The Trump administration is rolling back U.S-Cuba ties established by the previous administration. U.S. officials have imposed new flight restrictions to Cuba and said they would now only accept charters into Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport.
The history of Cuba flight restrictions under the Trump administration
In October, the Trump administration banned U.S. airlines to fly to destinations in Cuba other than Havana.
U.S. charter flights were allowed to fly to airports like Santiago de Cuba, Camagüey, and Varadero, among others, until December 10, 2019.
The new restrictions on flights to Cuba
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said,
“This time it is to further restrict the Cuban regime’s ability to obtain revenue, which it uses to finance its ongoing repression of the Cuban people and its unconscionable support for dictator Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela.”
In another statement this evening the Secretary said the following about Cuban flight restrictions via Twitter:
Cuban airports affected by the new flight restrictions
The list of Airports affected and banned by from U.S. charter flights are the following:
- Ignacio Agramonte International Airport in Camagüey;
- Jardines del Rey Airport in Cayo Coco;
- Vilo Acuña Airport in Cayo Largo;
- Jaime González Airport in Cienfuegos;
- Frank País Airport in Holguín;
- Sierra Maestra Airport in Manzanillo;
- Juan Gualberto Gómez Airport in Matanzas;
- Abel Santamaría Airport in Santa Clara; and lastly the
- Antonio Maceo Airport in Santiago de Cuba
According to the statement, charter companies will have 60 days to wind down operation and discontinue all flights.
Limitations on annual charter flights allowed between the U.S. and Havana
In addition to the U.S. Department of Transportation imposing caps on the number of charter flights that fly to Havana, the DOT will limit the round-trip flights to 3,600 annually. By the way, that is the same number of authorized flights as last year.
For Cuban-Americans, there aren’t many alternatives if their relatives aren’t located in Havana
Cuban-Americans are facing the elimination of charter flights to relatives living outside of Havana who are spread all over the rest of the island. Thousands of Cuban Americans will face more hoops while traveling the island visiting relatives.
It is not a secret that Cuban highways are not in the best shape. Busses and train services have declined due to fuel shortages. Domestic flights from Cubana de Aviacion certainly isn’t a silver lining either.
New flight restrictions to Cuba – The opinion of the Author
Relatively speaking it wasn’t a surprise. I was expecting it, but it was just just a bit sooner than I thought. While this is an aviation circular, and I don’t want to entangle myself in politics, it is just that, politics. However, since I’m studying the subject let me explain:
While the U.S. Administration looks for a way to rid of Nicholas Maduro in Venezuela, Cuba provides for their financial support. The State Department in coordination with the Department of Transportation is cutting the flight revenue to Cuba.
This is one way of starving Cuba of money. Cutting that revenue and with no help to Venezuela, the expectations are that Maduro goes and Cuba changes regime without a shot fired.
We sometimes forget the bigger picture of Nicaragua, Russia, Iran, and China for starters.
Three out four could lend money to Cuba, leaving things as is. This would be a Frozen War where the will of those assisting countries can stay in place as long as the money flows.
Only time will tell if the U.S. wins the game of Chicken.
Featured Image: Unsplash.
Is it safe to travel to Cuba?
Cuba has a good reputation as a safe place to travel for tourists. Crime is low, but, like anywhere you travel in the world, you should always exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings.
Is English spoken in Cuba?
Most Cubans only speak their native language, which is Spanish. However, a few people speak English, especially in typical tourist areas and hotels.
Can you get WiFi in Cuba?
Yes, WiFi is available in Cuba. WiFi reception quality, however, can be scant and poor, depending on your location.
When is the best time a year to visit Cuba?
The best time a year to visit Cuba is during the months from December to may, during the dry weather season. This time usually brings little rain, little clouds, and comfortable temperatures with blue skies. The wet and humid season in Cuba begins June and lasts until November. During the wet and humid season you can expect frequent rain showers, frequent cloudy skies, and hot, humid air.