On January 10, 2020, the US Department of
Transportation (“DOT”) issued an order
imposing new restrictions on public charter flights from the United States to
Cuba. While certain US
restrictions on Cuba, including for travel, were relaxed under President Obama,
the Trump Administration has gradually rolled back some of these changes and
further tightened US travel restrictions vis-à-vis Cuba.
On October 21, 2019, the US Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) amended the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”) to further restrict exports and reexports of items to Cuba (“the Amendment“). According to BIS, the Amendment was made to further restrict the Cuban government’s access to items subject to the EAR, thereby supporting the US government’s national security and foreign policy decision to hold the Cuban regime accountable for its repression of the Cuban people and its continuing support for the Maduro regime in Venezuela. The Amendment further implements President Trump’s June 2017 National Security Presidential Memorandum on Strengthening the Policy of the United States Toward Cuba. BIS also updated Frequently Asked Questions regarding Cuba, and the US Commerce Department issued a related press release here.
The same week, Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo wrote to the Secretary of Transportation noting the Administration’s policy and requested that the Department of Transportation (“DOT”) suspend all scheduled US carrier flights between the United States and all airports in Cuba, except José Martí International Airport (HAV) in Havana. DOT issued an order suspending service on October 25, 2019. US air carriers have 45 days to discontinue all scheduled air service between the United States and all airports in Cuba, except José Martí International Airport. Please see here for the State Department’s press release.
A summary of specific changes/clarifications made by the Amendment are described below: