President Joe Biden is preparing to sanction officials from Cuba after the government cracked down on recent protests and cut off internet access for its citizens. That’s according to a report Thursday morning from POLITICO.
Those sanctions will come via the Magnitsky Act, which was originally used to sanction Russian government officials after the death of Sergei Magnitsky in a Russian prison. However, the U.S. government has since extended that act’s authority to target Venezuelan officials. Now, Biden will use those sanctions to pressure the Cuban regime.
Biden released a statement supporting Cuban protesters on July 12, one day after those demonstrations spread throughout the country and went viral on social media. Those videos inspired Floridians to march in solidarity with Cubans standing up to the communist regime and demanding basic needs — such as food supply and health care.
Many Republicans, such as Gov. Ron DeSantis, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and U.S. Reps. Carlos Giménez and María Elvira Salazar, pushed Biden to help restore internet access for the Cuban population. Some progressive Democrats also called on Biden to lift the U.S. embargo on Cuba to help provide more resources to Cuban citizens, while other Democrats have said the embargo is not the issue.
In addition to sanctions, the Biden administration is also considering relaxing U.S. policy restricting remittances to Cuba. Biden has expressed concern that those remittances would be seized by the Cuban government, but is reportedly exploring whether it’s possible to get those donations into Cuban citizens’ hands.
The issue has gotten particular attention in Miami-Dade County, home to many refugees from Cuba and other Latin American autocracies. This week, the Miami-Dade County Commission signed onto an item from Commissioner Rene Garcia calling on Biden to increase pressure on Cuba’s government, including ramping up sanctions.
“It’s been 60 years that the Cuban people have been struggling with the brutal dictatorship that exists here now,” Garcia said in discussing the resolution.
“It’s important for us to do whatever we can do to make sure we support not only the Cuban people on the island but to make sure that we keep the pressure on this administration to hopefully one day have free and open elections on the island of Cuba and make sure that the people of that island are once and for all not oppressed by this dictator that has been murdering and killing people for the last 60 years.”