Trump Administration Bans All Flights to Cuba Except Havana
The Trump administration has banned flights to all cities in Cuba except for Havana.
The restrictions, which will be rolling out in December, are in place "because of Cuba’s repression of its people and support for Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote in a letter after the Department of Transportation's announcement, according to NBC News.
Supporters of the plan hope that the lack of funds provided by travel and tourism will prevent the country from supporting Maduro, however those against the ban say Cuban-Americans may have a harder time visiting loved ones in cities outside Havana. Businesses in other Cuban areas that thrive on tourism could also stand to suffer a great loss as the outlet reported that flights to cities like Santa Clara, Camaguey, Holguin, Santiago, and Varadero will cease as soon as December 10, 2019.
JetBlue and American, which both have routes to several cities in Cuba, have already said their companies will comply with the ban, NBC News reported. Charter flights, which are usually more expensive than commercial ones, are not affected by the ban.
Back in late 2014 and early 2015, many Cold War-era restrictions regarding travel to Cuba had been lifted under the Obama administration. During this time, the U.S. embassy was reopened in Havana and flights began to operate in several cities between Cuba and the United States, with the first commercial flight from the U.S. landing on the island nation in 2016.
But in 2017, Trump announced plans to roll back these policies, returning the U.S. to its restrictive past. At the time, there were only 12 visa categories that would allow legal travel to the country, including family and religious travel as well as journalistic and humanitarian projects.
This year, the administration tightened its policy further in 2019 by restricting all non-family travel and banning all cruise ships from the country claiming that tourism funds were supporting the military.