The U.S. Department of Transportation has denied requests from two small air charter companies in South Florida for exemptions to a recent embargo on nonscheduled cargo flights to Cuba. The decision underscores the raw political emotions regarding the Cuban regime, but also how businesses use the regulatory process to maintain competitive advantage.
The suspension of charter operations is the latest effort by the Trump administration to squeeze the Havana government over its human rights record and support of Venezuela’s leftist government.
The DOT said this week that it rejected the requests from SkyWay Enterprises and IBC Airways for non-scheduled cargo flights to Cuba after the State Department advised they didn’t fall within the embargo’s authorized exceptions for emergency medical, search-and-rescue or other flights in the foreign policy interest of the U.S.
The DOT last month finalized its suspension of cargo flights at the request of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who said in August that strengthening economic pressure on Cuba is necessary to restrict the regime’s ability to repress its people and support Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.