Washington – Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated the Cuban Ministry of Interior and the Minister of Interior, Lazaro Alberto Álvarez Casas, for serious human rights abuse, pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13818, which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and targets perpetrators of serious human rights abuse and corruption around the world.
“The Cuban regime has a long history of human rights abuse,” said Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. “The United States will continue to use all the tools at its disposal to address the dire human rights situation in Cuba and elsewhere around the world.”
The Cuban Ministry of Interior (MININT) is responsible for Cuba’s internal security, to include controlling Cuba’s police, internal security forces, and the country’s prison system. Specialized units of MININT’s state security branch are responsible for monitoring political activity, and Cuba’s police support these security units by arresting persons of interest to MININT.
In September 2019, Cuban dissident Jose Daniel Ferrer was held in a MININT-controlled prison in Cuba, where he reported being beaten, tortured, and held in isolation. Additionally, Ferrer received no medical attention while in prison. Lazaro Alberto Álvarez Casas (Álvarez Casas) served as the vice minister of MININT until November 25, 2020, when he was promoted to the position of Minister of the Interior.
MININT is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13818 for being a foreign person who is responsible for or complicit in, or having directly or indirectly engaged in, serious human rights abuse. Álvarez Casas is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13818 for being a foreign person who is the leader or official of MININT, an entity that has engaged in, or whose members have engaged in, serious human rights abuse relating to his tenure.
All property and interests in property of these persons that are blocked pursuant to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 515 (CACR), continue to be blocked. The CACR prohibits persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction from dealing in property in which Cuba or a Cuban national has an interest, unless authorized or exempt. Additionally, pursuant to the Global Magnitsky Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 583, all property and interests in property of the persons above that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked, and all transactions by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons are prohibited unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC, or otherwise exempt. These prohibitions include the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any blocked person or the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.