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US blocks air cargo to Cuba to pressure for human rights

THE US Department of Transportation (DOT) has suspended non-scheduled cargo flights to Cuba in the latest effort to squeeze the Havana government over its human rights record and its support of Venezuela's leftist government, reports New York's FreightWaves

25 November 2020 - 19:00

THE US Department of Transportation (DOT) has suspended non-scheduled cargo flights to Cuba in the latest effort to squeeze the Havana government over its human rights record and its support of Venezuela's leftist government, reports New York's FreightWaves.

The DOT said it had rejected the requests from SkyWay Enterprises and IBC Airways for non-scheduled cargo flights to Cuba after the State Department advised they didn't fall within the embargo's authorised exceptions for emergency medical, search-and-rescue or other flights in the foreign policy interest of the US.



The DOT last month finalised its suspension of cargo flights at the request of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who said in August that strengthening economic pressure on Cuba is necessary to restrict the regime's ability to repress its people and support Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.



'Suspending these charter flights to all of Cuba's airports would prevent charter operators from filling the gap in air service left by the suspension of non-Havana scheduled air service and public charters,' Mr Pompeo told DOT Secretary Elaine Chao.



'Moreover, this action would further restrict US funds from enriching the Cuban regime,' he said.



A year ago, the US banned regularly scheduled flights to Cuban cities other than Havana. In January, it cut back public charter flights to Cuba to put further economic pressure on the regime, and in May it set a cap of 3,600 flights per year to the Cuban capital.


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