The US Department of Transportation rejected requests for exemptions to the embargo on non-scheduled cargo flights to Cuba from two small air charter companies in South Florida.
The denial of the requests as well as the embargo, highlight the raw political emotions towards the Cuban regime and also highlights how businesses are using the regulatory processes for taking and maintaining a competitive advantage.
The Trump administration suspended charter operations as the latest effort for pressuring the Cuban Government over its support of Venezuela’s leftist government and human rights record.
The US DOT said that the requests from SkyWay Enterprises and IBC Airways for non-scheduled cargo flights to Cuba were rejected after the State Department said that the requests did not fall within the authorized exceptions of the embargo.
It is noteworthy that the embargo provides exceptions for flights in the cases of foreign policy interest of the United States emergency medical and search-and-rescue only.
Last month, the DOT finalized the suspension of cargo flights at the request of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Pompeo said in August that it is essential to increase economic pressure on Cuba for restricting the ability of the Cuban Government to repress the Cubans and support the Venezuelan Government.
The Trump administration banned regularly scheduled flights to Cuba other than Havana a year ago.
The Trump administration then cut back public charter flights to Cuba in January for increasing economic pressure on Cuba, and in May a limit of 3,600 flights per year was set for Havana.
Swift Air and World Atlantic Airlines are the leading charter operators to Cuba.
The tough stance of the Trump administration towards the Communist Government of Cuba is popular among Cuban-Americans in Florida.
It is noteworthy that the Cuban-Americans in Florida also helped Trump win Florida during the latest presidential election.