Tag Archive | "Cuba"

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Obama Administration Approves Cuba Flights

By Ann-Marie Adams | @annmarieadams

WASHINGTON —  The U.S. Department of Transportation  has approved six domestic airlines to begin scheduled flights from the US to Cuba.

The flights will originate from  Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Minneapolis/St. Paul and Cuba as early as this fall, federal officials said today. The carriers are American Airlines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Silver Airways, Southwest Airlines, and Sun Country Airlines.

The latest move is a part of the Obama Administration’s efforts to normalize relations with Cuba.

“Last year, President Barack Obama announced that it was time to ‘begin a new journey’ with the Cuban people,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.  “Today, we are delivering on his promise by re-launching scheduled air service to Cuba after more than half a century.”

On February 16, 2016, Secretary Foxx and Department of State Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs Charles Rivkin signed a non-legally-binding arrangement to re-establish scheduled air service between the two countries.

At the time of the signing, the administration announced that scheduled service would begin later in 2016.

The five U.S. cities that will receive new scheduled service to Cuba are Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Chicago, Minneapolis/St. Paul, and Philadelphia.  The nine Cuban cities are Camagüey, Cayo Coco, Cayo Largo, Cienfuegos, Holguín, Manzanillo, Matanzas, Santa Clara, and Santiago de Cuba.

Under the new arrangement, each country has the opportunity to operate up to 10 daily roundtrip flights between the U.S. and each of Cuba’s nine international airports, other than Havana, for a total of 90 daily roundtrips.

Interested parties may view the DOT’s decision, track the progress of the case, and view the publicly available documents online at regulations.gov.

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US Flag Flies High in Cuba for 1st Time in 54 Years

For the first time in 54 years, the U.S. flag was raised over the U.S. Embassy in Cuba, a symbolic nod to the end of a diplomatic strain that has lasted more than half a century.

“We are gathered here because our leaders made a courageous decision to stop being prisoners of history,” Secretary of State John Kerry said during the ceremony.

NBC News notes that Kerry’s visit is also historic because “he is the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit the communist island since World War II.”

“My friends, it doesn’t take a GPS to realize that the road of mutual isolation and estrangement that the United States and Cuba were traveling is not the right one and that the time has come for us to move in a more promising direction,” Kerry said. “In the United States, that means recognizing that U.S. policy is not the anvil on which Cuba’s future will be forged.”

Three Marines were tasked with lowering the flag in 1961 when the U.S. severed diplomatic ties with the communist country, which sits just 90 miles from Florida. On Friday those same three Marines returned to watch the flag hoisted high above the embassy.

“Larry, Mike and Jim had done their jobs, but they also made a bold promise—that one day they would return to Havana and raise the flag again,” Kerry said.

In December, President Barack Obama announced that the “U.S. was ending an ‘outdated approach’ of isolating Cuba. In May, the U.S. dropped Cuba from its list of state sponsors of terrorism,” NBC News reports.

On Friday Kerry acknowledged that while the raising of the flag was historic, the road to diplomatic harmony between the U.S. and Cuba has just begun.

“We are all aware that, notwithstanding President Obama’s new policy, the overall U.S. embargo on trade with Cuba remains in place and can only be lifted by congressional action—a step we strongly favor,” Kerry said.

James Tracy, one of the three Marines who helped take the flag down in 1961 and were on hand to see it raised, told CNN that the gesture was “one more step for peace.”

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