HAVANA (Dispatches) – Washington’s new bout of sanctions against Cuban officials is a means to justify the island’s continued economic blockade, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said.
On Friday, the U.S. Treasury imposed sanctions on the Cuban National Revolutionary Police, the head of the force, and his deputy in the latest round of sanctions against the island nation.
“I categorically reject the inclusion of the National Revolutionary Police and its two leaders in illegitimate lists in the U.S. These arbitrary measures, coupled with disinformation and aggression, are used to justify the inhumane blockade of Cuba,” the minister tweeted.
The same day, U.S. President Joe Biden, following a meeting with Cubans, announced that Washington will continue to impose sanctions on individuals in Cuba over alleged abuses.
“President Biden’s meeting with Cuban annexionists is a farce to justify the change of regime operation against #Cuba,” Rodriguez said, adding that the U.S. government is only interested in “Florida’s electoral machinery” and “ignores the claim by Cuban people” and other voters.
Last week, the U.S. imposed sanctions targeting the Cuban military and the interior ministry over alleged crackdown of recent protests earlier in July.
The Cuban diplomat recently held Washington responsible for five days of unrest in the country that led to at least one death and dozens of injuries and more than 100 arrests.
Rodriguez also insisted that Washington was using high-tech digital systems to incite protests in the small island nation close to U.S. southern coast waters.
Cuba is going through its worst economic crisis in 30 years, with chronic shortages of electricity and food exacerbated by hefty U.S. sanctions.
Cuba’s President Miguel Diaz-Canel said in a post on Twitter earlier in the month that the White House “has failed in its efforts to destroy Cuba, despite spending billions of dollars to do so.”
Numerous resolutions by the United Nations General Assembly have indicated that the U.S. blockade of Cuba is against international law.
More than 400 artists, politicians, intellectuals and activists from around the world sent a letter to U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday, urging an end to the blockade and the unilateral coercive provisions against Cuba.
Food, Medical Supplies From Allies
Cuba this week received shipments of food and medical supplies from allies Mexico, Russia and Bolivia in a bid to ease shortages and discontent amid the island’s worst economic crisis in decades and a surge in coronavirus cases.
Authorities started distributing the donations on Friday.
Cuba blames the unrest on U.S.-backed mercenaries exploiting hardships it says were largely brought about by decades of U.S. sanctions and disguising attempts at unrest through the campaign #SOSCuba calling for humanitarian aid.
Now it has taken back the humanitarian relief narrative, with the help of allies that have also blamed the U.S. trade embargo for much of Cuba’s woes.
On Friday, a Mexican navy ship carrying 1,000 tons of beans as well as medical equipment and oxygen for COVID-19 patients arrived in the country.