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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."

Go deeper

Russia-led alliance sends forces to Kazakhstan as unrest intensifies

A burnt bus is seen by the Almaty mayor's office. Photo: Valery Sharifulin/TASS via Getty Images

A Russia-led military alliance said Thursday it was sending forces to Kazakhstan to help quell the deadly unrest rocking the Central Asian country.

The big picture: Dozens of people, including protesters and police officers, have been killed in more than four days of unrest over what started as outrage over fuel price hikes and has since escalated into some of the worst street violence in Kazakhstan since the former Soviet country's independence in 1991, AP reports.

Updated 6 mins ago - Economy & Business

Tax season nightmare ahead for understaffed IRS

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The IRS will start accepting 2021 tax returns in less than a week, and the filing delays and administrative headaches to come might eclipse last year — which was “one of the worst filing seasons," according to an independent advocacy agency within the IRS.

Why it matters: For taxpayers, especially with complex or paper filings, this means headaches, delayed refunds, and mistakes.

China builds its own movie empire

Expand chart
Data: Gower Street citing Comscore; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

China blocked all four of Disney's Marvel movies from being released in its theaters last year, a grim sign for U.S. film giants being squeezed out of the world's fastest-growing box office.

Why it matters: The Chinese Communist Party is using domestic films as a key conduit for mass messaging aimed at achieving political goals, leaving little room for foreign views.