Biden is set to impose sanctions on communist Cuban officials who are violating human rights by cracking down on island’s freedom protesters
President Biden is on Thursday set to reveal plans to sanction officials in Cuba’s communist regime who violate human rights during the biggest protests in decades.
Biden told Democratic Cuban-American activists on Wednesday that he would target individuals and bring in measures to help residents get access to internet during the uprising against the government.
The sanctions will be imposed under the Global Magnistky Act and will target a a group of officials in Cuba’s Interior and Military forces, the Washington Post reported.
It is not yet clear who will be sanctioned and when they will go into effect.
The Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act allows the president to impose economic sanctions or deny entry to any foreign person identified in human rights abuses or corruption.
Biden will also call for more international pressure on the government after they initiated a crackdown on demonstrators furious about years of oppression and widespread shortages sparked by the COVID pandemic, Politico reported.
The proposal to introduce sanctions goes against progressive Democrats, including Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who have blamed the US embargo for the uprising.
‘No administration has ever announced that they will hold each individual who violates human rights on the island of Cuba accountable’, Miami political operative Sasha Tirador told Politico.
Republicans including Florida Governor Ron Desantis and Marco Rubio have demanded Biden intervene in the Cuba crisis and have upped calls for the administration to help restore internet to the citizens.
They have urged Biden to approve a serious of high-altitude balloons to be deployed off the coast to act as giant WiFi hotspots.
However, according to reports, the administration is now looking into a way to provide internet access via Virtual Private Network, or VPN, to help Cubans get online and stop the government spying on them.
On Thursday night, DeSantis called on the president to ‘step up and be on the side of freedom’ by giving US companies the go-ahead to restore internet to the island nation.
‘The internet access is something we have the capability of doing,’ he said.
‘We have companies in the US that want to do it, but they need the okay of the federal government.’
DeSantis made the comments during a town hall session on Fox News Sean Hannity Wednesday night in Miami’s Cuban district Little Havana.
Dozens of people protesting against the Cuban government gathered for the town hall where Senator Marco Rubio also spoke, branding Biden administration officials of being ‘sympathizers’ of the government’s ‘evil regime.’
Thousands of Cubans have taken to the streets this month in the largest protests the country has seen in more than two decades to demonstrate against chronic shortages of basic goods, power cuts and the Communist government regime.
The government responded by enforcing an internet blackout, leaving much of the island without the ability to communicate and blocking news and images from the protests from being shared.