Breaking the veil of impunity: Castro’s defense minister, Leopoldo Cintra Frias, and his children sanctioned by the United States

Further breaking the veil of impunity that the Castro regime has enjoyed is a concrete step forward. Castro’s defense minister,  Leopoldo Cintra Frias, and his children, Deborah Cintra Gonzalez and Leopoldo Cintra Gonzalez were blacklisted today by the United States and sanctioned for his role in repressing Venezuelans.

On September 26, 2019 Raul Castro and his progeny were placed on the sanctions list for his involvement in gross human rights violations. General Castro also ordered the killing of American citizens on February 24, 1996 and should also be held accountable for that crime.

On September 30, 2019 the State Department announced that it was imposing visa restrictions on Cuban officials responsible for exploitative and coercive labor practices that amounts to trafficking in medical doctors.

This is in stark contrast to 2012 when the Castro regime held U.S. citizen Alan Gross hostage in a Cuban prison, in conditions were he lost many of his teeth, and was left emaciated, yet Raul Castro’s grand kid was going on a shopping spree and partying in New York City. This sent a message that the United States was not serious about holding the dictatorship accountable.


Leopoldo Cintra Frias, minister of the MINFAR sanctioned by the United States today.

Reuters, January 2, 2020

U.S. slaps sanctions on Cuba defense minister over support for Venezuela’s Maduro

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States imposed sanctions on Thursday on Cuba’s defense minister, accusing him of human rights violations and supporting socialist Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

Washington blacklisted Leopoldo Cintra Frias, minister of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba (MINFAR), and his children, Deborah Cintra Gonzalez and Leopoldo Cintra Gonzalez, in its latest action targeting Havana for its support of Maduro.

Pompeo said MINFAR had been involved in the torture of Venezuelans and subjected them to “cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment or punishment for their anti-Maduro stances” alongside Maduro’s military and intelligence officers.

The designation bars Cintra, a career military officer who joined Fidel Castro’s rebel army in 1957, and his children from entering the United States.

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,” Pompeo said.

“Dismantling Venezuela’s democracy by terrifying Venezuelans into submission is the goal of MINFAR and the Cuban regime,” Pompeo added.

The United States and more than 50 other countries have recognized Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the legitimate president. Guaido invoked the constitution to assume a rival presidency last year, arguing Maduro’s 2018 re-election was a sham.

But Maduro retains the support of the military, runs the government’s day-to-day operations and is backed by Russia, China and Cuba.

Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis; Editing by Mary Milliken and Peter Cooney

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