US suspends charter flights to Cuba due to “regime abuses” and interference in Venezuela

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The Cuban government rejects the measure, although it considers it to have “little practical impact”

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has ordered the suspension of charter flights to Cuba in response to “the regime’s abuses” on the island itself and its interference in the Venezuelan crisis.

“He has asked the Department of Transportation to suspend private charter flights to all Cuban airports, including Havana,” the head of US diplomacy announced in a statement released Thursday by the State Department.

Pompeo explained that “this measure will suspend all charter flights between the United States and Cuba over which the Department of Transportation has jurisdiction, except for public charter flights authorized to and from Havana and other private charter flights authorized for medical emergency purposes, search and rescue and other travel deemed necessary in the interest of the United States. “

The objective, he said, is “to cut and limit the income that the Cuban government receives from landing fees, stays in hotels owned by the regime and other income related to travel.”

In this sense, he recalled that “the Cuban military forces and intelligence services are the owners and responsible for managing the operation of a large part of the hotels and tourist infrastructure in Cuba,” urging “travelers of all nationalities to have this in mind and to make responsible decisions regarding trips to Cuba. “

“Our message to the (Raúl) Castro regime has been clear: the United States will continue to defend the Cuban people and oppose the regime’s abuses and its interference in Venezuela, aimed at sustaining the illegitimate continuity of (Nicolás) Maduro in power,” said.

Pompeo regretted that “the Castro regime has not modified its repressive and undemocratic behavior.” “It perpetuates the ‘de facto’ dictatorship in Venezuela (…) and silences and intimidates those who tell the truth about what is happening in Cuba,” he denounced.

CUBA SEES “LOW PRACTICAL IMPACT”
The director general for the United States within the Cuban Foreign Ministry, Carlos Fernández De Cossío, has lamented that the American veto “plays with the concerns of Cubans on both sides of the Florida Strait and their needs for family contacts,” although at the same time it also it has considered that it is a measure “of little practical impact”.

The measure, he added, “seeks to satisfy the electoral political machinery of South Florida and confirms the contempt of imperialism for Cubans and Americans of Cuban origin,” as reported by the Ministry on its Twitter account.

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