"This action will prevent the Castro regime from profiting from U.S. air travel and using the revenues to repress the Cuban people," said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo


Havana, Cuba
Credit: Kriangkrai Thitimakorn/Getty

The restrictions on traveling to Cuba from the United States are continuing to grow.

Four months after the Trump administration banned cruises traveling to the country, it was announced last week that all flights to Cuba, with the exception of Havana, would be discontinued.

“In line with the President’s foreign policy toward Cuba, this action prevents revenue from reaching the Cuban regime that has been used to finance its ongoing repression of the Cuban people and its support for Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela,” the State Department said, according to The Washington Post.

“This action will prevent the Castro regime from profiting from U.S. air travel and using the revenues to repress the Cuban people,” explained Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Twitter.

The ban, which is set to go into effect on Dec. 10, will affect several airlines, including American Airlines, JetBlue and Delta, the Post reported.

“We are beginning to work with our various government and commercial partners to understand the full impact of this change on our customers and operations in Camagüey, Holguín and Santa Clara,” JetBlue said in a statement on Friday, according to NBC News.

In a separate statement, American Airlines said they “will continue to comply with federal law, work with the administration, and update our policies and procedures regarding travel to Cuba as necessary.”

Although travel to Cuba was made more accessible during Barack Obama‘s time in the White House, it has become increasingly restrictive since Trump took office in 2017.

While in office, Obama re-established diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba after more than 50 years in 2014, calling the restrictions that had been in place “an outdated approach that, for decades, has failed to advance our interests.”

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In June, the Trump administration called for a suspension of cruises traveling to Cuba.

“Cuba continues to play a destabilizing role in the Western Hemisphere, providing a communist foothold in the region and propping up U.S. adversaries in places like Venezuela and Nicaragua by fomenting instability, undermining the rule of law, and suppressing democratic processes,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced at the time.

“This Administration has made a strategic decision to reverse the loosening of sanctions and other restrictions on the Cuban regime. These actions will help to keep U.S. dollars out of the hands of Cuban military, intelligence, and security services.”

The ban, which was immediately put into effect, required cruises to Cuba that were already in process to re-route. The policy change also eliminated the rule put into place in November 2017, which ensured visits were only allowed as part of people-to-people educational programs traveling under the supervision of a U.S. entity.