Cuba OKs US Security Officers on Flights to the Island

By Cafe Fuerte

Havana’s Jose Martí International Airport.

HAVANA TIMES — Cuban and US aviation authorities have reached an agreement about deploying US security agents on regular flights between the two countries, which clears up one of Washington’s demands for reestablishing commercial routes to Cuba as of September.

The Civil Aviation Institute of Cuba (IACC) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) have come to an agreement about chartered flights, according to an article published on the government website Cubadebate.

The decision came after the TSA asked for this guarantee during bilateral meetings and inspections of Cuban airports to give the thumbs up on US airlines making direct flights to the island.

In February, the US Department of Transportation approved scheduled service of 110 daily flights to 10 Cuban cities, 20 of which are to Havana, in cooperation with eight US airlines.  It’s estimated that the first of these flights will begin in early September.

Congress in a stir

However, after the process of normalizing direct flights had begun and a congressional hearing was held about the subject in Congress, last May, doubts and critiques about the security of these flights came to light. This month, a group of congress people from the House of Representatives Security Committee, who were denied visas by the Cuban government, presented a legislative project to put direct flights on standby until airport security measures in Cuba are assured, among them being the presence of US security personnel on these flights.

American airlines CubaThe commotion caused by these congress persons, who were against approving direct flights to Cuba without certain security guarantees, and the questioning opinions of former employees about the capacity Cuban airports to have security controls and technical equipment, motivated the Cuban Civil Aviation Institute’s Department of Aviation Security to respond.

Josefina Vidal, the leader of negotiations with the US, suggested a recent interview given by Armando Garbalosa, Head of the Department of Aviation Security, as “a good dismantling” of the accusations thrown about in the US Congress.

Nothing to fear

In Garbalosa’s own words, Cuban airports and security controls are safe and “there’s nothing to be afraid of.”

According to Garbalosa, contact between the IACC and US aviation security authorities began in 2000 with regular visits, which have been made every year since 2003.

Until today, TSA representatives have visited Cuba 33 times.

It seems that the agreement will be put into effect for the chartered flights that currently connect many US cities to Cuba and will then cover regular commercial flights made by airlines approved by the US Department of Transportation.

Cuban authorities have stated that, in 2015, there were a total of 4,783 chartered flights, while during the first semester of this year alone, 3452 flights have already been registered, with no incidents reported where airport security was compromised.


11 thoughts on “Cuba OKs US Security Officers on Flights to the Island

  • July 31, 2016 at 5:52 pm
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    Most of the world was happy to have the stupid, fat, gun toting Americans bale their asses out of the fire in two world wars and several other minor entanglements. Your Welcome!

  • July 27, 2016 at 10:38 am
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    Goes hand in hand, gun loving and not too educated.

  • July 27, 2016 at 9:27 am
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    We have most of the best universities in the world. I graduated twice from one of them. Those of us who are educated are well-educated. The rest of of them, well, vote for Trump. And yes, we do love our guns and anything else that goes boom!

  • July 26, 2016 at 6:11 pm
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    You can also say Americans will see this is not the scary evil empire for foreigners as they were led to believe by Republican leaders.

  • July 26, 2016 at 6:09 pm
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    Don’t forget gun loving and for the most part not too educated. ( I can say this, I actually have American friends.)

  • July 26, 2016 at 1:19 pm
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    Yep, except the overweight part. At least no yet!

  • July 26, 2016 at 11:35 am
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    Hi Moses – do I take it that you are reflecting that:

    “It takes one to know one.”?

    Just had to have a giggle!

  • July 26, 2016 at 9:22 am
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    If by that you mean that Americans are pushy, generous, mostly overweight, grateful, often loud, patriotic, culturally narrow-minded and great tippers, then I would heartily agree.

  • July 26, 2016 at 7:46 am
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    Conversely, eventually Americans will see how Cubans really live as well despite the Castros propaganda machine.

  • July 26, 2016 at 7:13 am
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    Without a doubt, I am sure that the Cubans will see what you (Americans) are and how you are – whatever that means.

  • July 25, 2016 at 6:39 pm
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    Let’s keep the American’s coming, and may a thousand Gigabytes bloom! Seriously, great to have Cubans see exactly how we are vs. perhaps, what they’ve seen via the Cuban media.

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