Tourism October 25, 2019 | 7:44 am

Cuban Aviation cancels flights to Santo Domingo and eight other destinations

HAVANA, Cuba. – The Cuban state airline Aviation announced the cancellation of its flights to seven international and two national destinations. It blamed the recent tightening of the US embargo on the Caribbean country.

As reported by the State Cuban News Agency (ACN), the international itineraries affected are: Mexico City, Cancun, Santo Domingo (Dominican  Republic ), Caracas (Venezuela), Port-au-Prince (Haiti), Fort-de-France (Martinique) and Pointe-à-Pitre (Guadeloupe).

It will also affect the itineraries between the capital and the eastern cities of Santiago de Cuba – second in importance of the island – and Holguin, according to the state agency, which did not offer more details about it.

The deputy director of the airline, Arsenio Arocha Elías-Moisés, said that Cubana de Aviacion was notified of the closing of two aircraft lease contracts by third-country companies -which it did not identify-, and blamed them for the latest sanctions provided by Washington’s administration against Cuba.

Arocha said that the suspension of operations to the destinations mentioned above would harm about 40 thousand passengers until next December 31, and economic damages are estimated at 10 million in “freely convertible currency” (this is interpreted to be equivalent to dollars) Until that date.

Washington accuses Havana of giving “sustenance to the Venezuelan dictatorship.”

He considered that US actions cause “indirect damage” to the image of the Cuban commercial aviation company, which hinders it from fulfilling the commitments already made.

However, the manager indicated that the Cuban company is looking for alternatives to this situation and that, despite the escalation of pressures by the US government, examines the relevant solutions to continue providing services.

Cuba does not buy its planes; it rents them

He also assured that the affected passengers will receive the total value of their tickets at the commercial offices of the airline and that they will proceed to make a readjustment of the national routes.

The most recent report by the Cuban Government to quantify the economic damage caused to the island by the US “blockade” (as the embargo in Cuba since 1960 is known in Cuba) argues that they amount to 138,843 million dollars at current prices and 922,630 million at constant prices.

According to these data, Cuba recorded losses of 4,343 million dollars between April 2018 and March 2019, and the transport sector has suffered damages of more than 170 million dollars in that period.

Correctly, the aviation area has received an impact of more than 136 million dollars, according to the directive of the Ministry of Transportation, Ivette Caballero.

As the official explained, Cuba cannot buy aircraft, it has to lease them at high prices, and neither has the possibility of accessing the suppliers of parts, pieces, and aggregates because of the connection of these companies to US companies and capitals.

Since President Donald Trump arrived at the White House in January 2017, he has tightened the policy towards Cuba with reductions in diplomatic personnel, the increase in the trade embargo, restrictions on cruises, and limits on the travel of Americans to the island.

The latest measures ordered by Washington to reinforce the embargo that went into effect last Monday prohibit selling items containing 10% of US components or telecommunications infrastructure to Cuba. EFE

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