RealNews

Spate of Hijackings Prompts Rare US Warning to Cubans

Signs of internal discontent in Cuba increased Wednesday and rumors of a brewing mass exodus spread as alleged armed men staged the third hijacking in two weeks in an effort to reach Florida. In addition, Cuban prosecutors said they will seek long jail terms for political opponents — an apparent effort to stifle dissent. Underscoring the U.S. government’s alarm that the incidents could lead to a migration crisis, America’s highest-ranking diplomat in Havana issued a rare statement via Cuban television Wednesday night warning that those who hijack planes or boats would be prosecuted and lose the right to seek residency in the United States. The unusual move by James Cason, chief of the U.S. Interests Section, followed unprecedented action by Fidel Castro on Tuesday when he personally became involved in trying to dissuade a man from commandeering a plane that ultimately landed in Key West. “Such acts are extremely serious violations of international law and of U.S. law,” Cason said of the hijackings in his message, read by an announcer in Spanish on the regular nightly broadcast. “Any individual of any nationality, including Cuban, who hijacks an aircraft or vessel to the United States will be prosecuted with the full force of the U.S. legal system. Full Story

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