Washington, D.C.—Today, the State Department announced visa sanctions against former Cuban President Raul Castro and his family. Geoff Thale, Vice President for Programs at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), issued the following statement:
“The announcement of visa sanctions against former Cuban President Raul Castro and his four children is an easy political gesture for the Trump administration, but it’s not going to do anything to support diplomatic efforts in Venezuela or protect the human rights of the Cuban people. It is unlikely to generate significant new pressures since we already have comprehensive sanctions in place. And it’s nothing new: hardline policies on Cuba have been applied ad nauseam. While sanctions cause hardships for millions of Cubans, they have failed repeatedly to open political space or to move the Cuban government on its foreign policies.
“Instead of these cynical political ploys that prioritize blunt pandering, a better approach would involve supporting diplomatic efforts to negotiate a peaceful and democratic solution to Venezuela’s crisis, while also backing current congressional efforts to lift the economically crippling Cuban travel ban, as a step toward engaging with Cuba about our concerns.”