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US Treasury Slaps Sanctions on Two Cuban Officials and Military Unit

August 13, 2021 by Victoria Turner
Protests outside the White House calling for U.S. action in Cuba after days of unrest in the island nation. (Photo by Dan McCue)

Cubans have taken to the streets since July demanding a democratic life, and violence against exerting their civil rights will not be tolerated under the U.S. Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act. Friday saw the third set of sanctions by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, reprimanding those responsible for suppressing the Cuban citizens’ human rights and freedoms as they protest against their country’s regime. 

The recipients of the sanctions are two Cuban Ministry of the Interior officials, Romarico Vidal Sotomayor and Pedro Orlando Martinez, along with a military unit of the Ministry of Revolutionary Armed Forces’s Tropas de Prevencion. 

The TDP, which translates to prevention troops, act as the regime’s military police and are nicknamed “Boinas Rojas” for their use of red berets. The release also stated there was evidence of the red beret officers’ recent and “violent engagement with a protestor.” 

The sanctions block the interests and assets of the parties and prohibit them from dealing with anyone under U.S. jurisdiction. That means any property, asset, or interests located in the U.S. or passing through the U.S. are blocked.

Under the 2017 Executive Order 13818, the Global Magnitsky Program was expanded to include and be implemented against human rights abuses and corruption in countries throughout the world. 

Recently, it has been aggressively targeting officials and military units in Cuba due to the protests and subsequent suppression. MININT’s special national brigade and its national revolutionary police were previously sanctioned by OFAC as they have “violently attacked and arrested protesters across Cuba,” today’s release stated. 

MININT itself was the subject of a sanction under this executive order on Jan. 15, prior to these protests, for involvement in “serious human rights abuse.” MINFAR and its leader, Alvaro Lopez Miera, were also slapped with sanctions in July. 

Both Sotomayor and Martinez head the political directorates for MININT and the PNR, respectively. 

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