AREQUIPA, Peru. – Dominican airline Air Century stopped operating charter flights between Cuba and Nicaragua as a result of recent measures announced by the United States Department of State.
A note on the portal Reportur indicates that the route cancellation is part of a U.S. strategy for reducing the high level of migration of Cubans to the United States.
“They have realized that this is where it all starts, the source of all these immigrants who then travel across Central America into Mexico, and then cross the southern U.S. border,” stated immigration lawyer, Jesús Novo, to Telemundo 51.
As part of Novo’s statements, quoted by the Mexican portal, he warned that in spite of
airlines prohibitions, Cubans will continue to find ways to leave Cuba because the situation in the island is unbearable.
Sanctions on Air Century were made known last Tuesday through a communique from the U.S. Department of State.
The sanctions entail a new policy of restrictions regarding visas aimed at individuals implicated in the charter flights operation toward Nicaragua, a route frequently used by irregular migrants.
According to the communique, made public by Matthew Miller, a spokesperson, these charter flight companies are “providing fights and charging extortion-level prices” which lead migrants to take “a dangerous land route toward the U.S. border.”
The State Department also voiced its preoccupation with how charter flights and its operators “are placing migrant lives at risk” highlighting that many of these migrants lack “a legal basis for entering or remaining in the United States” and are frequently “returned to their countries of origin, having wasted significant personal resources and putting themselves and their families at risk.” According to the State Department, as part of an integral approach to deal with irregular migration, Washington is implementing restrictions to visas under Section INA 212(a)(3)(C) against “owners, executives and or high corporate officers of companies that provide charter flights to Nicaragua that are designed mainly for irregular migrants to the United States.”