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Biden Administration Sanctions Head of Cuban Military for Behavior Against Protesters

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General Alvaro Lopez Miera, the head of Cuba’s Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (MINFAR), alongside a group of “specially designated nationals,” can neither access their assets nor enter the United States.

What We Know:

  • President Joe Biden revealed his actions in a Thursday statement. In the document, Biden condemns “the mass detentions and sham trials” of Cuban protesters following the July 11 demonstrations. He declared that Cuban people deserve the same rights to freedom, expression, and peaceful assembly as all people.
  • To punish Lopez Miera and the Ministry of Interior Forces’ Avispas Negras (Black Wasps), the Biden Administration used the Global Magnitsky Act, which targets human rights violators and corrupt individuals. The Department of Treasury declared MINFAR played a crucial role in repressing protesters and the disappearance of multiple citizens. Additionally, the government unleashed the Black Wasps to “suppress and attack demonstrators,” participating in “peaceful, pro-democratic protests.”

 “Treasury will continue to enforce its Cuba-related sanctions, including those imposed today, to support the people of Cuba in their quest for democracy and relief from the Cuban regime,” said Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

  • Cuban foreign minister Bruno Rodriguez scorned the U.S.’s sanctions. He called it practically irrelevant, as Lopez Miera, “a hero of the revolution,” does not hold American bank accounts. Furthermore, the Black Wasps strictly followed the law and “with moderation.” Despite this, the Miami Herald declared the application of the Global Magnitsky Act symbolized more beyond the financial aspect.
  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken added that the United States would continue promoting accountability for the communist regime’s human rights abuses, “including through additional sanctions pursuant to Global Magnitsky, as appropriate.”
  • As per the Biden Administration’s recent promises, the United States will continue its efforts to bring the internet to the island. The U.S. also renewed interest to work with the Organization of American States, the United Nations, and more to protect Cuban’s rights and punish the abusers. Biden will also search for proper ways to reinstate remittances to Cuba and increase staffing in Havana’s U.S. Embassy.
  • Although Biden did not initially prioritize U.S.-Cuba relations, citizens and leaders alike have pushed him to do so. Throughout the country, Cuban-Americans began protesting for the United States to intervene; politicians such as Marco Rubio, Maria Elvira Salazar, and more joined in on these efforts through press conferences and congressional meetings. In addition, Aaron Parnas, the press secretary for the Miami-Dade Democratic Party, urged Biden to visit South Florida, home to the largest population of Cuban exiles, to show citizens they have his support.

Parnas also spoke on behalf of many when he said Biden’s actions are a “necessary first step” in helping Cuba remove its communist government.

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Entertainment

Former NFL Champ Nate Burleson joins CBS Mornings

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Former NFL player Nate Burleson has officially made his hosting debut on the newly branded morning talk show, CBS Mornings.

What We Know:

  • It was announced earlier this month that Burleson would replace Anthony Mason. Previously Mason joined Gayle King and Tony Doukoupil as host of the former CBS This Morning.  The show was rebranded in tandem to the relocation of their set to Times Square and Burleson joining the cast.
  • Since 2017, former NFL player Burleson has been the host of Good Morning Football on the NFL Network and has served as an analyst on The NFL Today on CBS. Burleson will continue his role on The NFL Today.

  • Burleson is the second former NFL player to join a network morning TV show, with Michael Strahan playing a major role as a co-host on ABC‘s Good Morning America.

Burleson credits Michael Strahan as the ‘blueprint’ for his career path, explaining, “He’s one of those individuals that I took a liking to once I retired because he rewrote the blueprint. I don’t want to say that he is the blueprint, because there has been plenty of players that have transitioned out of the game into TV. There have been African American men and women before him that have done the same thing, but he is a guy that has shown me the lay of the land, especially being a transplant from the West Coast to now New York.”

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Crime

Classes canceled at Howard University as US Government investigates ransomware cyberattack

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Howard University officials along with leading cyber experts are trying to assess what has been compromised in an active ransomware, cyberattack on the HBCU campus. Officials have deemed the attack criminal.

What We Know:

  • Monday, the university issued a statement to faculty and students that “the service disruption was caused by a ransomware cyberattack against the university.”
  • Classes have been canceled for Tuesday and Wednesday. Students have been notified that online and hybrid classes will remain canceled and only essential staff will be allowed on campus. All in-person undergraduate, graduate, professional, and clinical experiential courses will resume as scheduled on Wednesday.
  • A ransomware attack can be triggered by simple, everyday activity. Opening a unintended link inside of can lead to a cyberattack.  Computer, tablet and phone users are encouraged to change their passwords and security questions regularly.

Howard University is home to several notable high profile Black alumni such as Chadwick Boseman and Phylicia Rashad.

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Headlines

Polo G Reportedly Arrested in Los Angeles on Concealed Weapon Charge

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Polo G was arrested on in Los Angeles on Monday, TMZ reports.

What We Know:

According to the outlet, Polo G was arrested after police allegedly found a concealed firearm on the Hall of Fame rapper, which TMZ points out is a felony. The supposed discovery of the firearm occurred when a vehicle Polo G was a passenger in was stopped.

It’s currently unclear why the vehicle was pulled over in the first place but it was reported that a male juvenile was also detained during the stop.

Polo was similarly arrested while he was in Miami for his Hall of Fame album release party. The arrest, which took place back in June, resulted in the rapper getting hit with charges of of battery on a police officer, resisting arrest with violence, and criminal mischief. The rapper was also a passenger in a vehicle at the time of that arrest.

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