The U.S. Blacklists High-Ranking Cuban Intelligence Official and His Family Members

Alexandria, Virginia – The U.S. Department of State announced this weekend that the U.S. government had imposed economic sanctions and visa restrictions on a high-ranking Cuban intelligence official and his family for gross violations of fundamental rights in Cuba and Venezuela.

“This is a good development and builds upon President Trump’s reorientation of U.S. policy in the Western Hemisphere. For decades the Communist Party, as well as senior Cuban government officials, have been given free pass by U.S. policymakers and allies in the region,” said Jason Poblete of the Global Liberty Alliance. “Access to the U.S. market is a privilege, not a right. Anyone who engages or facilitates gross violations of fundamental rights should be held to account. This designation is part of that process,” added Poblete.

The State Department November 16 notice states Mr. Julio Cesar Gandarilla Bermejo, Cuba’s Minister of Cuba’s Ministry of the Interior (MININT), had been publicly designated under Section 7031(c) of the FY 2019 Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, due to his involvement, by command responsibility, in gross violations of human rights. The designation can be done publicly or privately. In this case, it was done publicly, likely to send a message to senior Cuban regime officials.

Pursuant to U.S. laws, the Secretary of State can make these designations where the Secretary has credible information that foreign government officials have been involved in significant corruption or a gross violation of human rights (GVHR). When these individuals and their immediate family members are designated, they are deemed ineligible for entry into the United States. In addition to the public designation of Julio Cesar Gandarilla Bermejo, Secretary of State Pompeo publicly designated his children, Julio Cesar Gandarilla Sarmiento, and Alejandro Gandarilla Sarmiento.

The Global Liberty Alliance, in conjunction with several other human rights advocacy groups, urged the Trump administration earlier this year to publicly designate and impose economic sanctions on Cuba’s Office of Religious Affairs. You can read more about it here. In addition, for several years the Global Liberty Alliance has also recommended other designations of senior officials of the Communist Party and the Cuban government.

“Other governments in the Americas and beyond should support the Trump administration’s efforts to hold gross violators of fundamental rights to account. Spain, Canada, the European Union, indeed, any nation with close relations with Cuba should impose economic sanctions and deny visas to senior regime officials and their family members,” added Poblete.

ADN CUBA: U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo urged to sanction Cuban officials for religious freedom crackdown

Por ADN Cuba el 02 Sep 2019 – 7:20pm

Philanthropists, evangelists and lawyers concerned about individual liberty in Cuba recently urged U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to issue new sanctions against regime officials whose job it is to suppress religious freedom on the Communist island. 

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GLA Letter to ICT Industry Leaders on Alleged Weaponization of ICT Technology in Cuba

In response to a request from Cuban civil society and religious leaders a few weeks ago, the Global Liberty Alliance sent a letter of information to ICT industry leaders and U.S. policymakers to raise awareness about alleged weaponization of ICT tools in Cuba. The matter was brought to the Global Liberty Alliance’s attention by a human rights defender and former political prisoner, Mr. Jorge Luis García Pérez (known as “Antúnez”).

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NBC: Family of Cuban-American jailed in Cuba for espionage pleads for U.S attorney, consular visits

** The following story was published by NBC News on September 7, 2018. The original publication can be found here.

Family of Cuban-American jailed in Cuba for espionage pleads for U.S attorney, consular visits

The case of Alina López Miyares runs into Cuba’s policy of considering anyone born in Cuba to be a Cuban national once they step foot on the island.

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TV Martí: Lawyers try to clarify situation of American accused of espionage in Cuba

The following interview with attorney Jason Poblete aired on TV Martí on May 7, 2018.  Based in Alexandria, Virginia, Poblete is part of a team of lawyers trying to clarify the case on an American accused of espionage in Cuba. Since Ms. Miyares was detained and held in Cuba in October 2017, she has been denied consular service by Cuban authorities.

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Subcommittee Hearing: Deplorable Human Rights Violations in Cuba and Venezuela

On November 6, 2015, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs held a Subcommittee Hearing titled: Deplorable Human Rights Violations in Cuba and Venezuela led by South Carolina Representative Jeff Duncan.

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UK NGO: Cuba Pastor Continues to Fight Property Expropriation

Chrisitan Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), a UK-based NGO with offices in the United States, published an update on an ongoing effort to help Cuban families stay in their homes and worship free from government intereference:

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Cuban Government Maintains Campaign Against Property Rights, Religious Liberty

Radio Marti released a follow up report on June 26 discussing the current status of a request for precautionary measures that was submitted by Poblete Tamargo LLP on May 20th to the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights on behalf of Reverend Yiorvis Bravo Denis and the Apostolic Movement in Cuba.

Despite the submission of the precautionary measures, Cuban authorities have continued harassing and intimidating the pastor and church members. Reverend Bravo Denis’ home, which is also used as a church, is under threat of confiscation by the government. The government-sponsored harassment is part of a larger campaign to restrict religious liberty and property rights in Cuba.

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