Havana– President Donald Trump’s administration will ban all flights from the United States to destinations in Cuba, with the exception of Havana, authorities said Friday. Supporters of the ban said it will limit the government’s cash flow and its ability to crack down on its people and back Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who Washington wants to overthrow.
The bespoke opponents noted that banning flights will simply make it difficult for Cuban-Americans to visit their families outside the capital, without having a significant impact on the Cuban government. The State Department indicated that flights of the airline JetBlue to Santa Clara, in central Cuba, and to Holguin and Camaguey, in the east of the island, will be prohibited from December. Those from American Airlines to Camaguey, Holguin, Santa Clara, Varadero and the eastern city of Santiago were also banned. Flights to Havana, which account for the vast majority of flights from the United States to Cuba, will remain legal.
«This move will prevent the Castro regime from making a profit from U.S. flights and using that revenue to suppress the Cuban people,» Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Twitter. Raúl Castro left the island’s presidency last year, but continues to lead the Communist Party, the country’s highest authority. Another stated reason for taking the action is to prevent U.S. tourism to Cuba, which is prohibited in the United States. However, it is not clear how many people take these flights for tourist purposes. Many are used by Cuban-Americans who visit their relatives in cities far from Havana.» In the hope of punishing unwavering rebellion of Cuba, imperialism lashes out against scheduled flights to several Cuban cities,» said Carlos F. de Cossío, director of the U.S. section of the Cuban Chancellery, via Twitter. «He doesn’t mind affecting family contacts, modest Cuban economy in both countries, or unfair awkwardness. Our answer is invariable.»
The @USDOT has suspended until further notice air services between #EEUU and #Cuba airports, except Intl José Martí Airport in Havana, to prevent the Cuban regime from profiting from American flights. Read the statement in English:https://t.co/RX6RDtwxf3 — U.S. Embassy Cuba (@USEmbCuba)
October 26, 2019
Apparently the ban does not affect chartered flights to destinations outside Havana, but those flights tend to be more expensive and much less practical. The other remaining legal option is to fly to the Cuban capital and then make a overland trip that could last eight to more than 12 hours on unsafe and bumpy roads, in the case of the eastern cities of Cuba.JetBlue and American Airlines issued brief comunic elbows saying they will comply with the measure.
Havana, Cuba. Source: Pixabay
The announcement coincided with an event in Miami to demand regime change in Cuba, attended by U.S. officials, OAS President Luis Almagro, and various Cuban-Americans and Cuban dissidents.» It’s a breakthrough,» said Cuba-born hairdresser Ernesto Regues, who arrived in Miami in 2012 and still has relatives in the Cuban capital. «What it takes is for them to stop trips to Havana.» Carrie Filipetti, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Cuba and Venezuela in the State Department’s Office of Western Hemisphere Affairs, said the island’s capital will serve as the port of entry for Cuban-Americans who wish to see their relatives.
We want to make sure Cuban-Americans have a way to visit their families. We need to get in. Today, Havana performs this function,» he said.
However, he warned that «we will continue to increase sanctions,» and said other countries should do the same.
It’s a long route with many steps along the way,» he said, to which the audience stood up to give her a standing ovation.