Cuba blocked Edward Snowden from entering the island nation on his flight from Hong Kong to Ecuador, which would have normally stopped to make connections in Moscow, Russia and then Havana, Cuba.
According to the Christian Science Monitor and Reuters, that’s the new information coming from Russian business newspaper Kommersant on Monday. If the Kommersant’s sources are right, it goes a long way toward explaining why Edward Snowden got trapped in the Moscow airport — and ultimately in the nation of Russia.
To recap briefly, the 30-year-old NSA contractor fled from the United States to Hong Kong, China to avoid being served with a felony warrant for espionage and theft charges. As the net tightened around him there, he then took an Aeroflot flight from Hong Kong to the Russian airline’s hub in Moscow.
But his US passport was cancelled because of the felony warrant for his arrest.
Snowden already had a seat arranged on the flight from Moscow to the next connection in Havana, Cuba.
But ultimately he missed the flight and ended up marooned in the Moscow airport for weeks until he could arrange for temporary asylum in Russia.
The new report claims that Cuba blocked Snowden’s entry because of US pressure on the island nation.
According to CSM: “A Kommersant source who is close to the US State Department confirmed that Cuba was one of the countries whose authorities had been warned by the US that any assistance provided to Snowden will lead to ‘adverse consequences.’”
Reuters agreed the Russian news source said that Cuban officials had told Moscow not to allow Edward Snowden to board the flight to Havana.
Relations between the US and Cuba have been sour for decades. There’s a near-total embargo on trade with the island nation which has been in place since the early 1960s — making it the longest-running trade embargo in modern history.
Allowing Edward Snowden to transit their country certainly wouldn’t have helped Cuba argue for the embargo to be lifted.
However, Reuters added that they couldn’t confirm Kommersant’s claim that Cuba blocked Snowden’s entry.