dpa/GNA – The United States is expanding its sanctions against Cuba, the State Department announced on Friday.

The Cuban bank Banco Financiero Internacional (BFI) will be placed on a list of institutions that no one under US jurisdiction is allowed to conduct business with, the State Department said.

It justified the move by saying the Cuban military controls the bank and uses it to enrich itself through transactions.

“The profits earned from these operations disproportionately benefit the Cuban military rather than independent Cuban entrepreneurs, furthering repression of the Cuban people and funding Cuba’s interference in Venezuela,” it said.

“I reject new punitive measure of #US State Department to tighten blockade against #Cuba,” Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said on Twitter in response to the move.

“The inclusion of Cuban entities in its lists is intended to reinforce an economic siege that has failed to destroy the Cuban Revolution after 62 years.”

In 2017, the State Department published a list of 180 companies and other entities that, according to the US, serve the Cuban military, intelligence or security forces.

Under President Donald Trump, the US has stopped the cautious rapprochement practised under his predecessor, Barack Obama, and rolled back most of the easing of the economic embargo against the Caribbean state.

Washington justifies the economic pressure on Cuba by accusing the government in Havana of oppressing its own people.

Cuba also supports the government of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela – considered illegitimate by the US.

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