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US Suspends Private Charter Flights to Cuba Except for Limited Cases, Pompeo Says

© AFP 2023 / Paul J. RichardsUS Customs and Border Protection Officer
US Customs and Border Protection Officer - Sputnik International
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States has prohibited private charter flights to Cuba except in some limited cases such as for medical purposes, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement on Thursday.

"Today, I requested that the Department of Transportation suspend private charter flights to all Cuban airports, including Havana", Pompeo said.

"This action will suspend all charter flights between the United States and Cuba over which the Department of Transportation exercises jurisdiction, except for authorised public charter flights to and from Havana and other authorized private charter flights for emergency medical purposes, search and rescue, and other travel deemed in the interest of the United States", he said.

​Pompeo emphasized that the United States will keep on cutting revenue that the Cuban government obtains from landing fees or for stays in government-owned hotels.

The secretary of state noted that the Cuban military and intelligence services own and operate the great majority of hotels and tourism infrastructure in the island nation.

"We urge travellers of all nationalities to consider this and to make responsible decisions regarding travel to Cuba. The suspension of private charter flights will deny economic resources to the Castro regime and inhibit its capacity to carry out abuses", Pompeo said.

In 2014, the United States and Cuba expressed their intention to start working on normalising bilateral relations. Then US President Barack Obama lifted many restrictions the United States had imposed on Cuba, including travel restrictions.

However, current US President Donald Trump toughened the policy once he came to power in 2016, restricting travel, boosting the economic embargo on Cuba and imposing sanctions on Cuban officials.

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