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News > Cuba

Cuba Rejects US Political Asylum To Hijacker Of Civilian Plane

  • Cuban citizen Ruben Martinez.

    Cuban citizen Ruben Martinez. | Photo: Twitter/ @Eilemspsuv

Published 1 March 2023

Cuban citizen Martinez attempted to enter irregularly to the United States with the civilian aircraft he hijacked. 

On Tuesday, Cuba’s Foreign Affairs Ministry (Minrex) rejected that the U.S. granted political asylum to Cuban citizen Ruben Martinez, who hijacked a civilian aircraft in October 2022 to enter the United States illegally.


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A few days before, the Minrex issued four verbal notes to request the deportation of Martinez, whom it accused of committing an act of piracy. Cuban authorities also demanded the return of the stolen aircraft, which the National Air Services Company S.A. (ENSA) owns.

Cuba’s Vice Foreign Affairs Minister Carlos Fernandez condemned the crime before the United States Chargé d'Affaires on the Island, Benjamin Ziff, at a bilateral meeting held on Monday.

"Air piracy acts constitute offenses under several international conventions ratified by Cuba and the United States, such as the Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention)," Fernandez stressed, adding that Martinez’s actions violated the U.S. airspace.

He also stressed that the political asylum granting violates the Joint Declaration on Migration signed by Cuba and the United States on Jan. 12, 2017, to counteract irregular migration.

That initiative established that both parties are obliged to discourage illegal acts linked to irregular migration and promote bilateral cooperation to prosecute human trafficking and other perpetrators of crimes associated with migratory movements.

“Impunity for actions of this nature constitutes a negative and dangerous precedent for the security of both countries,” Fernandez pointed out, explaining that the non-prosecution of this crime could encourage similar illegal acts.

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