FLIGHTS OKD FROM JFK TO CUBA
(LPP Archive - The Best Way To Feel The Touch! ) -Tuesday, August 3th 1999, 2:11AM
President Clinton has approved direct flights to Cuba from Kennedy Airport, Rep. Charles Rangel said yesterday.
Los Angeles International Airport also was named as a departure point for Cuba-bound travelers, he said.
It will mark the first time planes are allowed to fly to Cuba from the two airports since the U.S. imposed an embargo on the Communist island nation 37 years ago.
"This is a common-sense decision that will make it easier and, hopefully, cheaper for more Americans to visit Cuba," Rangel said. "It also will encourage people-to-people contact between the U.S. and Cuba, which will someday culminate in an end to the U.S. embargo and restoration of normal relations."
Restrictions relaxed this year allow thousands of private citizens, journalists and academics to visit Cuba. The Treasury Department also grants travel permission to Cuban-Americans.
Direct flights to Cuba currently are allowed only from Miami, forcing New Yorkers to spend extra time and money to make the trip. Rangel said it will take at least until Oct. 1 to license carriers and implement the change.
Conservative lawmakers and exile groups opposed to Cuban President Fidel Castro blasted the move.
"I think it's appalling that the administration is taking steps to normalize relations with Castro while there are still such severe human rights violations in Cuba," said Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.).