HAVANA (Reuters) – Cuban authorities have accused the U.S. government of being “complicit in piracy” for granting political asylum to a pilot who fled to Florida on a small “kidnapped” plane last October.
In a statement late Tuesday, Cuba’s foreign ministry said it had summoned Washington’s charge d’affaires in Havana to communicate Cuba’s “protest” to the asylum granted to the Cuban pilot, arguing he violated regulations.
The Cuban ministry said it had made four requests to the U.S. to “return” the 29-year-old pilot and the aircraft, a Russian-made Antonov An-2 single-engine used for fumigating crops, owned by the national air service company.
The Caribbean nation’s authorities warned that the U.S. decision could encourage similar unlawful acts with negative repercussions for the national security of both countries.
Pilot Ruben Martinez landed in the United States from the central province of Sancti Spiritus in the midst of a growing wave of Cuban migrants traveling north through the Mexican border, driven by the economic crisis in the island.