U.S. limits public charter flights to Cuba - statement

  • World
  • Saturday, 11 Jan 2020

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is limiting the number of public charter flights to Cuba, allowing only a certain number of such aircraft through to Havana's Jose Marti International Airport, in an effort to curb Cuban government's income, the U.S. State Department said in a statement on Friday.

"Today's action 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," U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

Representatives for Cuba could not be immediately reached for comment.

Republican U.S. President Donald Trump has sought to clamp down on Havana following the historic move by his Democratic predecessor Barack Obama to reopen U.S.-Cuba ties. The Trump administration has imposed sanctions as part of its effort squeeze Cuba for supporting Maduro.

Those who operate public charter flights to Cuba will have 60 days to wind down their operations, the U.S. statement said.

The U.S. Department of Transportation will set an "appropriate cap" of flights allowed to Jose Marti airport and will issue an order "in the near future" for cap-related procedures, Pompeo said.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Tom Brown)

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