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Rubio Presses Blinken to Update Cuban Regime’s Restricted Entities List

Nov 29, 2023 | Press Releases

In 2017, the U.S. Department of State published the Cuba Restricted Entities List to prohibit transactions with entities affiliated with the Ministry of the Interior (MININT) and/or the Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (MINFAR), which are responsible for countless human rights abuses against the Cuban people. The list has not been updated since 2021 and dictator Díaz-Canel, and members of the Cuban military, have taken advantage of the situation to create new entities to illegally bypass existing sanctions and to conduct transactions with American private industries. 

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, urging he update and add new entities affiliated with MININT and MINFAR on the list. 

  • “There is no reason for Americans to be complicit in the ongoing human rights violations against the Cuban people. I urge you to immediately update the List of Restricted Entities and Subentities Associated with Cuba in order to account for new hotels and facilities opened since January 2021 and close this glaring gap in our nation’s sanctions policy on the communist regime in Cuba.”

Looking Forward… In February 2024, the singer Norah Jones plans to make an “educational visit” to Cuba and will take fellow Americans to Havana where they will stay in the Grand Aston Hotel. This hotel is owned by the Cuban regime and bypasses the Cuban Restricted Entities List since its opening date was in 2022. 

The full text of the letter is below. 

Dear Secretary Blinken: 

As you know, the people of Cuba live under one of the most oppressive governments in the world. Two entities, the Ministry of the Interior (MININT) and the Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (MINFAR) are the strong hands of the authoritarian regime that arbitrarily detain, inhumanely torture, and extrajudicially execute dozens of the regime’s perceived political opponents every year. Moreover, of the hundreds of the peaceful protesters detained by the regime since the historic protests of July 11, 2011, more than 45 are children under the age of 17. In order to finance this extensive apparatus of nationwide oppression, both MININT and MINFAR operate hotels, tourism agencies, marinas, stores and financial institutions. 

The U.S. Department of State published the Cuban Restricted Entities List in 2017 to prohibit U.S. persons from engaging in transactions with MININT, MINFAR, and their affiliated companies. Unfortunately, since January 2021 when the list was last updated, MININT and MINFAR have established dozens of new hotels and companies that fall outside the scope of the Cuban Restricted Entity List. For example, Grupo de Turismo Gaviota, a hotel holding company owned by MINFAR, opened the Hotel Grand Aston in Havana in March 2022. Because Hotel Grand Aston is not included on the Restricted Entities List, it is possible for people, like Norah Jones, to organize so-called “educational visits” for American tourists to pay considerable sums of money to Gaviota and thereby fund the ongoing repression, the detention and the torture of Cuban children and political prisoners. 

There is no reason for Americans to be complicit in the ongoing human rights violations against the Cuban people. I urge you to immediately update the List of Restricted Entities and Subentities Associated with Cuba in order to account for new hotels and facilities opened since January 2021 and close this glaring gap in our nation’s sanctions policy on the communist regime in Cuba. 

Thank you for your attention to this matter. 

Sincerely,