• 46°

Hudson wants to stop flights to Cuba over security concerns

Hudson

Richard Hudson

Richard Hudson

By Josh Bergeron
josh.bergeron@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson is doubling down on his attempt to delay flights to Cuba over airport security concerns.

Hudson, R-8, on Tuesday introduced a bill to stop flights from the U.S. until security equipment at Cuba’s airports is inspected. He also joined with a New York representative on Thursday to ask U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to delay flights.

Hudson’s actions come a few weeks after he and other members of Congress weren’t granted visas to travel to Cuba and inspect security at airports.

“As far as we know, there will be daily flights coming into Charlotte from Cuban airports that don’t have proper screening or explosive detection, that can’t check for fake passports or IDs, that lack TSA on the ground and that don’t have air marshals on planes,” Hudson said in a news release when he introduced a bill earlier this week. “How can this administration guarantee the American people there won’t be a security threat on one of those planes?”

In a letter sent to Foxx on Thursday, Hudson and Rep. John Katko, a Republican from New York, note that Cuba was removed from the list of state sponsors of terrorism about a year ago. The country has been a safe haven for terrorists, the letter states.

“We strongly urge the U.S. government to delay these plans to resume air service to Cuba until the security measures at these airports can be verified and the potential risks to our homeland security have been appropriately scrutinized,” the letter states.

Hudson and Katko outlined a number of concerns in support of their request, including: a potential lack of adequate body scanners, the quality of explosive detection systems, whether Cuban aviation workers are screened and if air marshals can fly missions to Cuba on commercial flights.

“These questions must be answered in order to provide certainty to the American public that their security will not be jeopardized by these new flights,” the letter states.

A bill introduced by Hudson and other members of the U.S. House — three Republicans and a Democrat — would also stop flights to Cuba, but it was introduced this week and hasn’t been voted on.

If approved, Hudson’s bill would require the Transportation Security Administration provide a report to congress that details security measures at 10 Cuban airports, require an independent audit of the TSA’s report to Congress, allow air marshals to conduct missions on flights between the U.S. and Cuba and allow TSA access to “last point of departure airports” to conduct security assessments.

Earlier this year, President Barack Obama became the first sitting American president in decades to visit Cuba. Obama has also attempted to ease restrictions on Cuba.

Flights have already been approved from the U.S. to Cuba. American Airlines is already selling tickets for flights that start in September. Charlotte is one of the airports that will offer flights to Cuba.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.

Comments

High School

North Rowan romps into second round of football playoffs

Nation/World

FBI had interviewed former FedEx employee who killed eight

Crime

Gastonia man sentenced for crash into restaurant that killed his daughter, daughter-in-law

Nation/World

Some call for charges after video of police shooting 13-year-old in Chicago

Business

State unemployment rate falls to 5.2% in March

Coronavirus

NASCAR approach to virus vaccine varies greatly

News

Judge rejects Cherokee challenge against new casino in Kings Mountain

Elections

Jackson tops NC Senate fundraising; Walker coffers also full

Local

Kiwanis Pankcake Festival serves thousands of flapjacks for charity

Coronavirus

Rowan remains in state’s middle, yellow tier for COVID-19 community spread

Crime

Blotter: Man faces sexual exploitation charge for images on Instagram

News

Defendant convicted in attempted murder case on the run after fleeing from trial

Business

Downtown Gateway Building to be renamed for late Paul Fisher

Coronavirus

Rowan County COVID-19 data for April 15

Local

Rep. Warren’s bill would prohibit parking in electric vehicle charging stations

Local

Historic Preservation Commission approves Integro Technologies expansion, Paint the Pavement project

Education

Faith Academy, RSS will negotiate over what goes, stays in elementary school

Crime

Teacher killed in Alamance County shootout with Mexican drug cartel

Coronavirus

Bill would give more tax breaks on COVID-19 loans

Nation/World

No response as divers knock on capsized ship’s hull

Local

Quotes of the week

Crime

Blotter: Man found on church property with litany of drugs

Crime

Man charged in connection to 2019 overdose death

Business

‘It’s our big time’: Salisbury Farmers Market reopens Saturday