The latter half of 2019 may have been overshadowed by the impeachment efforts against President Trump, but most of the year was spent, in some portion, on targeting communist nations like Cuba and Venezuela because of their human rights violations and the oppressive tactics their dictatorial governments have taken to oppress their citizens.
Not only were both Cuba and Venezuela labeled as terrorist states, but a controversial new measure has been taken against Cuba. The United States has cancels charter flights to nine airports in Cuba in an effort to combat Cuba’s support for Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro.
The only airport that will be receiving flights is Cuba’s international airport.
The announcement was made over the weekend by the State Department.
The U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo released a statement saying that the “action will further restrict the Cuban regime’s ability to obtain revenue, which it uses to finance its ongoing repression of the Cuban people and its unconscionable support for” the Venezuelan dictator.
Pompeo further explained that “in suspending public charter flights to these nine Cuban airports, the United States further impedes the Cuban regime from gaining access to hard currency from U.S. travelers.”
However, not all lawmakers are championing the move.
Many Cuban Americans who live in South Florida depend on these flights to reunite with their families back in cities like Santiago de Cuba, Varadero & Camagüey. This policy only serves to separate Cuban families. #FamiliesBelongTogether https://t.co/wtXYhjckqe
— Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (@RepDMP) January 10, 2020
In Florida, Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D) shared her disapproval on Twitter, arguing that “many Cuban Americans who live in South Florida depend on these flights to reunite with their families back in cities like Santiago de Cuba, Varadero & Camagüey.”
In turn, the freshman lawmaker asserted that “this policy only serves to separate Cuban families.”
Though the sanctions come as a result of the Cuban government exploiting the trips made back and forth between countries, some lawmakers continue to voice their displeasure at the announcement, citing it as further proof that the Trump administration is working counterproductively.
In 2019, Florida U.S. Reps. Francis Rooney (R) and Mario Diaz-Balart (R) penned a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to encourage the Trump administration to reestablish the terrorism designation on Cuba.
Both men pointed to Cuba’s support of Dictator Nicolas Maduro’s regime and other regional terrorist organizations, such as Colombia’s FARC.