US suspends private charter flights with Cuba

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(FILES) In this file photo taken on November 28, 2016, an American Airlines plane fluttering US and Cuba national flags arrives at Jose Marti International Airport in Havana, becoming the first Miami-Havana commercial flight in 50 years. - The US on January 10, 2020, sharply reduced flights allowed to go to Cuba in a bid to reduce tourism revenue to the communist island. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that charter flights would only be allowed to fly to Havana, not other airports -- a step already taken with commercial flights. (Photo by YAMIL LAGE / AFP)

By Caribbean News Global fav

WASHINGTON, USA – US State Secretary Mike Pompeo announced Thursday that he requested that the Department of Transportation suspend private charter flights to all Cuban airports, including Havana.

“This action will suspend all charter flights between the United States and Cuba over which the Department of Transportation exercises jurisdiction, except for authorized public charter flights to and from Havana and other authorized private charter flights for emergency medical purposes, search and rescue, and other travel deemed in the interest of the United States. This administration will continue to target and cut the revenue the Cuban government earns from landing fees, stays in regime-owned hotels, and other travel-related income,” Pompeo said in a statement.

The Cuban military and intelligence services own and operate the great majority of hotels and tourism infrastructure in Cuba. We urge travelers of all nationalities to consider this and to make responsible decisions regarding travel to Cuba. The suspension of private charter flights will deny economic resources to the Castro regime and inhibit its capacity to carry out abuses.

“Our message to the Castro regime has been clear: The United States will continue to stand up for the Cuban people and against the regime’s abuses and its interference in Venezuela to prop up Maduro’s illegitimate hold on power.

“Unfortunately, the Castro regime has not changed its repressive and undemocratic behavior. It continues to imprison journalists and democracy activists, to oversee horrific physical abuse, to perpetuate the de facto dictatorship in Venezuela, to repress freedom of religion or belief, and to silence and intimidate those who speak truth about the reality in Cuba,” the US State department statement said.

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