- The action aims to “prevent the Castro regime from profiting from U.S. air travel and using the revenues to repress the Cuban people.”
- Companies that will have to stop offering trips to other Cuban cities besides Havana include American Airlines, Delta Airlines and JetBlue.
- The restrictions do not apply to charter flights, widely used by Cuban Americans living in Florida to visit the island.
The U.S. government will ban commercial flights to and from any Cuban city except Havana in a new attempt to further isolate the island for its support of the Venezuelan government, as well as the Cuban current regime’s repression of the people of Cuba.
Announcing the decision via his Twitter handle on Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated that the action aims to “prevent the Castro regime from profiting from U.S. air travel and using the revenues to repress the Cuban people.” Pompeo reiterated, “today, I asked [Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao] to suspend scheduled air service between the U.S. and all Cuban airports, except Havana’s Jose Martí Airport.”
The measure will take effect on December 10. The deadline was given for the affected companies to comply with the government decision. Companies that will have to stop offering trips to other Cuban cities besides Havana include American Airlines, Delta Airlines and JetBlue. The restrictions do not apply to charter flights, widely used by Cuban Americans living in Florida to visit the island.
As a result of the approach started in 2014, the governments of Barack Obama and Raúl Castro announced in December of the following year an agreement to reestablish direct commercial flights between the two countries, which encouraged Americans to go to the island. However, since coming to power in January 2017, Trump has reversed his predecessor’s measures, with reductions by U.S. diplomats on the island, new sanctions to extend the trade embargo, and travel restrictions for Americans to Cuba.
As early as June, the U.S. government ordered U.S. citizens to no longer be allowed to travel to Cuba on cruises or other passenger ships, sailing yachts, or private or corporate aircraft. Group trips for educational purposes from the U.S. to the Caribbean country were no longer allowed.
Last month, the U.S. government limited money transfers to Cuba. Since then, people in the U.S. can only send a maximum of $ 1,000 per quarter to family members in Cuba. A new U.S. package of measures against Cuba came into force last Monday. Among other things, the White House revoked permits that allowed U.S. companies to rent planes to airlines linked to the Havana government, such as the state-owned Cuban airline of Aviación.
Shortly after the announcement of the move by the U.S. government, the Cuban administration hit back. Via Twitter, the General Director of the Cuban foreign ministry, Carlos Fernández de Cossio, criticized the Trump administration, accusing it of not caring about the negative consequences of its actions. The general director made an assertion that Cuba’s “response will not vary.”
“In an effort to punish Cuba’s unbreakable rebelliousness, imperialism takes aim at regular flight service to various Cuban cities,” de Cossio reacted via Twitter. “They don’t care if they impact family contacts, the limited means of Cubans in both countries or unjust inconveniences,” he added.