HAVANA TIMES – The United States on Friday announced a further tightening of restrictions on Cuba’s access to commercial aircraft and other goods.
The move supports the Trump administration’s earlier decision to hold the Cuban regime accountable for repressing its citizens and continuing to provide support to Venezuela, the Commerce Department said in a news release.
“This action by the Commerce Department sends another clear message to the Cuban regime – that they must immediately cease their destructive behavior at home and abroad,” Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in the statement.
The administration “will continue to act against the Cuban regime for its misdeeds, while continuing to support the Cuban people and their aspirations for freedom and prosperity.”
The department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has revoked licenses for aircraft leases to Cuban state-owned airlines. Cuba has been using the leased aircraft to transport tourists, providing revenue for the regime’s illicit activities, it added.
The BIS is also expanding sanctions to include more foreign goods containing US content and is imposing additional restrictions on exports to the Cuban regime.
US President Donald Trump’s administration has stepped up sanctions on Cuba, including a ban on former president Raul Castro from entering the United States, and limiting remittances to the island.
Cuba has pledged to maintain its support to Venezuela despite stepped-up US pressure.
Trump has been rolling back a US-Cuba detente introduced under his predecessor, Barack Obama. At the time, Cuba also sharply criticized Obama’s overtures after a scathing statement from Fidel Castro just eight months before his death in Havana.