US restricts scheduled air service to Cuban airports

The United States Department of State says the Trump administration has restricted scheduled air service to Cuban airports. 

“At the request of the Secretary of State, the US Department of Transportation suspended until further notice scheduled air service between the United States and Cuban international airports other than Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport to prevent the Cuban regime from profiting from US air travel,” said the US Department of State in a statement on Friday, referring to US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo.

“US air carriers will have 45 days to discontinue all scheduled air service between the United States and all airports in Cuba, except for Jose Marti International Airport,” it added. 

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In keeping with US President Donald J. Trump’s foreign policy toward Cuba, the State Department said “this action prevents revenue from reaching the Cuban regime that has been used to finance its ongoing repression of the Cuban people and its support for Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela.”

“In suspending flights to a total of nine airports, the United States impedes the Cuban regime from gaining access to hard currency from US travellers staying in its state-controlled resorts, visiting state-owned attractions and otherwise contributing to the Cuban regime’s coffers near these airports,” the State Department said.

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It said the United States “continues to hold Cuba accountable for its repression of the Cuban people and its interference in Venezuela, including its unconscionable support of the illegitimate Maduro regime.”

The State Department claims that the human rights situation in Cuba “remains abysmal, with state authorities harassing and arbitrarily jailing activists, dissidents, artists, and others questioning regime authority with impunity.”

“Despite widespread international condemnation, Maduro continues to undermine his country’s institutions and subvert the Venezuelan people’s right to self-determination,” the statement said. “Empowered by Cuba, Maduro has created a humanitarian disaster that destabilizes the region.”