POLITICS

The U.S. Puts The Hammer On Cuba

The Trump Administration is bringing down the hammer on Cuba to force the Cuban government to change its system of governing.

Consequently, the administration is banning all flights to Cuba except those flying to the city of Havana.

This move is the latest in a series of crackdowns on the small Caribbean island by the U.S.

The ban, which is set to go into effect on Dec. 10, was recently announced by the Department of Transportation.

In a tweet, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, “Today, I asked @SecElaineChao to suspend scheduled air service between the U.S. and all Cuban airports, except Havana’s Jose Martí Airport. This action will prevent the Castro regime from profiting from U.S. air travel and using the revenues to repress the #Cuban people.”

Furthermore, in a letter to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, he noted that the flights are being suspended indefinitely because of Cuba’s repression of its people and support for Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro.

The letter said in part, “further the administration’s policy of strengthening the economic consequences to the Cuban regime for its ongoing repression of the Cuban people and its support for Maduro.”

American Airlines and JetBlue both fly routes to cities in Cuba other than Havana and will have to end those routes in accordance with the new regulations.

Following the directives, JetBlue said in a statement that it plans to operate in full compliance with the new policy.

“We are beginning to work with our various government and commercial partners to understand the full impact of this change on our customers and operations in Camagüey, Holguín, and Santa Clara,” the airline said.

Additionally, American Airlines said it was also working to comply.

“We are reviewing today’s announcement regarding service to non-Havana airports in Cuba,” the airline said in a statement. “We will continue to comply with federal law, work with the administration, and update our policies and procedures regarding travel to Cuba as necessary.”

The new measures by the Trump administration is a breakaway from the former Obama administration friendly outreach to the people of Cuba.

The Cuban and Venezuelan governments remain tightly aligned, and both have declared their intent to become even closer allies in the face of the Trump measures.

“Eager to punish Cuba’s unbreakable defiance, imperialism is going after regular flights to various Cuban cities. It doesn’t matter that they’re affecting family relations, or the modest pocketbooks of most Cubans in both countries, or the unfair inconveniences,” said Carlos F. de Cossio, head of Cuba’s Department of U.S. affairs. “Our response isn’t changing,” he added.

Yvad Billings, Readers Bureau, Fellow

Edited by Jesus Chan

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