After landing at an airfield in the southern United States, the pilot, identified as Rubén Martínez, declared himself a “deserter”.
Saturday, October 22, 2022 ((rezonodwes.com))–A Cuban pilot landed in South Florida in the United States with an old Russian-made light aircraft and declared himself a defector, airport officials said Miami International (MIA).
At around 11:30 a.m. Friday (1530 GMT), the pilot arrived in a Russian single-engine Antonov AN-2 at Dade-Collier airfield, located in the middle of the Everglades, the huge wetland reserve that covers southern Florida.
“He said he was a deserter from Sancti Spíritus”, a province in central Cuba, the same sources said. CiberCuba, which was first to report the news, identified the airman as Rubén Martínez and said he worked for Cuban airline Empresa Cubana de Servicios Aéreos (ENSA).
The media also showed images of the small aircraft, colored yellow and blue, as it was stopped at the edge of the airfield runway. This model of light aircraft is generally used for light transport with a capacity of twelve passengers, parachuting and agricultural work.
US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers arrived at the landing site to investigate.
In recent months, many Cubans have tried to reach the United States after leaving their country, hit by the worst economic crisis in three decades, with shortages of food, medicine and fuel.
Between October 2021 and August 2022, about 200,000 Cubans were intercepted by US authorities, according to CBP, after entering through the Mexican border or crossing the Florida Strait in precarious boats.