Edward Snowden was not denied passage to Cuba, according to an article in the Guardian newspaper today, Wednesday, Aug. 28. Fidel Castro, the Communist guerrilla who led the revolution which overthrew the Cuban government in the 1950s, wrote a column today in which he denied that Cuba had ever blocked Snowden’s flight to Havana on June 24 of this year, according to Reuters News.
Castro was the leader of the Communist government in Cuba until 2006 when he stepped aside in favor of his brother Raul.
Snowden, former CIA employee and National Security Agency analyst, leaked classified U.S. documents to the Chinese when he fled to Hong Kong and later to the Russians when he landed in Moscow on June 23. His plan was to board a plane from Moscow to Havana on June 24.
Russian newspaper Kommersant reported Monday that Havana told the Russians they would not allow the Aeroflot plane to land in Cuba if Snowden was on board. The article further said the Cubans bowed to U.S. pressure in denying Snowden passage to Havana.
Castro blasted the Kommersant article as “a lie and libel”, saying Cuba did not bow to American pressure.
Glenn Greenwald originally made his name internationally when he wrote articles for the British publication the Guardian which contained Snowden’s leaks. Snowden’s identity was originally kept secret, but he then announced to the world he was the source of Greenwald’s stories.
Snowden is working for a private corporation in Russia similar to Facebook while his fate plays out on an international stage. Supporters hail him as a whistleblower who exposed NSA surveillance of American citizens while several politicians have denounced him as a traitor. President Barack Obama is attempting to extradite him to the U.S. for trial on espionage charges based on his leaking of classified documents.
Castro meanwhile resorted to Cold War rhetoric when he said, “Cuba has resisted the U.S. for 54 years and will continue to do so without benefit of a truce.”
Havana was Las Vegas before Las Vegas existed as lavish nightclubs made it the playground of the Caribbean. Americans regularly traveled to Cuba to party at the extravagant casinos which flourished under the leadership of Fulgencia Batista. That tourist industry ended though when Castro’s rebels overthrew the Batista government and installed a Communist regime which immediately jailed and executed many Cubans.
Many Cubans fled to Miami which was referred to as “Little Havana”. The Russians installed missiles aimed at the U.S. which led to the Cuban Missile Crisis. When President John F. Kennedy ordered the Russians to remove the missiles they did so.
However, when Kennedy was assassinated 50 years ago in November of 1963, many people theorized Castro may have been behind it as revenge. Others have speculated the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba may have led to JFK’s assassination.
Snowden’s fate remains unknown while U.S.-Cuban relations are deteriorating as a result of Castro’s blast against America. Whether or not this tirade by the former Cuban dictator will affect Snowden’s ultimate fate remains to be seen. Snowden currently is the possessor of one year asylum in the former Soviet Union. Castro’s outburst may indicate it was the Russians who would not allow Snowden out of Moscow rather than the Cubans.
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