Press Release: Officials of the Cuban dictatorship granted access to secure areas of Miami International Airport should raise red flags

Press release

Officials of the Cuban dictatorship granted access to secure areas of Miami International Airport should raise red flags

CFC executive director asks Biden Administration:  Why grant Cuban dictatorship access to “control” areas at Miami International Airport?

Miami International Airport Source: Sharon Hahn Darlin

Center for a Free Cuba. Washington DC. May 21, 2024. The Center for a Free Cuba’s executive director John Suarez in a Tweet addressed to Ambassador Brian A. Nichols, Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, sent earlier today expressed his security concerns surrounding a visit by Cuban officials to secure areas of Miami International Airport on Monday.

“Officials of the Cuban dictatorship visited control areas of Miami International Airport on May 20, 2024, in an exchange between the Transportation Security Administration and its “counterparts” on the Island. Cuba is a state terror sponsor with a history of also supplying U.S. secrets to America’s enemies. Why facilitate?”

More reason for concern is the revelation by Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava that “the decision to allow Cuban officials to tour secure areas at MIA was made without the knowledge of the Miami-Dade Aviation Department.”

This is not the first time Cuban officials have been granted access to secure sections of U.S. facilities.

On February 26, 2023 the Biden Administration had Cuban officials tour U.S. Coast Guard headquarters in Washington, D.C. and the Port of Wilmington. The Port visit raised concerns at the time from Representative David Rouzer and other Members of Congress.

“Granting Cuban officials access to U.S. facilities and ports where they are granted access to secure areas where they can gather information to provide to their allies in North Korea, Iran, Syria, and Russia should raise red flags”, said John Suarez, executive director, Center for a Free Cuba..

State Department says Cuba cooperating on terrorism. No word on request by son of terror victim

The Biden State Department removed Cuba from the list of countries not cooperating in the fight against terrorism on May 15, 2024. On the same day Joseph Connor, whose father Frank Connor was murdered in a 1975 terrorist attack in New York City by a Cuban backed group, in a letter addressed to Secretary Antony Blinken asked for one of the terrorists involved in the bombing, and now harbored by Havana, to be returned to the United States to face justice. Six days later, and Mr. Connor has not received a response.

The reason given by Vedant Patel, the principal deputy spokesperson at the State Department on May 16, 2024 “that the circumstances for Cuba’s certifications as not fully cooperating country have changed from 2022 to 2023” does not stand up to scrutiny. Patel cited “Cuba’s refusal to engage with Colombia on extradition requests for National Liberation Army members supported Cuba’s NFCC certification for 2022.”

What change took place? Not the behavior of Cuba.

The Colombian terrorists harbored in Cuba were not extradited. The new duly elected president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, a past member of the terrorist group M-19 in Colombia with close ties to Havana, ordered his attorney general to suspend the arrest warrant “against 17 ELN commanders, including those whose extradition Colombia had previously requested from Cuba.” Patel also cited that “the U.S. and Cuba resumed law enforcement cooperation in 2023, including on counterterrorism.” First, the phrase “law-enforcement dialogue” is inaccurate. In Cuba, there is no rule of law. To keep power, there is a dictatorship and a repressive security apparatus. There is no such thing as “law enforcement.”

What has that meant in practice?

Giving legitimacy to the Cuban dictatorship through this sham “law enforcement cooperation” led Cuban officials meeting with their American counterparts to accuse the United States of “supporting people in Miami plotting ‘terrorist’ actions against Cuba.” Biden administration officials rejected these claims, but the actions of Havana could not be described as a good faith effort, or a reason to cite the dictatorship as fully cooperating in anti-terrorism efforts. Much less grant them access to secure facilities that are of great importance to America’s infrastructure.