WATCH: Reporter Grills Biden Admin Over Their Sanctions On Cuba: ‘It Doesn’t Do Anything New’

WATCH: Reporter Grills Biden Admin Over Their Sanctions On Cuba: ‘It Doesn’t Do Anything New’

The Biden administration was grilled by an Associated Press reporter on Wednesday over the administration’s alleged actions sanctioning entities in Cuba over the communist regime’s crackdown on pro-freedom protesters.

The sanctions target Alvaro Lopez Miera, the head of the armed forces in Cuba, and the Cuban Ministry of the Interior’s Special National Brigade, known as the “black berets,” for their involvement in the crackdown after historic protests in more than 40 cities across the island.

Associated Press reporter Matt Lee grilled State Department spokesman Ned Price over the matter during a press briefing this week, saying that Biden administration “designated one person and an entity that was already covered by Global Magnitsky sanctions that were imposed by the Trump administration in January.”

“So, I don’t understand why you think that this is such a big deal,” Lee added.

The two had the following exchange (video featured below):

PRICE: Well, Matt, let me first give you a bit of context to make sure this is understood in the right light. As we have said, since the onset of the peaceful protests across the island of Cuba, we will stand with the Cuban people, who are exercising their universal rights of peaceful protest, peaceful assembly, freedom of speech. We will look at additional ways we can support them. We have spoken to the formation of a remittance working group. We have spoken about the ways in which we are seeking to expand internet access so that the Cuban people can practice that freedom of expression and have the free flow of information to which they are entitled. We have spoken to our review of how we might augment our staffing at our embassy in Havana.

But we have also said that we are going to hold to account those Cuban individuals and entities responsible for the crackdown on this peaceful protest. And I said yesterday that the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control is exploring designating Cuban officials, Cuban entities, responsible for violence, repression, human rights violations against those who are perpetrating this in Cuba.

So, you are right; we designated through the Global Magnitsky sanctions regime one individual and one entity today. This I do not expect will be the sum total of our actions. We’re going to continue to review what more we can do not only to support the Cuban people, but also, again, importantly to hold to account those who would be so brazen in their efforts and attempts to violate the human rights of the Cuban people. So —

LEE: Okay. But I mean, the special brigade of the interior ministry was already covered by Global Magnitsky sanctions. So, you – so you’ve – you’ve added another designation on – I just don’t – the impact of this seems to me whatever the impact would have been – it seems to have been – it seems to be negligible, since they were already covered. So, I don’t quite understand how it is that you are presenting this as some grand new initiative to support the Cuban people, when in fact it’s simply adding another layer, which was really unnecessary, since they already were covered by the sanctions.

PRICE: I would make a couple points. Number one, the Global Magnitsky sanctions regime is an important tool we have that is applicable —

LEE: It is. But they were already under it.

PRICE: — that is – Alvaro Lopez Miera was?

LEE: No, I’m talking about the – that’s one person, okay, who most likely doesn’t have any assets or any dealings with American citizens.

PRICE: Just – just so – just so no —

LEE: So, let’s talk about what the real impact would be, would be if you designated the whole entity of the – a part of the interior ministry, like with the Iran sanctions, okay? That would have a much bigger impact, whatever that impact would be. But the fact of the matter is that they were already covered by Global Magnitsky sanctions. The exact same sanction, the exact same executive order was used to do this, and it doesn’t have any – it doesn’t do anything new.

WATCH:

PRICE: Just – just so – just so no —

LEE: So, let’s talk about what the real impact would be, would be if you designated the whole entity of the – a part of the interior ministry, like with the Iran sanctions, okay? That would have a much bigger impact, whatever that impact would be. But the fact of the matter is that they were already covered by Global Magnitsky sanctions. The exact same sanction, the exact same executive order was used to do this, and it doesn’t have any – it doesn’t do anything new.

 

TRANSCRIPT:

QUESTION: You designated one person and an entity that was already covered by Global Magnitsky sanctions that were imposed by the Trump administration in January. So, I don’t understand why you think that this is such a big deal.

MR PRICE: Well, Matt, let me first give you a bit of context to make sure this is understood in the right light. As we have said, since the onset of the peaceful protests across the island of Cuba, we will stand with the Cuban people, who are exercising their universal rights of peaceful protest, peaceful assembly, freedom of speech. We will look at additional ways we can support them. We have spoken to the formation of a remittance working group. We have spoken about the ways in which we are seeking to expand internet access so that the Cuban people can practice that freedom of expression and have the free flow of information to which they are entitled. We have spoken to our review of how we might augment our staffing at our embassy in Havana.

But we have also said that we are going to hold to account those Cuban individuals and entities responsible for the crackdown on this peaceful protest. And I said yesterday that the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control is exploring designating Cuban officials, Cuban entities, responsible for violence, repression, human rights violations against those who are perpetrating this in Cuba.

So, you are right; we designated through the Global Magnitsky sanctions regime one individual and one entity today. This I do not expect will be the sum total of our actions. We’re going to continue to review what more we can do not only to support the Cuban people, but also, again, importantly to hold to account those who would be so brazen in their efforts and attempts to violate the human rights of the Cuban people. So —

QUESTION: Okay. But I mean, the special brigade of the interior ministry was already covered by Global Magnitsky sanctions. So, you – so you’ve – you’ve added another designation on – I just don’t – the impact of this seems to me whatever the impact would have been – it seems to have been – it seems to be negligible, since they were already covered. So, I don’t quite understand how it is that you are presenting this as some grand new initiative to support the Cuban people, when in fact it’s simply adding another layer, which was really unnecessary, since they already were covered by the sanctions.

MR PRICE: I would make a couple points. Number one, the Global Magnitsky sanctions regime is an important tool we have that is applicable —

QUESTION: It is. But they were already under it.

MR PRICE: — that is – Alvaro Lopez Miera was?

QUESTION: No, I’m talking about the – that’s one person, okay, who most likely doesn’t have any assets or any dealings with American citizens.

MR PRICE: Just – just so – just so no —

QUESTION: So, let’s talk about what the real impact would be, would be if you designated the whole entity of the – a part of the interior ministry, like with the Iran sanctions, okay? That would have a much bigger impact, whatever that impact would be. But the fact of the matter is that they were already covered by Global Magnitsky sanctions. The exact same sanction, the exact same executive order was used to do this, and it doesn’t have any – it doesn’t do anything new.

MR PRICE: Just so we’re not having a conversation just with each other, let me just level set with everyone.

QUESTION: Well, I’ll be – I’m done after that.

MR PRICE: Well, so as Matt alluded to, we have imposed sanctions on the minister of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba, Alvaro Lopez Miera, as well as the Ministry of the Interior’s Special National Brigade. These – this individual, this entity, we have targeted them as part of our effort – that is not over, to be sure – to hold to account those actors in Cuba who have been responsible for the crackdown, for the repression, for the human rights abuses on those in Cuba who are doing nothing more than exercising their universal rights.

Now, we obviously do have a well-developed sanctions regime in place that covers different elements and entities in Cuba. That said, the embargo and the other sanctions tools – they do have carveouts. They have carveouts for a number of reasons. It is absolutely true that by sanctioning this individual and this entity some of those carveouts are closed, that there will be repercussions and implications for this individual and this entity. And it’s an important signal of our determination to hold accountable those responsible for this.

This article posted on: www.dailywire.com