US sanctions Cuba's defence minister over support for Venezuela's Maduro
Washington blacklists Leopoldo Cintra Frias, Minister of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba, and his children
The US on Thursday imposed sanctions on Cuba's defence minister, accusing him of human rights breaches and supporting Venezuela's socialist President, Nicolas Maduro.
Washington blacklisted Leopoldo Cintra Frias, Minister of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba, and his children, Deborah Cintra Gonzalez and Leopoldo Cintra Gonzalez, in its latest action against Havana for its support of Mr Maduro.
Mr Pompeo said the ministry was involved in the torture of Venezuelans and subjected them to "cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment or punishment for their anti-Maduro stances".
The designation bars Mr Cintra, a career military officer who joined Fidel Castro's rebel army in 1957, and his children from entering the US.
The Cuban embassy in Washington could not immediately be reached for comment.
"As Minister of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba, Cintra Frias bears responsibility for Cuba’s actions to prop up the former Maduro regime in Venezuela," said the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.
"Dismantling Venezuela's democracy by terrifying Venezuelans into submission is the goal of [the ministry] and the Cuban regime.
The US and more than 50 other countries have recognised Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country's legitimate president.
Mr Guaido invoked the constitution to assume a rival presidency last year, saying Mr Maduro's 2018 re-election was a sham.
But Mr Maduro retains the support of the military, runs the government's day-to-day operations and is backed by Russia, China and Cuba.
Updated: January 3, 2020 03:32 AM