Cuba: N. Korean Ship's Weapons Are Ours—and Old
'When this stuff was new, Castro was plotting revolutions'
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 17, 2013 1:45 AM CDT
Updated Jul 17, 2013 7:56 AM CDT
Panamanian workers stand atop sacks of sugar inside a container of a North Korean-flagged ship at the Manzanillo International container terminal.   (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)

(Newser) – North Korea—antique weapons repairer? The Cuban government says it owns the military equipment found on a North Korean ship seized by Panamanian authorities, and the "obsolete defensive weapons" found hidden in a cargo of sugar were to be repaired in the country before being returned to Cuba, the BBC reports. Cuba says the cargo included two anti-aircraft missile complexes, nine missiles in parts and spares, two MiG 21-Bis fighter planes, and 15 MiG engines, all made in the mid-20th century.

The weapons are so old that authorities are puzzled by the captain and crew's violent reaction to the search. "We’re talking old," an official briefed on the situation tells the New York Times. "When this stuff was new, Castro was plotting revolutions." Defense consultant IHS Jane’s Intelligence, however, believes some of the equipment could have aided North Korea's air defense network, which is based on equipment that would be considered obsolete elsewhere. The captain—who tried to commit suicide by slitting his throat during the search—and 35 crew members, all North Korean citizens, are in custody; it's not clear whether they will be prosecuted or sent back to their homeland.

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Jul 17, 2013 1:25 PM CDT
Even for North korean and Cuban standards this is just so.... Stupid.
Jul 17, 2013 10:50 AM CDT
(R) 2016 Gov. RICK PERRY Report: Sure, Cuba, when a patient gets very sick, you make a House Call to ask the doctor to come to your home; North Korean technicians can fly to Cuba to repair your very old missile system, but Kim Jong-un government afraid their North Korean technicians will defect to USA; during George W. Bush presidency, the US Congress & Senate had passed a legislation to allow any North Koreans and families who can make it outside North Korea, the US will grant a permanent residence to the North Korean refugees. American Republican bureaucrats like Panamanian President RICARDO MARTINELLI, he is honest and his Panamanian government DON'T take bribery from Hong Kong's tycoons. Mr. President RICARDO MARTINELLI can be trusted from American CIA and FBI; perhaps the South Korean NSS and Hong Kong's ICAC anti-Corruption excluded Beijing, China.
Jul 17, 2013 9:08 AM CDT
I'm confused. Does the U.S. not ship weapons around the world on a daily basis that could do much more damage than these? Just because you have the bigger guns, that doesn't make you right.