A Friday news release from the agency notes that the move was initiated by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), a division of the Commerce Department that handles issues related to national security and enhanced technologies.
“This action by the Commerce Department sends another clear message to the Cuban regime – that they must immediately cease their destructive behavior at home and abroad,” Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in a statement included in the press release.
“The Trump Administration will continue to act against the Cuban regime for its misdeeds, while continuing to support the Cuban people and their aspirations for freedom and prosperity.”
According to BIS, the restrictive sanctions were prompted after it was discovered that Cuban officials had been transporting tourists on leased airplanes that were subject to BIS' jurisdiction. "BIS is revoking existing licenses for aircraft leases to Cuban state-owned airlines, and will deny future applications for aircraft leases," reads the release.
The latest development comes as the Trump administration has continued to overturn Obama-era agreements with the Cuban government. In June, the State Department announced that it would be barring Americans from traveling to Cuba, in addition to prohibiting visits to Cuba via passenger and recreational vessels such as cruise ships.
More recently, the US State Department sanctioned former Cuban leader Raul Castro, who now serves as the first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, for his alleged involvement in human rights violations.