US slaps new sanctions on Cuba over human rights, Venezuela

FILE - In this July 26, 2019 file photo, Cuba's President Miguel Diaz-Canel, second left, and former President Raul Castro, raise their arms in unison during an event celebrating Revolution Day, accompanied by Commander of the Cuban Revolution Ramiro Valdes, left, and Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, second secretary of the Central Committee, in Bayamo, Cuba. Cuba’s top legislative body will no longer include members of the country’s historical generation of former rebels, part of a broader political reform that started to go into effect on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019. (Omara Garcia/Agencia Cubana de Noticias via AP File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States on Friday imposed new sanctions on Cuba over its support for Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and its human rights record at home.

The Department of Commerce said in a statement it is revoking existing licenses for aircraft leases to Cuban state-owned airlines and will deny future applications for aircraft leases. It will also expand the sanctions on Cuba to include more foreign goods containing U.S. contents.

Washington said the measures seek to hold the Cuban regime accountable for repressing its own people and for providing support to the Venezuela's government, which it accuses of human rights abuses and collapsing the country's economy.

"This action by the Commerce Department sends another clear message to the Cuban regime - that they must immediately cease their destructive behavior at home and abroad," said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross.

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel rejected the decision and on Twitter called it "inhumane, cruel, unfair and genocidal."

Relations between Cuba and the U.S. have deteriorated under President Donald Trump. His administration has restricted travel to the island and imposed new economic sanctions.