Jan 7, 2022 - World

U.S. bans entry for 8 Cuban officials linked to crackdown on protesters

Photo of riot police carrying a detained protester to a police vehicle while other protesters watch from behind

A man is arrested during a demonstration against the government of Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel in Havana on July 11. Photo: Adalberto Roque/AFP via Getty Images

The State Department announced Thursday new visa restrictions for eight Cuban officials who have been implicated in attempts to silence peaceful protests against the government.

Why it matters: Cuban authorities cracked down on civil rights protesters in multiple incidents last year. The eight individuals, who are now banned from entering the U.S., were involved with using "repression, unjust detentions, and harsh prison sentences" as intimidation tactics, according to Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

  • Roughly 600 protesters remain jailed following the massive July 11 demonstrations, Blinken said. Some lack access to proper food and medicine, while others face worsening health conditions.

What they're saying: "These visa restrictions reinforce the U.S. commitment to supporting the Cuban people and promoting accountability for Cuban officials who enable the regime’s affront to democracy and human rights," Blinken said in a statement.

  • "The United States continues to use all appropriate diplomatic and economic tools to push for the release of political prisoners and to support the Cuban people’s call for greater freedom and accountability."
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