This Thursday the U.S. State Department included Minister of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba Leopoldo Cintra Frías and two of his children in its list of people who are prohibited from entering the United States for alleged “serious human rights violations” in support of the government of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a press release that this measure is taken in case of having “credible information” that foreign government officials have been involved in significant corruption or a serious violation of human rights.
Today we designate #Cuba regime official Leopoldo Cintra Frias for his involvement in gross violations of human rights and use of violence to prop up the former Maduro regime in #Venezuela. We will promote accountability for those who abuse human rights, wherever they may reside.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) January 2, 2020
Cintra Frías was included in the list “due to his involvement, for command responsibility, in serious violations of human rights,” the release said.
The measure also affects Deborah Cintra González and Leopoldo Cintra González, the official’s children.
“As Minister of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba, Cintra Frías is responsible for Cuba’s actions in support of the old Maduro regime in Venezuela,” according to the press release.
The State Department pointed out that the Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (MINFAR) has been involved, along with Maduro’s military and intelligence officials, in “serious human rights violations and abuses in Venezuela, including torture or the submission of Venezuelans to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment for their positions against Maduro.”
The Cuban government reacted through a tweet from Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, who condemned these sanctions.
“I strongly reject the decision of the State Department to prohibit the entry to the U.S. of the Minister of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba, a measure without any practical effect, threatening and slanderous,” he wrote on Twitter.
Rechazo enérgicamente decisión del Dpto de Estado de prohibir la entrada a #EEUU del Ministro de las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de #Cuba, medida sin ningún efecto práctico, amenazadora y calumniosa. Reitero nuestra invariable solidaridad con #Venezuela. #CubaVsBloqueo
— Bruno Rodríguez P (@BrunoRguezP) January 3, 2020
In 2019 the United States also applied similar sanctions against former Cuban President Raúl Castro and Minister of Interior Vice Admiral Julio César Gandarilla.
What was alleged in all cases was these persons’ direct support to the Venezuelan government of Nicolás Maduro.
In his tweet rejecting the sanctions, the Cuban Foreign Minister reiterated Cuba’s “unwavering solidarity” with Venezuela.