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Commercial U.S. to Cuba flights agreed

The icy relationship that has existed between Cuba and the United States since Fidel Castro overthrew the incumbent leader Fulgencio Batista in 1959, which resulted in an eventual breaking off of relations between the two countries in late 1961. However, over the last few years, seen by many as a positive initiative by President Obama, there has been a gradual thaw and the latest evidence of this is the announcement by the United States and Cuba to restore regular commercial flights. The agreement follows on since President Barack Obama and President Raul Castro announced a historic détente, this allowed, amongst other things, for US airlines to negotiate with the Cuban government over commercial flight routes and schedules. We are not aware when the first flights will take place, but the deal certainly paves the way for thousands of visitors to the island on a daily basis.

Travel between the two countries is up by 70% already this year and with a regular air travel schedule, tourism to the country from the US is bound to increase by a huge amount on top of the already thousands of Americans who are already visiting the island, with hotels and hostels booked up for months. These travellers have had to use charter flights which are very difficult to book with, or use a third party country that already has flights going to Cuba. We know that tourism is the mainstay of the Cuban economy, so it is no surprise to anyone that the Cuban government was keen to ensure that the deal was completed.

What is rather confusing is that the State Department has reminded US citizens that a ban on tourist travel to Cuba remains in place, the US economic embargo still also remains in place despite the efforts of President Obama to get Congress to lift this. However, after more than 50 years of hostility, Castro and Obama announced the normalisation of relations on 17 December 2014, since then, embassies have opened in Havana and Washington.

Picture: merc67 / Shutterstock.com

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