Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

There are only a few days left in our critical Mid-Year Campaign and we truly might not make it without your help.
Please join us. If you rely on independent media, support Common Dreams today. This is crunch time. We need you now.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

"End the Embargo Now" sign

Protesters in Minneapolis demand that the Biden administration take immediate action to reverse the actions taken by the Trump administration to deepen the economic war against Cuba. (Photo: Michael Siluk/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Progressives Denounce Biden's Cuba Sanctions, Demanding End to US Embargo

"This seems like a move to placate Cuban-Americans who were frustrated with Biden's lack of immediate response rather than something that will directly help Cubans on the island."

Julia Conley

Progressives on Thursday denounced the Biden administration as the White House announced plans to hit Cuban officials with new targeted sanctions amid recent protests in the Caribbean country—going back on President Joe Biden's campaign promise to reverse his predecessor's Cuba policies and ignoring calls from the Democratic Party's left wing to lift the U.S. trade embargo on the island.

Biden reportedly announced his plans regarding Cuba policy in a Wednesday night call with Democratic Cuban-American activists who had been calling for aggressive action since protests erupted on the island earlier this month.

"Exactly how is this going to help my family in Cuba get access to food, vaccines, etc.?"
—Rebekah Entralgo Fernández,

Cubans have taken to the streets to protest over food and medicine shortages, which, as peace activist Medea Benjamin of CODEPINK and Latin American policy expert Leonardo Flores wrote Thursday, the U.S. has played a "critical role" in creating with the "brutal economic war" it's waged on Cuba for the last six decades.

While campaigning in 2020, Benjamin and Flores wrote, Biden criticized former President Donald Trump's 243 punishing sanctions that devastated Cuba's tourism and energy sectors, compounded by the coronavirus pandemic and travel shutdowns, and pledged to work to normalize relations as former President Barack Obama had. 

"But now the administration appears to be torn between factions in the Democratic Party that want a tough stance on Cuba for electoral purposes in Florida and those pushing for re-engagement," wrote Benjamin and Flores.

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), who is Cuban-American, recently called on the administration to "send a clear message that violence and repression against peaceful protesters is not only condemnable but it can have actions against them," amid reports that hundreds of Cuban protesters have been detained. 

Meanwhile, progressives including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) have said the U.S. can best help the Cuban people by lifting the embargo which has cost the island's economy $130 billion since it was first imposed in the 1960s, according to a 2018 U.N. estimate. The progressives' position was backed by 184 countries in the most recent U.N. General Assembly vote on the matter and by global human rights groups including Amnesty International.

Democratic Cuban-American activists have been joined by Republicans including Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) in calling for aggressive action against the Cuban government.

"Exactly how is this going to help my family in Cuba get access to food, vaccines, etc.?" asked Rebekah Entralgo Fernández, managing editor of, regarding the president's decision to sanction Cuban officials. 

"This seems like a move to placate Cuban-Americans who were frustrated with Biden's lack of immediate response rather than something that will directly help Cubans on the island," she added.

Entralgo Fernández was joined by several others on social media who condemned the White House's response.   

"The 'most progressive president since FDR' won't end a genocidal blockade," tweeted Aída Chávez, Washington, D.C. correspondent for The Nation. 

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Just a few days left in our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

Flint Residents 'Disgusted' After Court Throws Out Indictments of Top Officials

"It has become increasingly clear that the judicial system is not a viable option for a poor majority Black community facing injustice," said Flint Rising.

Jessica Corbett ·

Sanders, Fetterman Urge Buttigieg to Fine Airlines Over Flight Cancellations

"The American people are sick of airlines ripping them off, canceling flights at the last minute, and delaying flights for hours on end," said the Vermont senator.

Jake Johnson ·

In Blow to Voting Rights, SCOTUS Saves Louisiana's Racially Rigged Electoral Map

"Black Louisianans deserve fair representation. The fight for racial justice and equality is far from over," vowed one civil rights group.

Brett Wilkins ·

Watching US With Horror, European Groups Push Leaders to Strengthen Abortion Rights

"This is an important moment for leaders across Europe who are committed to reproductive rights to lead by example and galvanize action in their own countries," said one campaigner.

Jake Johnson ·

Women Face Chaos, Torment as Abortion Clinics Shutter Across US

Clinic workers are attempting to get patients appointments out-of-state while women stockpile emergency contraception, fearing overcrowded clinics even in states that protect reproductive rights.

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo