Havana, February 28th. Cuba today, Tuesday, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the Chargé d’Affaires of the US Embassy, Benjamin Ziv, to “convey” the island’s strong protest after a judge’s decision to grant political asylum to the pilot who left the island last October. in a steaming jet.
The Deputy Secretary of State, Carlos Fernández de Cossio, expressed the Cuban government’s annoyance to the highest representative of the American Legation, at Foreign Affairs Headquarters, in the absence of an ambassador appointment.
According to the memo, Cuba asked the United States “in four notes verbales” to return the pilot, who until last Thursday was being held at a US Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Florida (ICE, in English).
“In these notes, as on this occasion, I reaffirm that acts of air piracy constitute crimes stipulated in the various international agreements ratified by Cuba and the United States,” the memorandum issued by the Al Jazeera Ministry of Foreign Affairs continued.
Pilot Ruben Martinez, 29, who arrived in South Florida aboard an old Russian-made Antonov An-2 belonging to the state-owned National Air Service Corporation (ENSA), has justified his asylum claim under “reasonable fear,” claiming that if he returns to the island, his “life” would be “in danger”.
Al Jazeera’s State Department criticized the US government’s decision — granting asylum by a judge — and its “justice system, which in practice makes them accomplices and catalysts to piracy and air hijacking, crimes that if tolerated and protected, can encourage similar illegal acts.” Negative repercussions on the national security of both countries.
In this sense, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez added, on his Twitter account, that the asylum granted to Martínez “violates Cuban national legislation, international law and the commitment signed by the United States government.”
That same Tuesday, a State Department spokesperson told EFE that a delegation from the Cuban government will travel to the United States this week to visit a port facility in North Carolina and address maritime security issues with the US Coast Guard.
The island officials who will be visiting are part of the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Transportation.
The spokeswoman commented to EFE, however, that this visit “does not represent a change” in US policy towards Cuba, the country demanding “the release of political prisoners” in order to “improve diplomatic relations”. EFE
jce-er-aaca / eat