The United States government announced on Friday a ban on US airlines to fly to all airports in Cuba, with the exception of the capital, Havana, as of December 10.
The Department of Transportation has indicated in its notification that the decision has been adopted at the request of the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, “to expand the Administration's policy of increasing the economic consequences on the Cuban regime for its repression against the Cuban people and his support for Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela. ”
White House spokesman Judd Deere has confirmed the decision but has not commented on it, according to the US television network CNN.
The measure thus affects nine international airports on the island and impacts eight flights a day, as reported by the Reuters news agency. The ban does not affect charter flights. There are currently no foreign airlines that make direct flights between the United States and Cuba.
The Cuban Foreign Minister, Bruno Rodríguez, has immediately expressed through a message on his Twitter social network account his “energetic” rejection of the “new US blockade against Cuba.”
“It hardens the ban on traveling to its citizens and mutilates their freedoms. It damages people-to-town ties. Concessions will not be taken from us. We will overcome,” he has said.
Later, Pompeo confirmed that he had asked the US Secretary of Transportation, Elaine Chao, to “suspend air service between the United States and all Cuban airports, with the exception of the José Martí Airport in Havana.”
Likewise, the secretary of state has indicated that the measure “will prevent the Castro regime from benefiting from US air travel and using the proceeds to repress Cubans.”
The decision has been announced a week after the US government announced new sanctions against Cuba due to “the repression of its own people” and “its continued support for the illegitimate regime” of Maduro.
The Commerce Department said in a statement that “it will further restrict the Cuban regime's access to commercial aircraft and other goods” through the Office of Industry and Security (BIS).
In this regard, he has argued that Havana “resorts to the transport of tourists in rented devices subject to the jurisdiction of the BIS to generate income for their illegal activities.”
Therefore, he stressed that the office “revokes existing licenses for the rental of airplanes to airlines owned by the Cuban State and will deny future applications for the rental of equipment.”
The Department also stressed that “additionally, the BIS expands sanctions on Cuba to include more foreign goods that contain US parties and imposes additional restrictions on exports from the Cuban regime.”
“This action by the Department of Commerce sends another clear message to the Cuban regime: that its destructive behavior must cease immediately nationally and internationally,” said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.
“The Administration (of US President Donald) Trump will continue to act against the Cuban regime for his misdeeds, while continuing to support the Cuban people and their aspirations for freedom and prosperity,” he settled.