Biden Administration Apologizes for Letting Cuba Tour Sensitive Areas of Miami Airport

A TSA agent waits for passengers to use the TSA PreCheck lane being implemented by the Tra
Joe Raedle/Getty Images, file

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), State Department, and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) all reportedly apologized after members of the communist regime of Cuba received a secret guided tour of Miami International Airport on May 20, in disregard of that country’s status as a U.S.-designated state sponsor of terrorism.

The approximately five-hour-long tour reportedly saw five officials from the Castro family regime visit TSA’s control facilities at Miami International Airport. The high-security areas the communist officials were allowed to visit reportedly contain some of the agency’s sensitive computer systems.

The local Miami-Dade County administration, as well as airport personnel, stated they were unaware of the visit, which prompted their immediate condemnation as well as the condemnation of the Cuban diaspora in Florida.

Many objected to the choice of May 20, Cuban Independence Day, as the date of the tour. Throughout its over six decades of communist rule, the Castro regime has carried out extensive efforts to prevent Cubans from celebrating their country’s independence day, attempting to replace the holiday with July 26 — the anniversary of late dictator Fidel Castro’s terrorist attack on the Moncada military garrison in 1953.

Mayor of Miami-Dade County Daniella Levine Cava informed via social media on Thursday that she had met with representatives from DHS, TSA, and the Department of State to share the local community’s “deep frustration” over the visit of Castro regime officials.

“The agencies apologized and committed to changing their protocols to ensure we are informed before any other foreign delegations tour our airport,” Levine Cara stated.

Similarly, the U.S-based outlet Martí Noticias reported on Friday that, according to a message sent by the agency to the outlet, TSA apologized that the visit “was not coordinated and communicated in advance to airport and county officials.”

TSA claimed in the message that the agency “routinely works with all countries with direct flights to the United States” and that “occasional reciprocal visits” from the Cuban Ministry of Transportation took place in 2018.

Following the backlash from last week’s visit, an anonymous State Department official claimed to Martí Noticias that TSA has conducted frequent airport screenings in Cuba since 2003 and that Cuba “began sending occasional reciprocal visits to the United States in 2011, which continued during President Donald Trump’s administration until today.”

The State Department official told the U.S outlet that “aviation security is clearly of national interest” and that “given Cuba’s proximity and the existence of direct flights to and from both countries, U.S. and Cuban authorities should collaborate as each works to ensure the safety of travelers at airports.”

On Friday, Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) and Representatives Mario Díaz-Balart (R-FL) and Carlos Gimenez (R-FL) stated during a press conference that they will ask for official information about the Castro regime officials’ visit to the Miami airport.

Rep. Giménez, who served as Mayor of Miami-Dade County between 2011 and 2020, said at the press conference that he had just learned that TSA hosted a similar visit by Castro regime officials during his administration, which TSA claimed was conducted “to address aviation security issues.”

“When I was mayor no one informed me that those visits were here. That’s something that bothers me about TSA. It is a lack of respect for our community,” Rep. Giménez said.

The congressman added that the Castro regime knew very well the significance of May 20 ahead of the tour. 

“They knew it consciously and used the date to hit the Cuban exile doubly in the face,” he stressed.

Prior to the Friday press conference, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Rick Scott (R-FL), and Reps. Carlos Gimenez (R-FL), María Elvira Salazar (R-FL), and Mario Díaz-Balart (R-FL) published a letter on Wednesday addressing Homeland Security chief Alejandro Mayorkas and TSA administrator David Pekoske, in which they expressed their “deep concern and indignation” over the Cuban officials’ visit. In the letter, they requested that the officials explain under what legal authority the TSA or DHS invited the Cuban officials to tour sensitive areas of the airport, what areas they accessed, and what security protocols the TSA has for screening foreign visitors on tours at U.S. airports.

Christian K. Caruzo is a Venezuelan writer and documents life under socialism. You can follow him on Twitter here.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.