THANKS to the softening of relationships between the USA and Cuba, some European red faces have been saved as President Raul Castro approved the return of an inert AGM 114 Hellfire laser-guided missile to the United States.
In what could have been written for an old Ealing comedy, the missile was shipped to Spain from the USA in 2014 for use in a NATO exercise but by mistake, and no-one is too sure as to who made the mistake, rather than returning to the US, it was sent to Cuba, not America’s greatest friend at the time.
The movement of the missile was somewhat convoluted as it went from Spain to Germany, then to Paris for onwards shipping to Florida but for some reason it ended up on an Air France flight to Cuba, leaving the Americans in the somewhat invidious situation of having to approach, cap in hand, and ask for their missile back.
The biggest fear that the American military had was that Cuban scientists, who have had to become very creative due to the sanctions imposed on them since the 1960s would be able to strip the missile down, learn all of its production and guidance secrets and even transfer the technology to one of the enemies of the state such as North Korea.
In the event, thanks in no small part to the fact that diplomatic relations have been restored between the two countries and sanctions are being softened, the Cuban government agreed to return the missile to its rightful owners.