CUBA NEWS WEEK OF AUGUST 16, 2020
The latest tweak in U.S. regulations dealing with U.S. to Cuba travel was announced on Thursday. This new “restriction,” which is as ridiculous as the others, prohibits private charter flights from the U.S. to Cuba. Without verifying FAA or Cuban civil-aviation documents, I am confident there weren’t more than three or four private charter flights to Cuba last year. I doubt there was even one.
This move makes headlines in South Florida but has no effect. It is designed to guarantee some Cuban-American votes in South Florida, votes that were going to be cast for President Trump anyways. But this isn’t the most ridiculous of the latest State Department “Cuba restrictions.” In January, the State Department announced that Cuban Army General Leopold Cintra Frias would not be given a U.S. tourist visa. I doubt the eighty-year old general was considering a vacation in the U.S., but if he was, now he knows he’s not welcome.
In May the State Department announced that only 3,600 charter flights could operate per year between the U.S. and Cuba. Only ten charter flights per day between the U.S. and Havana, and fifteen commercial flights a day between the U.S. and Havana. What kind of “restriction” is that? Twenty-five flights per day? The U.S. has increased pressure on other countries for the past two years so they stop doing business with Cuba, and yet millions of dollars reach Cuba directly from the United States every month via Western Union.
On August 13th, 2020, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the suspension of private charter flights to Cuba beginning October 13th, 2020. Public charter flights to Cuba, up to 3,600 per year, will continue to operate, as will commercial flights.
By Frank Gonzalez