Flights to nine destinations in Cuba, not including Havana, will be suspended by the Department of Transportation.
The department issued a notice on Friday suspending US commercial flights from flying to the Cuban destinations. The notice will take effect on December 10.
The announcement is another step in the Trump administration’s attempt to tighten the relationship between the US and Cuba in a direct reversal of President Barack Obama’s Cuba policy. The Transportation Department is taking this action, according to the filed notice, at the request of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “to further the Administration’s policy of strengthening the economic consequences to the Cuban regime for its ongoing repression of the Cuban people and its support for Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela.”
The White House confirmed the move but did not provide any further comment, according to spokesman Judd Deere.
The Cuban government slammed the US just hours after the announcement.
In a tweet, Cuban Foreign Ministry General Director Carlos Fernández de Cossio criticized the US, accusing it of not caring about the consequences of its actions. He asserted that his country’s “response will not vary.”
“In an effort to punish Cuba’s unbreakable rebelliousness, imperialism takes aim at regular flight service to various Cuban cities,” de Cossio tweeted. “They don’t care if they impact family contacts, the limited means of Cubans in both countries or unjust inconveniences.”
This is the second action taken against Cuba this week by the Trump administration after the Department of Commerce changed a regulation to prevent US companies from leasing planes to Cuban government airlines on Monday.