U.S. Airport Authorities Invited Another Cuban Delegation for a New Visit

According to a document obtained by Martí Noticias, the Foreign Ministry requested four visas for a business trip and the signing of a “Letter of Agreement” on air traffic control

Luggage security checks at Miami International Airport / MIA

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, 25 June 2024 – The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) invited Cuban officials to visit the Miami Air Route Traffic Control Center in Florida, “as part of the Operation Miami/Havana and Houston/Havana Agreement.” The information was revealed on Monday by Martí Noticias, which had access to a document from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba requesting a visa from the U.S. Embassy in Havana for the four people who traveled. The exact date of the visit is unknown, since, although the FAA itself confirmed that the meeting took place and was in May, it would be necessary to “contact the Cuban authorities to obtain information about their itineraries,” says Martí Noticias. The Cuban Foreign Ministry eluded answering the questions of the media, based in Miami.

In the visa application document, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs indicates that the reason for the trip is to hold a working meeting and sign a “Letter of Agreement” on air traffic control between the Federal Aviation Commission and the Cuban Institute of Civil Aeronautics. In addition, Eddie Pérez, manager of the Miami flight control center, is indicated as a reference contact, and it is specified that the costs of the visit will be borne by the Cuban side.

It is also specified that the departure was scheduled for May 12 “with entry through one of the authorized ports (IAD and JFK).” The first is Dulles International Airport, in Washington DC, while the second is John F. Kennedy, in New York City.

It is also specified that the departure was scheduled for May 12 “with entry through one of the authorized ports (IAD and JFK)”

According to Martí Noticias, the officials who were sent to the United States are Orlando Nevot González (former director of Air Navigation of the Institute of Civil Aeronautics of Cuba), Michel Mederos Reigoza (former supervisor of the Traffic Control Center of Cuba), Jorge Fermín Centella (worker of the Cuban Company of Airports and Services) and Jorge Luis Martínez Rizo (of the Institute of Civil Aeronautics).

A delegation of 15 U.S. officials, including managers from the airports of Miami and Houston, received the Cubans. According to media sources, the purpose was to “address the continuous, safe and efficient movement of aircraft” between the terminals of both countries.

The visit took place almost parallel to the one that at the end of May raised a strong controversy in Florida, also from Cuban officials, for a “exchange of knowledge” with their colleagues from the Transportation Security Administration of Miami International Airport.

That meeting was denounced to Diario de Las Américas by a source who complained about “letting the agents of the Cuban dictatorship into those facilities, letting the Castro spies enter the heart of the airport.” Some workers shared with this informant their doubts about the possible access of Cuban officials to “sensitive information, a practice reserved for representatives of allied countries.”

On that occasion, the Cuban side had “direct access to the new three-dimensional X-ray technology, among whose objectives is the identification of explosives to prevent terrorist groups from introducing them into the cabin of an airplane and other sensitive places. “It is inconceivable, absurd, unjustifiable and very dangerous,” said the source, who insisted that “opening the door of our security to Cuban officials means also having opened the door to Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Russia and other regimes that are enemies of American democracy.”

After the visit, Republican politicians Marco Rubio and Carlos A. Giménez, who chairs the Subcommittee on National Security for Transport and Maritime of the House of Representatives, presented the  Secure Airports From Enemies (SAFE) Act before the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States, respectively.

Giménez described it as “incredible” that agents of a regime that is on the list of countries that sponsor terrorism were invited to visit the U.S. facilities

Giménez described it as “incredible” that agents of a regime that is on the list of countries that sponsor terrorism were invited to visit the U.S. facilities.

“We must make sure that this Administration does not allow foreign agents to know about our security measures aimed at keeping Americans safe,” Rubio said.

Washington and Havana maintain a cooperation program on security issues that provides for actions such as visiting institutions, exchanging information and working together, for example, to prevent terrorist attacks and drug trafficking operations. Over the years, there have been several meetings of this type.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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