On October 18, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) imposed new sanctions against Cuba while the State Department denounced Cuba’s detention of dissident Jose Daniel Ferrer.
The BIS revoked “existing licenses for aircraft leases to Cuban state-owned airlines, and will deny future applications for aircraft leases.” This was based upon the Department’s assertion that “the Cuban regime is resorting to transporting tourists on leased aircraft subject to BIS jurisdiction.”
Additionally, “BIS is expanding Cuba sanctions to include more foreign goods containing U.S. content, and is imposing additional restrictions on exports to the Cuban regime.” According to a regulation set for October 21 publication, the Export Administration Regulations will be amended so that goods with as little as 10% U.S. content will be subject to U.S. jurisdiction and, thus, require a license from the U.S. Department of Commerce for export or reexport to Cuba. Previously, the policy only applied to goods with 25% or greater U.S. content. In addition, the amendment will, prohibit certain donations to the Cuban government and communist party and clarify the scope of telecommunications items that the Cuban government may receive without a license.
This action, says the Department, “supports the Administration’s earlier decision to hold the Cuban regime accountable for repressing its own people as well as continuing to provide support to the illegitimate Maduro regime which has terrorized the Venezuelan population and wantonly destroyed the once-prosperous economy relied on by millions.”
The Department’s Secretary, Wilbur Ross, said, “This action . . . sends another clear message to the Cuban regime – that they must immediately cease their destructive behavior at home and abroad. The Trump Administration will continue to act against the Cuban regime for its misdeeds, while continuing to support the Cuban people and their aspirations for freedom and prosperity.”
Cuba’s President Miguel Diaz-Canel in a tweet said these new sanctions were “an expression of impotence, moral degradation and imperial contempt. It is an inhuman, cruel, unjust and genocidal act that we strongly reject. We will not give up. and we will give sovereign answer.”
A similar tweet came from Cuba Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez: these are “additional acts of economic blockade, representative of a moral bankruptcy policy, internationally isolated and promoted by a corrupt government. The Cuban people will continue to give due and sovereign response.”
Denouncing Cuban Detention of Dissident
The Cuban dissident who has been detained is Jose Daniel Ferrer, the founder of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU).
According to the State Department, “On October 1, “Castro regime officials detained Mr. Ferrer and several other human rights defenders in Santiago de Cuba. Mr. Ferrer reportedly has still not been informed of any charges against him, and has been denied access to a lawyer and to medical care. Mr. Ferrer’s family has not been permitted contact with him since October 4.” In addition, other “UNPACU activists Roilan Zarraga Ferrer, José Pupo Chaveco, and Fernando González Vailant also remain in custody.”
“Ferrer’s case is one more example of the Castro regime’s continuous and flagrant violation of human rights, which has recently escalated into a wave of repression against freedoms of speech, expression, and religion. The United States will not allow these abuses against the Cuban people to go unnoticed or unanswered. We will continue to increase sanctions and trade restrictions to diminish the resources available to the Cuban regime, which uses its income to suppress its own citizens and to prop up other regimes with shameful human rights records, including the former Maduro regime in Venezuela.”
Therefore, the U.S. “strongly condemns the Cuban regime’s unconscionable detainment of . . . [Senor] Ferrer, founder of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU). We call on the Castro regime to immediately disclose Mr. Ferrer’s location and condition, to treat him humanely, and to release him from detention without condition.”
Similar protests of this detention have been registered by UNPACU, Cuba’s Legal Information Center (CUBALEX), Cuban Prisoners Defenders, Freedom House and Amnesty International.
 Commerce Dep’t, U.S. Department of Commerce Further Tightens Cuba Sanctions (Oct. 18, 2019); Reuters, U.S. Hits Cuba With New Sanctions Over Human Rights, Venezuela, N.Y. Times (Oct. 18, 2019); Assoc. Press, U.S. slaps new sanctions on Cuba over human rights, Venezuela, Wash. Post (Oct. 18, 2019);Center for Democracy in Americas, U.S. restricts additional exports and re-exports to Cuba, U.S.-Cuba News Brief: 10/18/2019.
 State Dep’t, Detention of Cuban Human Rights Defender José Daniel Ferrer (Oct. 18, 2019); The arrest of José Daniel Ferrer is ‘a mechanism of repression against all civil society,’ Diario de Cuba (Oct. 17, 2019); Cuban Prisoners Defenders denounces the Cuban regime in Geneva for the case of José Ferrer, Diario de Cuba (Oct. 17, 2019).