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Miami Herald: Sen. Marco Rubio Amendment Would Bar New Flights to Cuba from U.S. Airports

Feb 17, 2011 | News

It took only a month for backers and critics of President Barack Obama’s decision to ease restrictions on U.S. citizens’ trips to Cuba to come out of their corners and start swinging.

Cuban-American Sen.’s Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Bob Menendez, D-N.J., announced this week they had submitted an amendment that would block any new flights from U.S. airports to Cuba that might be allowed by the Obama decision.

And one of the largest U.S. tourism companies, AmericanTours International LLC (ATI), launched a Web page on Monday offering tours for those newly qualified to visit Cuba – under the headline, “Connect Understand Become Amigos!”

Obama set the stage for the fight over travel to Cuba last monthwhen the White House announced it would make it easier for U.S. educational, religious, cultural and humanitarian groups to visit the island.

Part of the changes involved allowing virtually any U.S. airport with top-ranked security capabilities to host charter flights to and from Cuba. Currently, only Miami, Los Angeles and New York are allowed to host the flights.

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