WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned two Cuban individuals and one Cuban entity pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13818, which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and targets perpetrators of serious human rights abuse and corruption around the world. Today’s sanctions expand upon Treasury’s July 22, 2021 designations by sanctioning additional persons in connection with actions to suppress peaceful, pro-democratic protests in Cuba that began on July 11. The targets of today’s designations are OSCAR CALLEJAS VALCARCE (CALLEJAS), EDDY SIERRA ARIAS (SIERRA), and the POLICIA NACIONAL REVOLUCIONARIA (PNR) of the Cuban Ministry of the Interior (MININT).
“The Treasury Department will continue to designate and call out by name those who facilitate the Cuban regime’s involvement in serious human rights abuse,” said Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control Andrea M. Gacki. “Today’s action serves to further hold accountable those responsible for suppressing the Cuban people’s calls for freedom and respect for human rights.”
SANCTIONS ON CUBA
In addition to the sanctions imposed today under the Global Magnitsky program, OFAC continues to enforce the Cuba sanctions program, which is the most comprehensive sanctions program administered by OFAC. With exceptions to ensure that certain categories of economic activity are allowed that directly benefit the Cuban people, OFAC administers an economic embargo on Cuba that prohibits U.S. persons (and entities owned or controlled by U.S. persons) from engaging in transactions and providing services that may sustain the Cuban regime. In addition, all Cuban nationals are blocked—regardless of whether they appear on Treasury’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List). The Treasury Department will continue to enforce these prohibitions consistent with applicable statutes and regulations.
VIOLENT REPRESSION OF PROTESTORS IN CUBA
Since the beginning of the July 2021 protests in Cuba, the Cuban regime deployed the PNR, a police unit under the Cuban MININT, to suppress and attack protesters. Led by Director CALLEJAS and Deputy Director SIERRA, the PNR was photographed confronting and arresting protestors in Havana, including the Movement of July 11 Mothers, a group founded to organize families of the imprisoned and disappeared. In Camagüey, a Catholic priest was beaten and arrested by the PNR while he was defending young protesters; officers of the PNR also beat a group of peaceful demonstrators, including several minors. Additionally, there have been several recorded instances in which the PNR used clubs to violently break up peaceful protests across Cuba.
The PNR is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13818 for being owned or controlled by, or for acting or purporting to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, MININT. MININT was previously designated by OFAC pursuant to E.O. 13818 on January 15, 2021 for being a foreign person who is responsible for or complicit in, or having directly or indirectly engaged in, serious human rights abuse. CALLEJAS and SIERRA are being designated pursuant to E.O. 13818 for acting or purporting to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the PNR.
All property and interests in property of these persons that are blocked pursuant to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 515 (CACR), continue to be blocked. The CACR prohibits persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction from dealing in property in which Cuba or a Cuban national has an interest, unless authorized or exempt. Additionally, pursuant to the Global Magnitsky Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 583, all property and interests in property of the persons above that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked, and all transactions by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons are prohibited unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC, or otherwise exempt. These prohibitions include the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any blocked person or the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.