GO
Loading...

Snowden stakeout: Waiting in Havana—to no avail

Friday, 12 Jul 2013 | 3:45 PM ET
Justin Solomon | CNBC

It was a strange scene at Havana's Jose Marti International Airport Thursday night: Dozens of journalists camped out on the second level of Terminal 3 overlooking the runway. All eyes to the sky waiting for Aeroflight Flight 150 from Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport. They were there to find out if NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden was about to make his entrance.

Earlier in the day a report indicated that the flight's path was not its "normal" route, leading to speculation that it was avoiding the airspace of certain countries. That led many to believe that Snowden was on board.

Cuba Shows Beginnings of Free Enterprise
The Cuban government apparently is making changes to the economy and wants the whole world to see, reports CNBC's Michelle Caruso-Cabrera.

Speculation about the arrival coincided with a visit by 20 or so international journalists to Havana. Invited by the Cuban government to witness the country's economic reforms, the group of mostly business journalists stormed the airport, along with local media and outlets with bureaus in the city.

Once the plane parked at its gate, the journalists piled into their cars and headed to Level 1: arrivals.

One door became completely surrounded by cameras and journalists hoping to hear a passenger say that they sat next to Snowden.

The first to exit, the pilot of Flight 150, made a valiant effort to use an alternative door, but the reporters were too fast for him. As he came outside, crushed by dozens of cameras, the pilot smiled and appeared to take it all in stride. He told the group that there were no VIPs on his flight, and certainly no Edward Snowden.

The same message was uttered by the flight's crew as they piled into their bus to take them to their hotel.

"It was a normal flight," said on crew member as he pushed past the cameras.

All appeared to be normal for the crew—except for the greeting its members received in Havana.

—By CNBC's Justin Solomon. Follow him on Twitter: @jsolomoncnbc