The US State Department announced on Tuesday that new visa restrictions had been levied against nine Cuban officials in response to what it called “attempts to silence the voices of the Cuban people through repression and unjust detentions” after US-backed protests planned for November 15 failed to materialize, APA reports citing Sputnik.
According to a news release, the nine unnamed figures include high-ranking members of the Cuban ministries of the Interior and the Revolutionary Armed Forces.
“In the days preceding November 15, the Cuban regime bullied activists with government-sponsored mobs, confined journalists and opposition members to their homes, revoked journalists’ credentials to suppress freedom of the press, and arbitrarily detained Cuban citizens who attempted to peacefully protest,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in the release.
“The designated individuals today took action to deny Cubans their rights to free expression and peaceful assembly," the statement continues. "The rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly are universal.”
The November 15 demonstrations have been triumphed by US officials since they were first announced by an opposition group called Archipelago in mid-September. However, the Cuban government rejected the group’s demands to be allowed to hold the march, citing explicit US endorsement of the demonstration, which came just months after Washington endorsed other protests in Cuba and pledged to seek new ways to support Cuban dissidents.