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Experts react in the Florida kidnapping case

Posted: 04/10/13 at 7:10 pm EDT

MIAMI (WSVN) - Political experts react after the U.S. received cooperation from Cuba in the case where two parents accused of kidnapping their children from Florida then fled to Cuba.

"They've been very supportive, and they've been very cooperative in all of our requests," said FBI spokesperson David Couvertier.

It's not what many would expect to hear from the Castro government, but cooperation is what led to Joshua and Sharyn Hakken being returned to the U.S. after kidnapping their own children and fleeing to the island.

"There is some interaction, that interaction is a far cry from the kind of relationship that could be established if only the Cuban regime would let go of its stranglehold on the people of Cuba, who they continue to persecute," said U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (FL-D.).

The University of Miami's Cuba expert said he is not surprised, and it is not a first for Cuba cooperating with the U.S. "Cuba and the United States have relations. We have an intersection in Havana, they have an intersection in Washington," said UM Cuba Expert Dr. Jamie Suchliki.

Dr. Suchliki predicted that the Cuban government would return the suspects and the kidnapped children. He said Cuba had nothing to gain by keeping them. "If they would have been supporters of the Cuba government, if they had been involved in a campaign against the United States and so on, then they could have said, 'Well, these are political refugees, and we'll accept them,'" said Suchliki.

"They are very picky. They like to have blood on their hands. That's why they have accepted people like Joanne Chesimard who killed a New Jersey state trooper," said U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-R.).

Chesimard is one of many Black Panthers believed to be living in Cuba and wanted by the FBI. "Cuba supported the Black Panthers. Cuba trained the Black Panthers," said Dr. Suchliki.

Dr. Suchliki said Cuba protects like-minded criminals, but draws the line on the so-called common criminals. "Cuba does not want to see themselves as a haven for non-political crimes," he said.

The fugitives are compared with the Elian Gonzalez custody battle case. In this case, two boys in Cuba and their legal guardians, their grandparents in the U.S., is an international custody battle that Suchliki said would simply be bad publicity for Cuba.

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