- The Washington Times - Friday, January 10, 2020

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday announced the U.S. will suspend public charter flights from the U.S. to nine Cuban airports outside of Havana in the Trump administration’s latest move to scale back relations with the Communist regime in Havana.

In a statement, Mr. Pompeo said he directed the U.S. Department of Transportation to make the change that will go into effect in 60 days to allow airlines a “wind-down period” before flights service ends.

“Today’s action will prevent the Cuban regime from benefiting from expanded charter service … [and] will 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,” Mr. Pompeo said.

He explained that the move is expected to prevent Cuba from obtaining hard currency from U.S. travelers.

While flights from the U.S. to Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport will continue, there will be “an appropriate cap” on how many flights to and from the destinations that will be announced in the near future, Mr. Pompeo said.

Last June, the Trump administration announced it would end group trips by cruise ship, yacht and corporate planes to Cuba.

The White House’s repeated pushes to restrict U.S. travel to the island effectively roll back the diplomatic outreach begun by the Obama administration after more than a half-century of virtually total economic embargo.

• Lauren Toms can be reached at lmeier@washingtontimes.com.

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