​Cuba: Snowden Not Allowed to Land​​

August 26, 2021

Cuba warned that it would not allow the flight from Russia to land in Havana if NSA leaker Edward Snowden were aboard, which is how he got stuck at a Moscow airport. Snowden has been charged under the U.S. Treason Act.

The information is from Russian government officials that detail the twists and turns in the fate of the former defense consultant, including a report that he had visited the Russian consulate in Hong Kong to get help with his trip two days before flying to Moscow.

Citing a Russian government official, Kommersant said Snowden appeared at the Russian consulate in Hong Kong on his own initiative and showed consulate officials his Aeroflot ticket to Havana via Moscow, he appealed for their help under the international convention on the rights of refugees.

The 30-year-old Snowden has been charged under the U.S. Treason Act for revealing information on the National Security Agency’s surveillance and data-gathering networks. He has defended his action by saying he was trying to “correct this wrongdoing.”

If true, the story about seeking help from Russia appears to be at odds with comments by Russian President Vladimir Putin two days after Snowden landed at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport on June 23.

Putin said at the time that Snowden’s choice of travel route, and his request for Russia’s help had come as a “complete surprise.” This was interpreted as referring to his arrival in Moscow, but Putin did not specify.

Snowden had a reservation (seat No. 17A) on an Aeroflot flight the following day to Havana. He had intended to go from there to one of the Latin American countries, Bolivia or Venezuela, who were willing to grant him asylum.

Snowden’s onward travel on Cuba on June 24 seemed so certain that several reporters booked their own passage on the same flight. However, Snowden never showed up. He was left stuck in the airport transit area until Aug. 1 when Russia granted him a one-year, temporary asylum.

Kommersant, quoting several unidentified “informed” sources, said Cuba, citing U.S. pressure, warned Russia that it would not allow the Aeroflot flight from Moscow to land in Havana if Snowden were on board.

A source identified as someone “close to the State Department” confirmed to the paper that Cuba was among a number of countries that had been cautioned not to provide assistance to Snowden.