Amber alert could now become an international incident - FOX 13 News

Amber alert could now become an international incident

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

We often hear stories of Cubans defecting from their country to come to America.

But it's much less common to hear of Americans who have fled to Cuba.

What happens when they get there? And what will happen to the Hakkens if they indeed sailed all the way from St. John's Pass to Cuba?

Tampa attorney Daniel Fernandez says it would be difficult for U.S. authorities to bring the Hakkens back.

"There are fugitives from the United States in Cuba, hundreds of them, that we can't get back to prosecute. So, it's going to be tough," he said.

But he added that diplomacy may improve those chances, because Cuba doesn't have much to gain.

"I think from a diplomatic perspective, they've got nothing to gain and they've got a lot to lose in terms of public relations around the world. So there's a chance that with the right diplomacy the child (children) could be returned," he said.

The last time that the Unites States and Cuba clashed over a custody issue made headlines around the nation and around the world. Elian Gonzales was 6 years old in 1999 when his mother and 12 others fled Cuba in an aluminum boat.

Elian's mother drowned on the way over, and his father back in Cuba demanded he be brought back.

The situation culminated months later in a raid where federal agents seized Elian and returned him to Cuba.

What happens with the Hakkens, if they are in Cuba, is now an international matter, and could wind up at President Obama's desk.

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