The US administration suspends private sanction flights to Cuba

The US administration suspends private sanction flights to Cuba

The US administration has suspended all private sanction flights between the United States and Cuba, to strengthen economic pressure on Havana.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted that “the Castro regime uses tourism and travel funds to finance its abuses and interference in Venezuela”.

Last October the US restricted regular scheduled flights to all urban areas in communist-run Cuba aside from Havana.

The travel industry to Cuba has just been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

Hardline policies towards Cuba and its provincial partner Venezuela are invited by preservationist Cuban-American groups in Florida, a key battleground state which Donald Trump plans to win in the November presidential election.

The suspension of contract flights comes into force on 13 October.

Approved US charter flights to Cuba for health related crisis purposes or for search and salvage will at present be allowed.

The BBC’s Will Grant in Havana says charter flights from the US have long filled the gap left by commercial aircrafts, a significant number of which didn’t run services to Cuba until the Obama Administration quickly defrosted discretionary ties with the island in 2014.

US commercial flights to Cuba continued in August 2016 for the first time in over 50 years. The defrost was moved back by the Trump Administration.

In May the US Transportation Department forced a cap on charter flights to Cuba at 3,600 every year.