The Biden administration lifted Trump-era flight restrictions that prevented U.S. airlines and chartered flights from going to other cities in Cuba besides Havana on Wednesday.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said revoking the prohibition was in support of the Cuban people and in the “foreign policy interests of the United States.”
He made a written request with the U.S. Transportation Department on Tuesday and the department made the change on Wednesday.
The Trump administration had issued several travel restrictions on Cuba between 2019 and 2020, which the Biden administration has said in recent weeks it plans to ease.
Airport workers receive JetBlue flight 387, the first commercial flight between the U.S. and Cuba in more than a half century, holding a United States, and a Cuban national flag, on the airport tarmac Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016 in Santa Clara, Cuba.
(AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa, File)
Cuba “uses tourism and travel funds to finance its abuses and interference in Venezuela. Dictators cannot be allowed to benefit from U.S. travel,” former President Trump’s secretary of state Mike Pompeo said at the time, according to Reuters.
The Biden White House also plans to lift restrictions on money that immigrants can send to people on the island.
Danmara Triana walks home after picking up her daughter Alice from school in Cienfuegos, Cuba, Thursday, May 19, 2022. Triana’s husband and son, who is Alice’s father and brother, have lived in the U.S. since 2015, while she and their two daughters stayed behind. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
(AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
The administration said it would also move to reinstate the Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program, which has a backlog of more than 20,000 applications and increase consular services and visa processing.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks, Wednesday, June 1, 2022, during a news conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, at the State Department in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
“With these actions, we aim to support Cubans’ aspirations for freedom and for greater economic opportunities so that they can lead successful lives at home,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said last month.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.