlined a number of efforts related to its Cuba policy on Friday -- including new sanctions and assistance to Cuban dissidents -- as President Joe Biden met with members of the Cuban-American community and key members of Congress at the White House.

"Earlier this month Cubans took to the street in a show of the will of the people of Cuba. The regime responded with violence and repression, mass detentions, sham trials and people disappearing who have spoken out," Biden said during the meeting at White House, detailing the US efforts related to remittances, staffing at the US embassy in Cuba and internet access on the island, CNN reported.

Biden during remarks at the White House said the United States will continue to impose sanctions on individuals in Cuba over alleged abuses.

"We're going to continue to add sanctions on individuals that carry out their regime's abuses," Biden said.

Earlier in the day, the US Treasury imposed sanctions on Cuban National Revolutionary Police and the head of the force in its latest round of sanctions against the island nation.

Cuba's government controls the financial sector and all communications on the island, and Biden has said he believes that under the current circumstances the remittances would end up in the hands of the regime.

Circumventing the government to send money or improve and expand internet access is a challenge other US administrations have tried and failed to overcome, but the issue has taken on increased urgency in the wake of the historic and widespread protests, CNN further reported.

The President indicated that the US is "increasing direct support for the Cuban people by pursuing every option available to provide internet access to help...the Cuban people bypass the censorship that's being mandatorily imposed." Biden had previously said his administration was working with civil society organizations and the private sector "to provide internet access to the Cuban people that circumvents the regime's censorship efforts."

Friday's meeting took place weeks after Cuba saw the largest protests in decades, when thousands took to the streets to protest lack of food and medicine as the country undergoes a grave economic crisis aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic and US sanctions.

Meanwhile, Democrats are also under pressure to take a tougher line against the Cuban regime amid inroads former President Donald Trump made in 2020 among Cuban-Americans in Florida. (ANI)

 
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