US blocking private charter flights to Cuba

US blocking private charter flights to Cuba
© Getty

The U.S. is blocking private charter flights to Cuba in an effort to put economic pressure on the Cuban government.

“Today, I requested that the Department of Transportation suspend private charter flights to all Cuban airports, including Havana,” Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoWatchdog confirms State Dept. canceled award for journalist who criticized Trump Trump's push for win with Sudan amps up pressure on Congress  Putin nominated for Nobel Peace Prize MORE said in a statement Thursday. 

The order, which goes into effect Oct. 13., bars all charter flights between the United States and all airports in Cuba, except for authorized public charters to and from Havana and other authorized charter flights for emergency medical purposes, search and rescue and other travel deemed in the U.S. interest.

ADVERTISEMENT

On Twitter Pompeo accused the Cuban government of using “tourism and travel funds to finance its abuses and interference in Venezuela. Dictators cannot be allowed to benefit from U.S. travel.”

 

The Trump administration has had a history of coming down on Cuba after former President Obama moved to reopen U.S.-Cuba ties.

In May, the Transportation Department imposed a cap on charter flights to Cuba at 3,600 per year, the number of flights that took place in 2019.

The action by the State Department on Thursday comes after a Venezuelan court sentenced two former Green Berets to 20 years in prison for their roles in a failed beach attack aimed at overthrowing President Nicolás Maduro, an operation that was foiled by Venezuelan and Cuban security forces.

The two men captured claim to have been under the impression that it was a U.S.-led mission, though the U.S. government has denied being involved with the operation.