On Monday the State Department re-designated Cuba as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, which opened the communist-run country in the Caribbean to new sanctions. The move comes in the context of Trump trying to disrupt Biden's foreign policy ambitions even before he takes office, which will be based on Obama admin efforts at rapprochement and normalization of relations.
On Friday the Treasury Department announced it's ramping up sanctions accordingly, starting with actions against Cuba’s Ministry of Interior and its director over allegations of "serious human rights abuse."
"The Cuban regime has a long history of human rights abuse," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin began in announcing the new sanctions. "The United States will continue to use all the tools at its disposal to address the dire human rights situation in Cuba and elsewhere around the world."
Cuba had been formally delisted under Obama in 2015 during his attempt at rapprochement, which also saw a number of sanctions briefly removed.
The latest action stems from the case of a Cuban dissident who was allegedly beaten and tortured while in the custody of departments of Cuba’s Ministry of Interior, as The Hill describes:
The Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced in a press release that it was sanctioning Cuba’s interior ministry, along with its minister, Lazaro Alberto Álvarez Casas, in pursuance of President Trump’s December 2017 executive order targeting "perpetrators of serious human rights abuse and corruption around the world."
...The Treasury argues in its release that Cuba’s interior ministry held Cuban dissident Jose Daniel Ferrer in September 2019, when he was allegedly "beaten, tortured, and held in isolation,” and “received no medical attention while in prison."
Even down to the last minute it appears the Trump admin strategy is to create enough massive hurdles for Biden as to disrupt plans to continue Obama's policy of restored normalized relations.
Previously any positive gains in restoring relations under Obama, which included the US embassy's reopening in Havana in 2015, were reversed when in 2017 Trump barred Americans from traveling to Cuba and other punitive economic measures.