Round table on the topic of “Who are the real terrorists?” held in the Cuban Television Studios on May 23, 2002, “Year of the heroes imprisoned by the empire”
(Translation of Council of State transcripts)
Randy Alonso. - Good evening, dear viewers and listeners.
For over forty years the Cuban people has suffered from the terrorist aggression of successive U.S. governments which have brought death and destruction to our country.
This evening we continue with our round table “Who are the real terrorists?” Tonight we have on our panel Reinaldo Taladrid, a journalist with the Cuban Television News Department, Manuel Hevia, director of the State Security’s Historical Research Center, Rogelio Polanco, editor of the newspaper, Juventud Rebelde, Jorge Ovies, director of the Plant Health Research Institute, Arleen Rodríguez Derivet, editor of Tricontinental magazine, José Luis Méndez, also a researcher at the State Security’s Historical Research Center, Lazaro Barredo, a journalist with Trabajadores and Renato Recio, who also writes for Trabajadores, the newspaper of the Cuban Central Workers Organization.
Our studio guests today are workers from the cement and glass group of companies of the Ministry of Basic Industry, comrades from the Ministry of the Interior’s Immigration Department and representatives of the Ministry of Information Technology and Communications.
(Short clips of terrorist acts against Cuba are shown.)
As the editorial in yesterday’s Granma said, the Cuban people is waging a great battle of ideas. We shall demolish one by one the U.S. administration’s lies which in the last few weeks have raised the specter of bioterrorism, accused Cuba of being terrorist nation and then there are the threats made by President Bush in his speeches on May 20.
While analyzing U.S.’ list of terrorist states, Our Round Table yesterday wondered “Who are the real terrorists?” and began a run down of the countless acts of aggression and terrorism committed by U.S. governments against the Cuban people.
We analyzed what happened from the very beginning of 1959; the Bay of Pigs invasion, U.S. imperialism’s first defeat in Latin America: the countrarrevolutionary bands that left more than 500 people dead and a great deal of grief among our people and many, many other plans which U.S. administrations have carried out against Cuba.
The Bay of Pigs was over, it was a huge failure for U.S. governments, but they immediately conjured up new plans for aggression against the Cuban Revolution. Operation Mongoose was an important chapter in this non-stop aggression against Cuba and a chapter which, furthermore, included underhand excuses to provoke an aggression against our country.
I suggest that comrade Manuel Hevia remind us about that chapter in the sinister terrorist history of U.S. governments against Cuba.
Manuel Hevia. - Thank you very much, Randy and good evening.
There is no doubt that the U.S. government’s Operation Mongoose has been an obscure subject in the history of that country’s intelligence community.
Mongoose is still considered to be an top-secret national security affair; many years after it was officially ended ¾Operation Mongoose was launched at the end of 1961, a few months after the Bay of Pigs victory, and ended at the close of 1962 ¾ it continues to be a little known passage in the history of terrorism committed by various U.S. administrations against Cuba. Even today, 40 years later, the lack of literature or other documents about the real impact that Operation Mongoose had inside Cuba has led some to try to downplay or deny knowledge of its operational size, its dimension or importance, sometimes reducing it to scant insignificant happenings related to terrorist actions.
In fact, Operation Mongoose was a veritable secret Bay of Pigs which subjected Cuba to a level of subversive activity never before seen in terms of its intensity and aggressiveness and which lasted, as I already said, all through 1962 and a part of 1963.
Yesterday, we were reminded how in the Bay of Pigs 40 years Later Conference, held in our country last year ¾ which was attended by a large group of U.S. scholars and researchers and even by some advisors and ex-soldiers of the U.S. administration in office at the time¾ a former high-ranking CIA officer, who was also at the conference, explained with all seriousness that he had taken part in Operation Mongoose on the direct orders of the U.S. government.
That government’s Operation Mongoose is the concrete expression of its doctrine concerning covert actions and an example of the policy of State terrorism which has been the central tenet, as we all know, of its position towards Cuba from 1959 on.
We must place Mongoose in this political and historical context; it was nothing less than a State terrorism operation sponsored by the U.S. government designed to destabilize Cuba and create the right conditions for a direct military invasion, before a year had passed since the Bay of Pigs victory.
Mongoose was inspired by the U.S. government’s desire for revenge for the fiasco suffered at the Bay of Pigs. It was a new attempt to make us pay for Yankee imperialism’s first big defeat in Latin America. It was also, however, an attempt to beef up their apparatus for intelligence and subversion against Cuba and a continuation of the aggressive strategy they had been using since 1959 itself, as we were saying at the Table yesterday. Because of its size, it was the largest U.S. covert program anywhere in the world in the 60s. Its central aim was to encourage up-risings by counterrevolutionary groups inside the country and an alleged armed insurrection which would make an immediate U.S. military intervention easier.
Of course, we only learned about this, the aims of this operation, many years later. Everyone knows that none of the many covert actions implemented by the U.S. government is announced in the press nor in public statements. They are carried out clandestinely and using secret tactics.
How did our authorities find out what was going on? Particularly in 1962, an intense subversive activity from the United States against Cuba was detected. It was neither fortuitous nor spontaneous. There was a marked increase ¾ and that became more apparent day by day¾ in the counterrevolutionary bands and their horrendous crimes; attempts were made to smuggle tons of explosives and weapons along our coastline; many teams of commandos from the United States who tried to infiltrate into the country were arrested; pirate attacks from speed boats coming from the United States continuously took place; the spy networks recruited by the U.S. spy agencies multiplied; almost every day we detected an incessant attempt to obtain political, military and economic information from the “spies” run by our country’s State Security bodies; the number of terrorist sabotage attacks on the sugar and service industries sky-rocketed; there was an increase in terrorist acts on Cuban diplomatic representations abroad or on those of other countries who traded with us, in defiance of the Yankee blockade; we were inundated by an intense propaganda campaign from the pirate radio stations located in U.S. territory.
All of this activity suggested to us the existence of a well-thought out subversive plot with copious economic resources which, all 1962 long, our people had to go up against and destroy.
Mongoose, comrades, was not cancelled by the U.S. government after the Missile Crisis. That is historically incorrect. Mongoose was put out of action as a subversive operation by our people, before they even knew the name given to it at that time by our enemies.
What did we learn years later? Who directed Mongoose? How was it organized? An airforce commander, Edward Landsdale was appointed coordinator of Operation Mongoose at the end of 1961. He was an experienced officer specialized in counterinsurgency, who had achieved some “military successes”, if that is what you want to call them, in Indo-China. However, because of its political and strategic importance at the highest level, the control of this covert operation was to be in the hands of a special group, at the head of which appeared the attorney general, Robert Kennedy, and other representatives of U.S. government agencies and departments, including the Department of Defense, the State Department, the U.S. Information Agency and of course of the U.S. intelligence services.
So the proposal was made to use all available resources to overthrow the revolution using 33 different tasks. Operation Mongoose programmed organizational tasks; political tasks, economic warfare tasks, psychological operations, espionage and actions leading to an eventual attack which would do away with the Cuban Revolution.
All of this, comrades, can be found in documents declassified by the United States many years later.
Mongoose, which would also be known as the Cuba Project, set up several timelines for its implementation. In other words, they condemned us to destruction, with mathematical precision, using a policy of open terrorism carried out in silence from the shadows, and cared little how many died, cared little what ills befell the Cuba people.
What were the timeframes? According to these documents:
- March 1962, operations begin.
- April and May, clandestine activity inside Cuba is intensified i.e. new recruiting drives for groups, setting up new counterrevolutionary organizations.
- August 1, these documents talked about getting actions going. That’s clear, what actions are they referring to? They are referring to terrorist acts of sabotage, assassination attempts, and infiltration.
- August and September, stepping up the actions.
- October generalized uprisings.
- End of October, forming a new government, a new government of course that suited U.S. interests.
All through 1962 the U.S. government’s aim, in the concrete case of Mongoose ¾ I want to be as precise as possible here so that our people have sufficient information to allow them to assess the impact of this operation on Cuba ¾ was to rebuild the counterrevolutionary organizations which still existed inside the country. We all know that these organizations had been more or less dismembered at the time of the Bay of Pigs.
Another objective, to reactivate the counterrevolutionary bands in all provinces. I should point out here that, in practice, all through that year¾and this is proof of the work done by these services¾ more than 1000 counterrevolutionary bandits were recorded, mostly in the Escambray mountains and Mantanzas province, although there were in fact bandits in all the then provinces of the country.
These cruel and criminal bandits, encouraged by the very powers-that-be in Washington, were the cause in that year alone of 82 innocent deaths ¾ which of course are directly attributable to Operation Mongoose ¾ hundreds of wounded or maimed and that’s without counting the dozens of soldiers killed, massacred as often as not, in ambushes, and in the back.
In 1962 the bandits, involved in the Mongoose operation, were also responsible for 30 peasant homes burned, 41 rural schools totally destroyed, 12 state farms destroyed, 14 shops burned down as well as another 19 warehouses, 20 attacks on public transport ¾ they were fired on. The bands acted this way on the roads, hidden among the brush. Often it was a bus laden with workers who were going to or returning from their work. This kind of cowardly mean action also cost the lives of innocent ordinary citizens, workers ¾ there were even cases of children. There were thousands of fires in sugar cane fields. There were so many that it is in fact hard to find the exact number. Obviously Mongoose’s impact cannot be minimized.
Another of the objectives of the United States: to create their own espionage structures. From this time on, they decided that the ideal way was to create networks of agents who reported to them directly so they could put the networks to work for their strategic interests. In order to develop these networks of agents, a tool was needed which would properly ensure this kind of clandestine work. So from then on, the CIA’s radio station JM/WAVE in Miami would be made stronger. This radio station was the biggest that the CIA had anywhere in the world in the 60s. JM/WAVE radio would play an important role in the implementation of the Mongoose plans.
The U.S. government had allocated an annual budget of around 500 million dollars per year for this station which would be operational until about 1967.
In 1962 alone, Cuban security corps discovered more than 50 cases of espionage and clashed with at least 40 seaborne infiltrations equipped with arms and explosives, encouraged by the U.S. government, which were trying to create terror and internal chaos. Such acts have occurred over and over again throughout the last 40 years as if the ghost of Mongoose was still amongst us.
Another of its aims was the terrorist acts of sabotage. In that year, 1962 ¾and it is important to stress this ¾ more than 600 acts of sabotage against important economic targets were recorded out of a total of 5,060 terrorist acts.
But that was not all, there were also, of course, the plans to assassinate our Commander-in-Chief. These were always one of the operation’s priorities, one of the most cynical expressions of U.S. policy which, at the same time, best illustrates the failure of its aggressive plans against Cuba.
We have operative evidence of a multitude of criminal plans for very important assassination attempts against our Commander-in-Chief all through 1962 involving practically all the major U.S. [intelligence] services through their various agencies.
We remind you that at that time the U.S. espionage bodies had already joined ranks with the Mafia in its plans to assassinate our leaders, and especially our Commander-in-Chief, Fidel Castro Ruz. Just a few of these criminal plans ¾ in this case only eight ¾ would come to light years later, in 1975, thanks to a commission headed by U.S. senator Church which investigated the involvement of U.S. intelligence agencies in various plans to assassinate foreign heads of state.
It is also important to highlight another facet of Mongoose. Landsdale proposed to the expanded special group of the national Security Council four possible alternatives to use against Cuba. These included direct military intervention using some provocation as a pretext for public consumption.
If at first the U.S. president did not give the green light to the direct military intervention option, the word expanded was added to the variant that was approved in order “to include the use of the armed forces if it were in the administration’s interest.”
In this way, as early as 1962, when the Bay of Pigs victory had not yet had its first anniversary, the plans for a future military invasion of Cuba once again became a real and imminent threat,
If we relate this “expanded” version with the phases for Operation Mongoose, it looks as if the U.S. military invasion of Cuba was programmed for October 1962. And that is very important.
A few years ago, when the U.S. government declassified a series of documents related to this operation, this goal became even more obvious in a document entitled, “A pretext to justify a U.S. military intervention in Cuba”.
I only want to read, very succinctly, some parts of an article which appeared in a U.S. magazine, that used these declassified documents as a source, so that you can see very clearly just how low a government like that of the United States will stoop. A government that 40 years later, tries to pass itself off as the world anti-terrorist champion.
This is an article published in the magazine U.S. News World Report of October 8, 1998 entitled: Is there anything we didn’t do to frid ourselves of Castro?” It mentions various “pretexts” taken from a memorandum from the president of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the U.S. armed forces dated April 11, 1962 addressed to Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara.
“To simulate an attack on the Guantánamo naval base, using Cubans” ¾ Cubans living in the United States, naturally¾ who would pass themselves off as Cuban attackers, launching mortars, destroying planes and installations, before being captured. Using this pretext, the United States would launch a direct counterattack.
Another pretext: “To blow up a ship with no crew near an important Cuban town. The U.S. would simulate a rescue of non-existent crew members and the list of dead would be published in U.S. papers causing a wave of national outrage”. This would provide another excuse to invade our country.
“To sink a boat full of Cubans headed for Miami”. They argued that this could be real or simulated, in other words, they were even considering the real variant of sinking a boat full of supposed refugees in order to blame us for it.
“To smuggle arms into a Caribbean country and to send planes painted like Cuban MiGs to give the appearance of a subversive act backed by Castro.” ¾ this is a direct quote.
“To blow up a U.S. plane with no passengers or crew, having prepared a false passenger list and Cuba would be blamed for the incident.”
Even if these plans were never carried out, they nevertheless clearly show, first off the Pentagon’s impatience for and determination to have a direct invasion of Cuba.
These pretexts do not deserve any more attention and seem to have been excerpted from a horror or science fiction novel.
On October 22, 1962 the Missile Crisis began, an historical event inextricably linked to the chain of aggressions begun in 1959, including the Bay of Pigs and Operation Mongoose itself.
The missile Crisis frustrated a direct military invasion of Cuba planned for by Operation Mongoose long before the agreements between Cuba and the USSR to station rockets in Cuba.
But the Missile Crisis, which threatened Cuba with the danger of destruction, had started long before, in 1959, when the U.S. dirty war against our country began.
I should like to end, comrades, by saying that Mongoose ¾ and this is perhaps its most important lesson ¾ would give rise, years later, to salaried agents sowing terrorism, political assassinations, arms trafficking, the Watergate and Iran-Contra scandals, Cuban-born mercenaries in Africa, Asia and Latin America and the petty chieftains of the Cuban American National foundation who from then on would turn terrorism into a business and a way to get rich..
The Mongoose precepts are still in evidence in a clear and plain manner in the Helms-Burton Act; it authorizes subversion against Cuba.
The1962 terrorist Operation Mongoose, offspring of the most loathsome instincts of our enemies, lives on in the aggressive policies of the current U.S. government.
Randy Alonso. - Thank you, Hevia for that account.
(Clips of terrorist acts against Cuba are screened)
Randy Alonso. - As well as deploying the very aggressive plans contained in Operation Mongoose and also after those historic days the Cuban people lived through in the Missile Crisis, the United States proposed ¾ as it had done from the start ¾ to make political use of the immigration question as a tool of aggression.
Our people remember the undeniably terrorist nature of what was known as Operation Peter Pan and also the endetment of the Cuban Adjustment Act in 1966.
Rogelio Polanco will talk about these topics.
Rogelio Polanco. - Yes, this is another terrorist operation which took place at the same time as Operation Mongoose. As they were smuggling in weapons and causing the deaths of our citizens and children, they spread that untrue rumor that the Revolution, the Revolutionary government, was going to take the custody of their children away from parents.
I think that this was one of the most sordid chapters in the campaign of lies, slanders and false rumors against Cuba, not to mention one of the most immoral and most inhumane, because it involved, of course, thousands and thousands of children.
It was towards the end of 1960 when the enemies of the Revolution began this new plan for psychological warfare and terrorism which was predicated, as I was saying, on that non- existent bill to deprive parents of custody over their children which the revolutionary government had supposedly passed.
It started out as a CIA operation on December 26, 1960, was put into practice with the close cooperation of the upper echelons of the Catholic Church and of counterrevolutionary organization in Cuba.
As we all remember, more than 14,000 Cuban children were kidnapped, illegally removed from their parents and sent to the United States to boarding schools, reform schools, orphanages, and so-called camps. They were also adopted by families of complete strangers. It was something really monstrous which caused grief and suffering to those thousands of children and also to their parents and families. Many were apart for years and years and some, in fact, were never able to see each other again.
Some of them suffered abuse, including sexual abuse which they mention in countless testimonies. Moral, psychological, spiritual and physical harm was done to those children and those behind Peter Pan will one day have to beg the Cuban people’s forgiveness for that.
It was a complete fabrication because it tried to lie and say that the Revolution forbade families and children to emigrate, something that never happened here. For that reason, so that nobody forgets that terrible story, this book ¾ which many of you will remember¾ was published during the battle for Elian’s return, Operation Peter Pan: an example of psychological warfare against Cuba. It is a true testimonial of what happened in those years. It also tells who was truly responsible for those terrorist actions which involved Central Intelligence Agency officers and agents, CIA stations, employees of official U.S. agencies, terrorist organizations in our country, Falangist clergy and, naturally, subversive radio stations to spread that lie.
Many statements justifying this operation have appeared, many lies have also been told, many attempts made to hide the truth, to manipulate, to twist what happened.
At present, there are no documents declassified by the U.S. government about all this. In other words, they are still hiding this criminal operation from the public and from History.
In President Bush’s last speech in Miami he introduced one of his cabinet, a Cuban, Mel Martínez as a graduate of Peter Pan; he introduced him with a certain glee, an idealized way of introducing one of the victims of that operation.
As I said, a considerably idealized version of these events has been given. I have here a reference made in the book to the psychological damage in the child victims of Peter Pan caused by the U.S. government itself and its authorities in a covert operation to overthrow the revolution.
“The main problems Cuban children spoke of were lack of food, gangs in the reception centers and camps, corporal punishment, having to do housework, which some found humiliating and others weren’t used to, but which all described as slavery, since they felt exploited by their guardians and teachers. They had to face abrupt changes in language, customs and culture, but most of all they felt alone and abandoned.” There is a very revealing statement about Operation Peter Pan by Dr. Lourdes Rodríguez, a clinical psychologist at Simmons College in Boston. She was, in fact, one of those children and says that they had to pay a high price for their experience and that “I’ve long felt that the whole operation was highly questionable from an ethical viewpoint (…) Operation Peter Pan was nothing less than a massive form of child abuse perpetrated by the U.S. government. It’s time to stop idealizing this horrible chapter of Cuban-American history.
This was part of a chapter in which emigration was used as a weapon to try to overthrow the Cuban Revolution. That is an idea that has been around since January 1, 1959 when the thugs, the terrorist and all the corrupt hoards of Batista’s dictatorship were allowed to enter and settle in the United States. And then, one of the key figures in this Operation Peter Pan, Monsignor Brian O. Walsh¾ mentioned in all the documents¾ also played an important part in drafting and having passed the murderous and terrorist Cuban Adjustment Act itself, from the effects of which, we as a people, have suffered all these years.
Passed on November 2, 1966, this law was the way the United States came up with to accept every Cuban who arrived there illegally from January 1, 1959 on. That is why it was so crudely passed to ensure legal residency and the opportunity to work in the United States, first to Batista supporters. It has no expiry date, of course, only a beginning date. It is a legal aberration because in all adjustments that have been implemented in immigration matters, there is a closing date for those who want to legalize their residency in the United States. Not in this case, in this case it is from January 1, 1959 and therefore it has given an advantage [to Cubans] and is discriminatory towards other immigrants. The wording itself was completely changed for Cubans; Cubans are not immigrants, they are exiles; Cubans do not emigrate, they flee, whereas other Latin Americans who enter the United States illegally are harassed, thrown out and even killed.
It was the Revolution itself, at the height of these tensions and conflicts over immigration that took the first steps to have agreements signed for legal, orderly emigration to the United States, agreements which the U.S. government itself has failed to respect on numerous occasions.
When we have seen, right here at our Round Table, so many mothers weeping over the deaths of their children or children who have been dragged into these sea-crossings by irresponsible parents, when we have also seen families that have been divided, those brothers torn to pieces by sharks or those more than 30 people who died in cases that we all remember or the case of our little kidnap victim, Cubans today have the right to wonder whether keeping a law on the books which knowingly causes the death of Cuban citizens and, above all of women and children is or isn’t terrorism. We have the right to wonder whether offering impunity and tolerance to those who traffic in human beings because of that law is or isn’t terrorism, when it is well known that more than 90% of illegal Cuban immigrants to the United States travel with these immigrant smugglers ¾ and these people hook up very easily with arms and drug smugglers. We have the right to wonder whether refusing to sign a comprehensive agreement on the subject of immigration with our country and, moreover, to inform the Cuban families and people about events related to these themes is or isn’t terrorism. We have the right to wonder whether it is or isn’t terrorism when, instead of restricting or repealing this law, more and more privileges are given to those entering the United States illegally from Cuba thanks to the pressures of the mob and the venal behavior of some U.S. officials and authorities who continue to hand out privileges to those who enter illegally.
I think that today, at the height of this battle against terrorism, the authority of the U.S. government is in some way being undermined because it is obvious that it continues to lead Cuban citizens, and mostly our children to a cruel and unjustifiable death with this law. I think that one day they too, those who today do nothing to stop this grief for Cuban families, will be on a list of terrorists and those who have caused this suffering will finally be brought to judgement.
Randy Alonso. - Yes, Polanco, a flesh and blood example of the use the U.S. government makes of the immigration matters as a weapon of aggression against our people is in the shocking testimony given by young Ivette Vega during the International Forum, “Women against the Blockade’.
Ivette Vega.- I am here to talk about my experiences which are probably very much like those of many Cuban families.
After first encouraging, at the triumph of the Revolution, an unlimited open door policy for the murderous thugs who had grown rich under the government overthrown by the Revolution and then encouraging professionals, mostly doctors, to leave the country, in 1970, the United States began to promote other kinds of illegal exodus under the name of Operation Peter Pan.
Although in the official documents declassified by the CIA it looks as if it was over before the 70s began, later research has shown that the operation was in place for almost 12 years after its inception in 1960.
My brother is a victim of this operation although he does not think of it in that way; he still thinks he was deceived by my parents, who got him out of Cub via Spain in May of 1970 intending that we should all get back together immediately. I was really young back then and I couldn’t understand what was going on in my family. There are still many things that have not been given closure; many conversations we still have to have; many things to be cleared up. However, thanks to the education of respect and solidarity that I received, mostly from my family, and thanks to the level of education I have attained because of the Revolution and thanks to the political lessons I have learned just by living in this country, I can now understand many things, perhaps many more things than my parents understood when they decided to send my brother out of the country.
What my brother went through in all those years is a long story. Let me just say that he is not a healthy person and he is not completely happy, perhaps he might never be.
My brother had no contact with my family from 1970 until 1991, when my mother was able to go and visit him for the first time. In 1993 my parents went together to visit him and upon seeing his state of health and his living conditions, they decided to share the responsibility that they had, to some degree, avoided for so many years to give me a good education and share their life with us. My mother decided to stay in the United States and my father came back to be with me so that each of us would have a parent with him/her.
It was really a vain attempt to fulfill their wish to be with us because my mother and father had a very solid marriage and the separation was really hard on them.
In 1995, following a claim made by my brother, my father left Cuba forever and now the three of them live together.
In 1999 when I learned that my father had cancer, I went to the Interests Section here in Havana to ask for a temporary permit to visit my family and to be able to spend time with them, at least once, while they were seemingly healthy and alive. I took a letter from the hospital where my father was getting treatment; I told the truth when I answered the many questions on the form that the Interests Section gives to anyone wanting to leave the country temporarily but I was refused a visa. I was given a false impersonal letter in which it said that my case had been carefully analyzed. I told them that was untrue, because the same letter is given to everyone who is denied permission for a temporary stay.
If that same person who is today denouncing arbitrariness had simply tried to leave Cuba illegally, she would have been welcome with open arms by the U.S. government.
The reason they gave me was that I was a potential immigrant and that I would not at that time, and perhaps never, be allowed to go to the United States because all my family was there. They don’t take into account that I have a son, they know absolutely nothing about my history. They disregard that I freely chose to live in Cuba and that that has not prevented me from feeling overwhelming love for my family and that I have the human right to visit them and to be with them in their difficult moments.
My parents have only recently understood that this story is true as well, because there is a lot of manipulation around these situations.
And many of the people left the Interests Section, like I did that day, with similar feelings of having been mistreated, humiliated, of having been unaware of their legal options, even of the options established and agreed to in the legal agreements in force between the two countries.
I ask, how can a country which calls itself democratic deny me the right to visit my family for the one simple reason, and I am quite clear on this, that I am a revolutionary. How is it possible that they cannot understand that the bonds of love are more important than anything and that my parents and I have been able to respect each other’s convictions and live respecting and loving each other in spite of being apart.
Perhaps I shall have to postpone embracing my family for an unknown amount of time; perhaps I will never be able to do so. However I think that in some way this step, like the one a walker takes, will help to open the way, so that maybe my son will have that opportunity, so that perhaps others will not suffer what many Cuban who go to the Interests Section looking for a legal exit from Cuba suffer and so that no one ever again tramples on the human right of any Cuban man or women to embrace his or her loved ones.
Thank you very much.
Randy Alonso. - And amid that deluge of U.S. terrorist plans and plots against our country, of creating counterrevolutionary organizations to attack the process that would become a unique process in Latin America, all through the 60s countless terrorist actions against Cuban targets abroad were carried out, financed and guided by the United States. Reinaldo Taladrid is going to tell us about that.
Reinaldo Taladrid. - Yes Randy, with great pleasure.
It was a new variant in that long list of terrorist actions against Cuba.
What was it all about? We are talking about bombs being placed, people being killed and terrorist actions being committed against Cuban property, be they embassies or other kinds of property abroad; and not only against Cuban property but also against property of other countries that, according to the Miami based terrorists, are friends of Cuba or have relations with Cuba. This is what we are talking about.
This type of action began on April 1, 1959, which means that it was terrorism plain and simple because nobody, on April 1, 1959 could give an ideological connotation to this type of action. And I say that because the Cuban Consulate in New York was attacked on April 1, 1959. You can’t call an attack on a consulate on that date anything other than terrorist.
On June 5, 1959 the Cuban consul in Miami, Alonso Hidalgo Barrios was attacked and on August 4, 1959 ¾ the tone is changing¾ four Cuban airplanes were destroyed in a hangar belonging to Air International Corporation of Miami, Florida, completely destroying the planes and causing considerable damage to the hangar. Destroying four planes, attacking a consul and attacking a consulate is pure terrorism. The year, 1959.
The list is endless and I haven’t enough time. I am going to choose some of these incidents which will allow me to get some idea across and share them with you.
For example, on December 7, 1960, a Cuban official is attacked and wounded in the United States. What legal repercussions were there? None. Did the police do anything? Did the FBI? No, they did not. The terrorists, those responsible, free. And that pattern is repeated.
November 17, 1962 ¾ a very tense time, November 1962, the Missile Crisis had just ended¾ there is an attack on Cuban officials to the UN and the Cuban attaché Roberto Santiesteban Casanova is wounded. Those responsible? No worries, no problems.
December 2, 1964, the terrorist organization the Cuban Nationalist Movement puts a bomb against the UN building. When? Well, exactly when Comandante Ernesto Che Guevara was speaking in the UN. They were now acting against an international agency, the most prestigious one on the planet.
This tendency continues, because on October 12, 1965 the Insurrectional Revolutionary Recovery Movement (MIRR) placed a bomb on a Spanish ship in San Juan, Puerto Rico. They had already put a bomb in the UN and now they were attacking a Spanish ship. Anyone who recognized Cuba, anyone whom they thought had relations with Cuba was liable to be a victim of these terrorist attacks.
Thus we reach 1968 and I want to linger here a while and I will tell you why. It was in that year, 1968, unfortunately, that the organization Poder Cubano enters the public arena. Why do I say that? Because it is an important year and it is an important organization in terms of the ideas I am trying to get across.
The top leader of that organization was Orlando Bosch. Orlando Bosch’s second in command was Marcelino Jiménez García. Who was Marcelino Jiménez García? He has already passed away peacefully in Miami. He was a top officer in the SIM, and, for the young people in our audience, that’s Batista’s Military Intelligence Service, where many, many human rights violations, of all types, were committed. Marcelino Jiménez García has already passed away peacefully in Miami and nothing happened.
In 1968 alone, these Poder Cubano people, operating from the United States, making everything there, placed 82 bombs and of these 82 ¾ and this is the other variant, the idea that I wanted to share¾ 72 were placed in the United States. Look how these terrorists are already attacking many people and through many different targets. For example, they put five bombs on Spanish, Polish and Japanese ships, simply because these countries traded with Cuba. They put nine bombs ¾ and this is another variant¾ in Miami shops for extortion purposes. Remember that the words mob and terrorist, and here you have an example of that, fit together perfectly: they simply ask the shopkeepers to pay them a certain amount of money and, if they don’t, they put a bomb in their shop. I would like to know what ideological content this action could possibly have; this is mob and terrorism.
They went on; they didn’t stop there. In March 1968 this Orlando Bosch organization put a bomb in the Chilean consulate in Miami, and earlier, in January, they had put a bomb in a plane carrying packages to Cuba. A plane, note that already in 1968 they were thinking about putting bombs in planes, and you know the role that Orlando Bosch played later on in Barbados
On April 22, 1968 they placed a bomb in the Mexican consulate. Chilean consulate, Mexican consulate, they have all been victims of these people’s terrorism.
In July 1968 they put a bomb in the Canadian tourism office in the United States; Mexico, Chile, Canada. All this was done and admitted to by the Poder Cubano bunch.
In August 1968 they put a bomb in the U.S. Customs office in Miami, a U.S. government agency. Take a look at the kind of victims they picked on: ships, U.S. government agencies, diplomatic missions of countries that traded with Cuba or had relations with Cuba.
And what happens? Well, listen carefully, because this is incredible, but true.
Orlando Bosch is arrested in 1968. Where is Orlando Bosch arrested? Near Orlando, just as they were about to take off in a B-26. What was in the B-26 on which Orlando Bosch and some others from his group were travelling? There were 18 bombs; the plane was preparing to take off for Cuba and the bombs, the 18 bombs were presumably going to be dropped on Cuba.
So, what happened? First, a man who was nabbed on a plane carrying 18 bombs near Orlando, in Florida, was allowed out on bail of only $5,000, that’s the first thing. He is tried; that’s true, they put him on trial. Look at the charges: one, attacks on merchant ships, ¾ all of these are prior offenses, that they admitted to, they didn’t have to prove anything “I put the bomb on the Japanese ship”, etcetera ¾; two, death threats made to the heads of state of three countries. They issued death threats to the Presidents of Mexico and Spain and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom; three death threats to three heads of state, proved and admitted to by them¾ and finally the main, the most serious charge, for which Orlando Bosch was brought to trial ¾ listen carefully ¾ was because when they seized the plane with the 18 bombs on it, they charged him because he did not have an arms exportation license. That was the charge. They catch him with 18 bombs on a plane and they put him on trial because he didn’t have a license to export arms. If he had had a license they would possibly have set him free to go and drop his bombs because he had a license. He was sentenced to 18 years.
Now, from prison, through his second in command, the former SIM officer, he continued to direct a series of actions of this kind, which didn’t stop.
If the camera can help me, I will show you some examples of the press of the time as proof (Holds up a magazine)
This is the magazine Réplica from 1968. It says: “Wave of Sabotage in Cuba. Poder Cubano Responsible”. In other words, they admit it, they take responsibility and they publish it in the press. Look, it’s in the press. When faced with an admission of this type, any self-respecting district attorney’s office would press charges as a matter of course against people who were putting bombs in Cuba.
And look at this, let me see if the camera can give me a hand (He holds up a newspaper) It says: “Daring Sabotage on one of Castro’s ships in the Panama Canal.” And here you can see someone, it’s an old photo you can’t make it out very well¾ but look, this man is explaining on a map showing the Panama canal how they carried out the sabotage on the Cuban ship “Aracelio Iglesias”. Do you know who this man is? It’s Orlando Bosch. He’s explaining in public how they put the bomb on the Cuban ship “Aracelio Iglesias”.
I told you he was given an 18-year jail sentence. He kept doing all those things, while he was in prison, through his second in command. But do you know how much of his sentenced he served? Two and a half years, he only served two and a half years of the 18.
And you might say, OK, that’s old history, what’s that got to do with what’s happening now? I ‘m going to give you an example of what that has to do with what’s happening today. Not only was Orlando Bosch in Miami and took part a while ago at the head table in an event against terrorism, convened by Armando Pérez Roura, after September 11. Not only that, which is in itself an insult to humanity, but look at this photo ¾let’s see if the camera can help me¾ so that you can see if this has current relevance or not. This is a photo from back them (He holds up the photo). Look, here you have Orlando Bosch; here you have none other than Marcelino García, the SIM officer who I said was Bosch’s second in command. And who’s that next to the two of them? He’s circled here,¾Jorge Mas Canosa. There he is, the man who founded the Cuban-American National Foundation. Now, if you ask the Cuban-American National Foundation today they will tell you that their program is inspired by the ideals of this man who is here side by side with a SIM officer and Orlando Bosch.
Therefore, if you ask me who are the real terrorists, well they are all these people who left Cuba, settled in the United States, received money and training from the U.S. government, were given residency, became U.S. citizens and from U.S. territory thought up, planned, financed, organized and carried out terrorist acts against Cuba and against the United States itself.
In my opinion, that’s the answer to the question the Round Table is asking; these are the real terrorists.
Randy Alonso. - Yes, Taladrid, that was the start of a whole escalation abroad during that decade, the 60s. As we have said, not only were there terrorist acts inside Cuba but there were attacks on Cuban property overseas and on the property of third countries which traded with Cuba. As the 70s began, they created new counterrevolutionary organizations and there were criminal terrorist acts like the cowardly attack on the village of Boca de Samá here in our country.
I suggest we listen to the sad testimony of Josefa Portelles Tamayo, the mother of a young victim of the treacherous attack on the village of Boca de Samá.
Josefa Portelles. - If I am here today it is because I feel I have been harmed because I lost my son in the attack on Boca de Samá ¾ as Comrade Escalante was saying ¾ I lost Ramón Siam Portelles who is our son and today I sit here to ask for your support and help to endorse the accusation that I am making against the United States to see if with that they will pay a bit for the crimes and the damage they are causing us, because I am not the only mother who is suffering today, because thousands of mothers are suffering in the same conditions because of them, because many mothers have lost their sons and not only their sons but little babies who have been left handicapped, without arms or legs, without all that.
These are crimes which those murderous criminals can never, ever pay for and you know that a son’s life has no price, there is not enough money to pay for the life of a son.
So, I am prepared, I am ill. But I am here just to be supported here by a revolutionary court as lovely as the one here before me, such as I always dreamed about, to see if they’ll help us and if we’ll use the law against them to see if they stop doing us all this harm and so many things to our country.
My son was only 24 years old, he had a six-month-old daughter (Sobs)
Escalante. - How old did you say your son was?
Josefa Portelles. - Twenty-four.
Escalante. - And he left a six month old daughter.
Josefa Portelles. - He left a six month old daughter and he was not able to give his daughter all his affection, he really, really wanted to have a child but he couldn’t give his affection to his daughter because he was studying at that coast guard school at Boca de Samá when they attacked.
Which is why I say to you, here, in front of you, that I am ready to do whatever I have to do, as you see me here, prepared, full of suffering and illness so that justice is done to those criminals.
Randy Alonso. - That was Josefa Portelles Tamayo’s ¾ she is the mother of one of the victims of the cowardly attack on the village of Boca de Samá ¾ testimony to the revolutionary court which presided over the suit brought by the Cuban people against the U.S. government. It was the beginning of the 70s, a decade which saw a wave of terrorism unleashed by counterrevolutionary organizations nurtured by the United States.
Researcher José Luis Méndez will give us an account of those awful events.
José Luis Méndez. - Thanks, Randy.
The decade from 1970 to 1980 was simply the continuation of this terrorist campaign, but intensified. We learned that Orlando Bosch was in jail in 1972 and the then governor of Florida, Claude Kirk, at a dinner sponsored by the Latin Chamber of Commerce which is dominated by the Cuban mob said:
“When I think of free men who are trying to liberate their country, I necessarily have to think of Orlando Bosch. I am working, in fact, to have him released and I think I shall see the results before long.”
Finally, well, as Taladrid said, he was released and this international terrorist then carried out 321 terrorist actions in the 70s. In other words, he was at the head of organizations like Acción Cubana, he also led organizations such as the Secret Cuban Government, the Pedro Luis Boitel Commandos and finally, in 1976, CORU.
When looking at this terrorist’s character it is important to consider his criminal side. As Taladrid was speaking, I was thinking back on the incidents that took place in 1965; specifically that on January 17 of that year the organization he headed at that time, the MIRR, bombed the Niagara sugar mill with 5000 capsules of white phosphorus. Then later, when talking about this action, Orlando Bosch said: “if we had the resources, Cuba would be in flames from one end to the other”
More or less ten years after that remark, on August 22, 1975 he said: “Castro’s accomplices and the agents of international communism will not be safe anywhere in the world. We will internationalize the struggle in a continental context.”
He later said something which I think characterizes him perfectly. He said: “The Americans want to overthrow Castro using a different style from ours, the head-on-destroy-the-reds war. If half of the bombs that the United States dropped on Vietnam had been dropped on Cuba, the problem would have been solved already.
In other words, I think that this perfectly characterizes this person who, among the actions that he directed… well, first let’s mention that on January 21, 1974 while living in the United States he sent seven letter bombs from Mexico to various Cuban representatives abroad. One of them exploded in a Spanish post office damaging the building and also injuring the people who where working there. There are other actions that I think we should draw attention to: the one in the Cuban trade office in Montreal which was dynamited and where Sergio Pérez Castillo lost his life; the attempt to kidnap the Cuban consul in Mérida and the death of fishing technician Artagnán Díaz Díaz ; the attempt on the life of the Cuban ambassador to Argentina in 1974; the disappearance of two Cuban officials in Argentina in 1975; and the bomb placed on a Mexican ship, which left two dead and seven injured.
But it seems to me that the incident that is most characteristic of Bosch and the one the Cuban people knows the most about are his plans to blow up a Cuban airplane in the air. And in his study he developed a whole philosophy about what the effects of blowing up a plane in mid air might be. Firstly, it would draw attention to his cause; two, it would prevent his struggle from being silenced; three, it would make the Cuba and U.S. power structures tremble. It would remove any possibility of an understanding between the United States and Cuba and the horrific nature of his action would prevent Latin American countries, under the protection of the 1975 OAS agreement, from taking any steps to normalize relations with Cuba. Cuba’s isolation must be maintained. Finally it would frustrate the talks going on in 1975 between Cuban officials and those of the Gerald Ford administration. These were the arguments he used concerning the importance of blowing up an airplane in mid air.
There are three prior incidents that I think are very important. Firstly, in 1965 he hired a Cuban, Rafael Anselmo Rodríguez Molina, to put dynamite on a plane bound for Cuba to carry out some of the activities we have mentioned here, and the U.S. pilot Alex Rourke died. The plane sets off for Cuba, makes a stop in Cozumel; Bosch or Frank Sturgis or Frank Fiorini, another Cuban-born terrorist get off there, the planes takes off and explodes in mid air.
This is an antecedent of Orlando Bosch’s involvement in this kind of act of blowing up planes in mid air.
But, again, November 30, 1975 the New York newspaper Ultima Hora published one of Ernesto’s usual messages ¾Ernesto was the pseudonym Orlando Bosch used for communications purposes¾ it said he was the head of the underground organization Poder Cubano-76 and claimed responsibility for placing the two time bombs found in a Bahamas Airlines jet which was flying from the Bahamas to the United States. Luckily the bombs were found and deactivated minutes before 62 Miami-bound passengers boarded their flight. Most of them were Americans.
In his communiqué issued at that time he said that this was to prevent any rapprochement between the governments of the Bahamas and Cuba.
Finally, we have the incident closest to the plane being blown up over Barbados. On June 11, 1976, it turned out that there was a bomb in a suitcase that was going to be loaded onto a Cubana de Aviación plane in Kingston, Jamaica. The plane was to fly to Havana; the device exploded on the ground shortly after 7:00 p.m. The plane had been delayed because of problems of connections with other airlines. It had been expected that when the bombs exploded the plane would be flying over the area of Montego Bay, in Jamaica.
This is one of the foundations of his philosophical concept of what terrorism should be. Sometime in his criminal career he said: “I can never forget that I placed a bomb in a shoe shop in Santa Clara. The shoes went flying, the windows shattered, I heard the loud bang and I felt a great sense of satisfaction, I was doing away with Fidel’s communists. Today, however, I understand that those little bombs don’t achieve anything, we have to be tougher in this fight.”
I think that there is a very direct relationship between what Orlando Bosch said there and what happened later with the Barbados crime.
I should like to emphasize that this individual is, ¾ and always has been¾ a threat to U.S. national security; Cuban-American terrorism has been a danger to the security of and has committed domestic terrorism in the United States. I also think that we have to make very clear that in the wave of terrorist actions that went on in the ten years between 1960 and 1970…
Randy Alonso. - And increased markedly when CORU was founded.
José L. Méndez. - It increased when CORU was founded because, among other things, 24 European, Latin American and Central American countries were affected. For example, in the United States 156 terrorist actions were carried out, which is why I am arguing that this is a case of domestic terrorism. There were 29 terrorist actions in Mexico, for example; 1 in Trinidad and Tobago; 5 in Panama; in Colombia … we’ve also got European countries, England, France, Spain, Portugal, in other words, a whole series of countries until you reach 24, which were the victims of terrorist actions committed by this international criminal. And I think that this gives us a better idea of who are the real terrorists; what they do inside the United States, what is the attitude of the United States towards them. Of course, it also demonstrates the need to put a stop to these incidents, since a little later on we are going to see how this terrorist continues to organize this type of action inside U.S. territory.
Finally, I would like to add that when CORU was set up, he wrote a document , a book called 40 years of struggle, 40 years of reasons. He founds CORU in June 1976 and the maxim is ¾ this is a book written by him ¾ “ Among the other important agreements and strategies it has been decided to highlight the maxim that says, anyone who leaves Cuba to spread the word on behalf of or to win glory for the tyranny has to run the same risks as those run by the men and women who fight against this tyranny, any other option is opportunistic and immoral.”
This, obviously, was the justification for brandishing this slogan about and for blowing up the Cubana de Aviación plane in mid air over Barbados in October. I think that this gives a clear characterization of who and where the terrorists are.
Randy Alonso. - This was a particularly intense stage of the terrorist activity of the Cuban counterrevolution, which had been trained by U.S. intelligence agencies, had been given all kinds of financial and political support by successive U.S. governments and had unleashed this wave of terror whose victims were to be found not only among the Cuban people but also in more than 20 countries, as José Luis pointed out, many victims were found among citizens of other countries. It was a time, furthermore, as José Luis said, when they used the method of sending postal bombs to Cuban embassies in several Latin American countries.
I therefore suggest that we hear this testimony given by Pilar Ramírez Vega during the lawsuit brought by the Cuban people against the U.S. government. She worked in the Cuban embassy in Peru in the early 70s.
Pilar Ramírez Vega. - I feel that I have been harmed by one of the types of terrorism used by Yankee imperialism, by the U.S. government, through the counterrevolutionary organizations whose headquarters are in the United States and which are led by ringleaders like Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada Carriles who still today, twenty odd years later, are wandering around free.
I feel that I was harmed by the physical aggression against my person, and the pain caused to my four-year old daughter and to the rest of my family who at that time were with me in the Cuban embassy in Peru.
On February 4, 1974, I, as the secretary of the Cuban ambassador to Peru comrade Antonio Núñez Jiménez, went to the embassy to open the ambassador’s correspondence. We had been warned that some of our embassies, like the ones in Argentina and Canada, some days earlier, had received, postal packages containing explosives.
The correspondence which I opened that day, that parcel, had already been in the embassy for some days. I opened it; it was a parcel whose sender was Fernández S.A. in Mexico. I didn’t pay much attention in that the ambassador at that time, Nuñez Jiménez, corresponded a lot with other countries, with speleological organizations, which is why I didn’t really pay attention to the fact that a package from Mexico was addressed to him. We are talking about a parcel the size of a book. As I began to open it, I saw that it was a book with a red cover, published by Espasa, a Spanish publisher. However, because the paper it was wrapped in was really tight, I had to use scissors and when I tried to take the book out of that parcel, there was an explosion. This explosion was fairly powerful, the desk went flying, the typewriter and everything around me and I received serious injuries to my left arm, to my abdomen, my thigh, my face and one breast.
They explained to me that this bomb was made of plastic explosives, like that used by the counterrevolutionary organizations bankrolled by the CIA.
Furthermore, to make matters worse, this parcel was sent impregnated with microorganisms. This meant that after being in the hospital for some days I got an infection the origin of which was not known until they did the appropriate tests and investigations on the remains of the device and on me.
I want to to say that on that occasion the Peruvian people offered me a lot of solidarity, not so much me as the Cuban Revolution, because this event demonstrated the terrorism carried out by the U.S. government against Cuba in every possible way, including sending things through the post to our embassies. They didn’t know who would open these packages. I opened it. It could have been anyone else, and it could even have hurt children because at that time, it was at night, they were usually in the embassy.
I strongly condemn the U.S. government for this harm done to my person, for the pain caused to my family members; and, furthermore, for providing yet more proof that imperialism does not give us any peace, that it doesn’t know how to get rid of us.
Thanks to the medical care, both Peruvian and Cuba ¾ because they immediately sent Dr. Alvarez-Cambra to Peru¾ I was able to recover. I came back to Cuba; I recovered, and after some time I wanted to go back to our embassy, not to prove myself, but, maybe, to show ¾ like one more little grain of sand¾ these people who harass us so much that they can’t deal with us; that no matter how much terrorism they use, we are still standing tall.
Randy Alonso.- October 6th, 1976 is a shameful day for the history of the governments of the United States and a day that holds an indelible memory for the Cuban people. The horrendous crime against a Cubana de Aviación plane in Barbados is always remembered with profound grief and anger by our people. Lazaro Barrero is going to give us an account of those terrible events.
Lazaro Barrero.- Yes, Randy.
Over these last few days we have learned that on August 6 the U.S. president, George W. Bush, was told, in a page and a half long report ¾ which must be a report of considerable impact¾ of the acts of terrorism that were being planned against the United States. No attention was paid to the report, the measures to prevent what happened on September 11 of last year were not taken, which demonstrates, in effect, that the U.S. government ¾as one of the most conservative U.S. newspapers, the New York Post, said¾ did know what was going on.
I think, I am completely convinced, and there are factors that can prove it, that 25 years ago, U.S. government agencies did know, were aware of, plans to blow up a Cubana de Aviación plan, which, in effect, was what happened on October 6, 1976.
We have spoken at other Round Tables of some parts of a conversation that Comrade Fidel had with Tim Golden, a journalist with the influential newspaper, The New York Times. This conversation took place on August 12, 1998, almost two months after FBI officers had been in Havana and were given copious amounts of information by our government, our authorities on the terrorist actions being committed by Cuban-Americans living in the United States.
In this interview with journalist Tim Golden, which has not been published by The New York Times, it is an unpublished interview, Fidel asked Golden, and he confirmed that the CIA had decided to break its connections with Posada Carriles in February 1976. The Times, in an article a few months earlier had said that around that time Posada‘s relations with the U.S. authorities had suddenly reached crisis point. This was the result of an intelligence report that Posada might be involved in smuggling cocaine from Colombia to Miami via Venezuela and in counterfeiting U.S. currency in Venezuela. Therefore, in February 1976 ¾ this is what they want people to think¾ Posada Carriles, who is one of the masterminds behind, the operation to blow up the plane, one of those who ran it, was no longer connected to the Central Intelligence Agency.
In the interview with Golden, Comrade Fidel remembered that documents declassified in Washington by the National Security archives supported the insinuation made by Posada that the FBI and the CIA had detailed knowledge of his operations against Cuba from the beginning of the 60s until the middle of the 70s.
According to this document, G. Robert Blakey, the chief consultant of the House of Representatives’ Special Committee ¾ referring to murders committed in 1978 said that he had gone through many of the FBI’s secret files on anti-Castro Cubans since 1978 and had noticed many examples where the Bureau had turned a blind eye to possible infringements of the law.
Fidel goes over the whole thing, ¾ it’s a very long interview and I don’t have time to tell you about it all¾ in order to say that it was pretty strange that in February 1976 they had said that the Agency had decided to break its ties with Posada and yet they admitted that Posada continued to provide information to the Agency “voluntarily”. He pointed out that Orlando Bosch and another Cuban exile were plotting against the nephew of overthrown President Salvador Allende. They had said that in June Posada called the CIA again saying it was possible the exile community was planning to blow up ¾ this is in June 1976 ¾the Cubana plane on the Panama route.
Fidel said to Golden: “This is another document that interests us very much, because if this is on record, where is it on record.? That’s important, where this is on record and why it says that in February ties were broken. In February 1976, look what a coincidence! – afterwards I’ll explain why a coincidence ¾ they break ties but he, nevertheless, continues to provide information.”
Fidel repeats the idea that Posada called the CIA again concerning the possible plans of the exile community to blow up the Cubana plane on the Panama route.
“In his statements he spoke about ¾and you must have them on tape” ¾ Fidel said to Tim Golden, “permanent ties to the U.S. Intelligence Agency and of a very close friendship with at least two active FBI officers, and here in this report it says that he kept in touch, that he reported on all this.”
Then Fidel told the story about what José Luis was talking about just now, about CORU, about how in June, (Coordinación de Organizaciones Revolucionarias Unidas) the Coordinating Committee of United Revolutionary Organizations, was founded by Orlando Bosch. It was created in June and a big call was put out to step up acts of terrorism.
Fidel said to Tim Golden:
“So you can see the timeline now:
In February the CIA breaks its ties with Posada. They are supposed to have been broken. That is why I said, what a coincidence!
In June, Posada reports to the CIA about the exile community’s possible plans to blow up the Cubana plane on the Panama route. In that same June all those organizations create something called CORU.
“In August 1976” ¾Fidel continues¾ “an alleged war report was published in a Miami counterrevolutionary newspaper at the end of which they make the following statement, in August 1976: ‘Very soon we will attack planes in the air’,” August 1976. “Strange coincidences are now beginning to appear”, Fidel said: “June, the date of CORU’s foundation; June, according to these papers that we are trying to identify, Posada tells the CIA of the exile community’s possible plans to blow up the Cubana plane on the Panama route.”
In August, in Miami, that CORU war report appears in which all these people, Bosch and company, declare: Very soon we will attack planes in the air,”
“On October 6, four months after the warning, according to the documents, the airplane is blown up, nobody does anything to prevent the sabotage on the plane and that war report was published in the United States where that declaration about Very soon we will attack planes in the air was made.”
I have here, Randy, a very short summary of a very long hearing of the Judicial Subcommittee of the U.S. Senate, in May 1976 where the subject being discussed by the senators in that hearing was that of terrorism in the Miami area. Officials from the CIA, the FBI and other U.S. institutions appeared at the hearing where it was said that Orlando Bosch was the most active terrorist ¾ this is May 1976 ¾ and he is making the announcement that there will be bombs and attacks of all kinds against those who are in any way sympathetic towards Castro, wherever they may be. This was said at that Judicial Subcommittee hearing where it was also claimed that Orlando Bosch said that there were going to be new sensational attacks. This was also said in May 1976.
We recall an interview Bosch recorded for a Miami radio station, WQVA, in which he said: “We will invade Cuban embassies and we will assassinate Cuban diplomats, we will hijack Cuban planes until Castro releases some political prisoners and begins to negotiate with us.”
All of this was said in that hearing where federal sources also said that “Bosch is heavily bankrolled by a few rich exiles in the United States who support his extremist acts”. A Justice Department source said ¾ and this is important to keep in mind for the future ¾ “ U.S. policy towards Bosch has changed because the government doesn’t want to spend money on extraditing, trying and imprisoning him.”
After Bosch violated his parole in Miami in that same June, the Justice Department had issued a warrant for his arrest.
I wanted to highlight those issues, Randy, because they seem to me to be of the utmost importance.
I’m not going to talk about Posada Carriles , we have already talked a lot about Posada Carriles’ history at these Round Tables, about how Posada Carriles escaped with the help of the Cuban-American national Foundation and ended up at the Salvadoran airbase at Ilopango, working on nothing other than the Reagan administration’s Iran Contra Operation, backed by the CIA and by officials from several U.S. government agencies, I would, however, like to remind people that among the testimonies given to the Venezuelan court at that time are the statements of the Trinidad and Tobago police commissioner. This police commissioner stated that the testimony of the two Venezuelans, Hernán Ricardo and Lugo, said that they were CIA agents and that at that time ¾I’m talking about October 1976¾ they were working for Luis Posada Carriles. This was the testimony given by the police commissioner for Trinidad and Tobago, Mr. Denis Elliot Ramward at the trial during the official investigation in Caracas, Venezuela into the blowing up of the plane.
Bosch was set free in 1988, yet he made no claims. Bosch, in spite of everything we have been saying about there being a warrant for his arrest in the United States, which said that he would be imprisoned and deported, decided to chance his luck on the U.S. judicial proceedings and leave Venezuela. In other words, he decided not to stay in Venezuela but to leave for the United States. This decision was supported at that time by the U.S. ambassador to Venezuela, Mr. Otto Reich, who had orders from his friends, from the Cuban-American National Foundation to support this step. And today other individuals in Panama with connections to the Cuban-American National Foundation are supporting the release of the terrorist Luis Posada Carriles. That is to say, it is the same old sequence of events.
Bosch entered the United States that year, and the Justice Department tried to deport him. There are 31 countries in the world which refused to allow him entry because of the danger he represents. Yet when the Federal Bureau of Investigation itself was labeling him as the Miami terrorist number one, an operation was started, which had been in the works from the moment he got out of jail in Venezuela, to intercede before President George Bush senior to have this man freed. And that is how it came to be that the ferocious she-wolf, Congressperson, Ileana Ros, the late Mas Canosa, Senator Connie Mack, ambassador Otto Reich and the auxiliary bishop of the Miami archdiocese, Monsignor Agustín Román interceded for the release of this man who ¾as José Luis has said¾ is responsible for more than three hundred odd acts of terrorism on 25 countries, if I include Cuba. The list contains 24 foreign countries and Cuba makes 25.
Bosch agreed to the 14 conditions for his parole, including that of giving up terrorism. Nevertheless, at a press conference immediately after his release he called the deal with the Justice Department “ridiculous” and “a farce”, saying: “They bought the cage, but they haven’t got the canary.” Straightaway, and absolutely scot-free because of the complicity of the authorities he goes back to his terrorist goings-on, organizes that infamous meeting in the Bobby Maduro stadium in October 1991 where he once again called for sabotage, for sending arms and explosives against our country.
After having been pardoned, he gave an intellectual justification of the sabotage of the Cubana de Aviación plane and continues to hold his position as chairperson of a political party authorized by the U.S. authorities in Miami, the Partido Protagonista del Pueblo (People’s Protagonist Party); he is still involved in terrorist activities. The documents are there, as are the public letters which he has published in the Miami libelous papers where his criminal activity is public knowledge.
Then, finally, this book is published, Randy, Forty years of Struggle, 40 years of reasons, in which he justifies all these barbaric acts and in which there is an extremely grotesque version of that abhorrent murder of 73 innocent people ¾ and for the sake of good manners I cannot use the words to describe it that I would like to use, I can’t do that on television. This is it, this little page here, (Holds the book up). The athletes in the Barbados plane. I am going to read it quickly because it is short.
“ At the beginning of October 1976” ¾ this is his version of the monstrous act he committed¾ “6 of Castro’s female fencers turned up in Caracas to take part in a fencing tournament. To prevent any of them defecting they were accompanied by 21 members of the G-2 or the Cuban DGI. The six female fencers won all six gold medals.
“After the event, a sports reporter had to ask them the following question: ‘Look, Cuba has always distinguished itself at baseball and at boxing, but never in fencing. How do you explain this?’ One of the fencers replied: “We owe our success to our Commander in Chief Fidel Castro which has always been very concerned about education, medicine, and sports. We feel very proud to take Fidel these medals we’ve won.’
“After the event was over, the six fencers and the 21 members of the Cuban G-2 flew from Caracas to Trinidad; there they boarded the plane that was returning from Angola and which later crashed on October 6, 1976 on leaving Barbados.
“Well, the thing is that it seems that the six fencers and the 21 G-2 members were applied that maxim: ‘anyone who leaves Cuba to win glory for the tyranny has to run the same risks and the men and women who fight against that tyranny’.”
That is disgusting. I don’t have words for it, really.
Randy Alonso.- It really shows who this criminal is, who is given shelter by the United States, trained by the United States.
And there are also testimonies about those horrendous acts, Lazaro, from two taxi drivers in Barbados who said that on three occasions after that crime the two Venezuelans hired by Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch to carry out this crime went to the U.S. embassy. They went as soon as they got off their plane in Barbados airport and they went to the same embassy twice more that day. That also gives you a good idea of the U.S. authorities’ connection with the awful event of October 6, 1976.
The horror, the explosions, the fire on board the plane, the cries of fear, the despair of the pilots trying to land the plane on the sea, the sorrow of a whole people afterwards over the loss of those 73 people. 57 of them were Cubans, including the 24 members of the junior fencing team who had just won all the gold medals in the Central American championship. There were also 11 young Guyanans, 6 of them had been chosen to study medicine in Cuba and 5 North Koreans, all without exception perished because of that criminal sabotage.
The sorrowful testimony of a family victimized by that atrocious terrorist action, Iraida Alberti and Carlos Alberto Cremata, the wife and son of the Cubana de Aviación purser, one of the victims of the Barbados tragedy, today endure the grief of his absence and demand that justice be done.
Iraida Alberti. - Well, first of all, as a human being, any injustice anywhere in the world affects me. And here I have cried for mothers without children, children without parents, and a whole series of things, And I think that even the U.S. people themselves, personally, are victims of this great injustice that they are committing.
In my personal case, they killed my companion of 20 years, my boyfriend of 20 years and the father of my children. No one can pay me for that, no one can ever make amends for that, because they ripped my family apart, a completely happy family.
When I think about that plane and the precious cargo it was carrying, I think that there were two Cubana de Aviación crews on board, ¾ I knew many of his colleagues, he was also a crew member, I knew their characters, how cheerful they were, how fun-loving. But there were also young people coming to study in Cuba, Guayanans and Koreans and as well, those young people, those kids with their medals.
They must have sung the national anthem on that plane, perhaps more than once, perhaps at the instant the bomb exploded and I can never get that picture out of my mind.
On the other hand, just so they know, they killed athletes, and we keep on producing athletes. They killed laborers, workers, happy people and we keep on producing more people. They wanted to blow up happiness, but we keep on producing happiness.
Carlos A. Cremata. - Dozens and dozens of times when I was little, I, like many Cubans, was carried on my father’s shoulders, marching happily with my family at workers’ festivities, one speck among thousands and thousands of Cubans going to keep our appointment with Martí, with our homeland, and with Fidel. And then 25 Octobers ago, a terrible blow took me by surprise. I was 16 years old and drowned in tears and I didn’t understand why I was at that forum, surrounded by so much family sadness and learning that I was the son of a martyr. I didn’t understand why so many mothers were crying over dead hopes, champions who were little more than children, and I remember that I was unable to understand all through my adolescence. My father was not a soldier on active duty in an armed engagement; he was an ordinary worker, a completely innocent being, and the happiest and most life-loving person that I have ever known. Of course, I know that now I am only re-echoing the feelings of the family members of our dead. And then I was shaken by, and made stronger by that beloved voice of our other eldest father who made injustice tremble while his people, energetic and strong, wept. And the sincere grief of millions comforted us greatly; we will never forget it.
Which is why I can say, along with many people here, that we understand very well what has happened since September 11 to the U.S. people, but with one difference. We have been suffering as families for 25 years and as a people for 42 and the murderers, proved and self-confessed, continue to get off scot-free and even boast, there in the heart of the America, of their loathsome status as terrorists, as orphan- makers, as grief-bringers. And if there is anything they are all sure of, including the murderers, it is that nothing has prevented, nor will ever prevent us from continuing to do, before and after, what our loved ones used to do: love, build and be free.
(Video clips are shown)
Seawell, Cubana 455 here. We are requesting immediate, immediate re-landing.
This is worse. Go down on the water, Fello, go down on the water.
Randy Alonso. - It was something the Cuban people will never forget and which they can also use as something to give them courage in their battle against the Empire’s lies. The aggression of the 70s did not culminate in that horrible crime in Barbados; the terrorist actions against our people went on all through that decade and at the beginning of the 80s.
Because of the United States’ use of immigration policy as a weapon of aggression against our country, another result of the Cuban Adjustment Act, Cuba also had to suffer countless attempts to hi-jack and actual hi-jackings of planes and ships all through those years, the 60s and 70s. It also had to be the target of attacks against Cuban ships close to our coasts by counterrevolutionary bands bankrolled by the United States. Renato Recio will speak on this subject. It, too, is a very sensitive one in terms of our people’s history.
Renato Recio. - Really, when one talks about hijacking a ship or a plane, about people who hijack the ship or plane here and go off with it to the United States and stay there, many think that this is a purely political action, that is, that it is a political aggression. But when one analyzes these things one realizes that sheer hardcore terrorism is involved as well, because these things destabilize the economy, harm the economy and destabilize the Cuban family.
If one looks, for example at the hijacking of merchant
ships, mostly, fishing boats, and I would say that 90% or over 90 % of all the
hijacked between 1859 and 1979 were fishing boats, one is going to see, obviously, the impact on the economy. But what happened in the fishers’ family every morning when their father, or son or brother or husband left to go fishing2. Well, there was a good possibility that his boat would be
hijacked, that he would be at risk, because many people have died as a result of these actions. So, another aim was to create, fear, terror, panic. What for?
For political reasons, so that people would feel unsafe in their own country, so they would long for peace at any price, so that their revolutionary principles would be weakened, etcetera. This is terrorism and nothing but terrorism. Now one realizes that there is almost nothing, to say nothing at all, there is almost nothing in U.S. government policy towards Cuba that is not terrorism. One always weighs up oneself so as not to be too judgmental. However, whatever way you look at it, when it comes to Cuba, everything that they touch turns into terrorism.
As for the boats and planes, Randy, I think it is a good idea to begin with the boats. I am going to talk chiefly about 1959-1979. There is another period after that which we can deal with at some other time.
In this area the same thing happened as happened in all spheres of Cuban life in that first year, 1959. Boats are being hijacked from the very first months and the victims of these actions also begin in early 1959. In 1961, five vessels are hijacked, four of them are fishing boats. In 1962, it’s 10, in 1963, 13, 10 of them fishing boats ¾ in 1962 they were all fishing boats ¾ in 1964, 12 and from 1965-1967, 13. Almost every year tens of boats of this kind were hijacked.
Now, what happened to these boats? In the period I am telling you and I spoke about tens of boats- only two or three of the boats were recovered. There are even instances of them being brazenly auctioned off in Miami. You steal a boat in Cuba and then over there you auction it off and on top of everything else, you get a bit more money.
Now, the main motivation these people had was absolute impunity. You steal a boat, it doesn’t matter if you have to kill someone, or a lot of people, or two or three people, and over there you're given a hero’s welcome and everything you need. You also have a counterrevolutionary radio station, often U.S. government radio itself; I am referring to the stations set up by the U.S. government to attack Cuba. These people are introduced as heroes, they are encouraged to do these things, crime, therefore, is encouraged, terrorism is encouraged.
I am going to talk briefly, very quickly, about something I found in a report, about some deaths they caused.
As early as October 1959 a boat from the Biltmore moorage in Jaimanitas Beach was hijacked. In 1960 Private Raúl Pupo Morales was murdered and Private Gilberto Sánchez Castelló was wounded when the yacht Chelito III was hijacked. And the list, the list goes on and on…
In April 1962 the lobster boat Olguita was hijacked from Batabanó. A counterrevolutionary carried out the hijacking and a Cuban citizen, María Cabrera García, drowned.
In June 1963, a group of mercenaries from the United States ¾ here we see a type of action being used that later became classic ¾ came over in a pirate launch armed with machine guns and a 30 mm cannon. They disembarked in Cayo Blanco, 15 kilometers from Cardenas bay. They later carried out a surprise attack on a patrol of four sailors, murdered a member of the Revolutionary Navy, Jesus Fernández Rodríguez, kidnapped Daniel Expósito Torres and Calimerio Ramírez Jerez and abandoned a large quantity of U.S. made weapons in that location, etcetera, etcetera, When fleeing, they took over a fishing boat, the Joven Elvira, and used threats to force her crew to take them to Cayo Maratón, where they disembarked.
It is almost impossible, nobody could possibly think that such things could happen without the U.S. coastguards and the Florida coastal authorities knowing, that doesn’t make any sense. That there was complicity in, encouragement for, and whole-hearted incitement to these kinds of acts is beyond any doubt.
In 1964 an attempt was made to hijack a boat, the Vivero, a fishing boat, in the Dimas Pass, near Mantua, Pinar del Río. Juan Fernández Tul was killed and Antonio Marín Rodríguez Calá was wounded.
Also in 1964 the boat Tres hermanos was hijacked on the Isle of Youth and fisherman Rafael Cabrera Mustelier was murdered. His name is well remembered in that Cuban province.
So, I am not going to go on about the cases which happened
in those years. However, as I was saying, that variant of the armed launch,
crewed by the kind of counterrevolutionaries we have been talking about here,
who swarm through the street of Miami self-confessed recognized terrorists, they began to repeatedly carry out those acts that I was just telling you about.
In April 1968, a Lambda from the Marine School is attacked by an armed pirate boat, in Cayo Cruz del Padre, north of Cárdenas.
In May 1970 two fishing boats, Plataforma I and IV were attacked and 11 fishermen were taken to an islet in the Bahamas and held there for a week, or rather abandoned, one could say, ill-treated, with no food, etcetera, in very precarious conditions.
October 3, 1973 another vessel is attacked and hijacked and the hijackers kill Roberto Torna Mirabal.
April 6, 1976 Bienvenido Maurís is murdered in a pirate attack of this kind.
In 1977 the fishing boat Río Jobabo was sunk and Río Damují suffered considerable damage. This happened in Peru.
In 1980 a fisherman is murdered when the fishing boats, FC-165 and FC-154 are attacked in Samá Bay in Holguín which is evidently a place where the counterrevolution has sown its crime and terror.
And all I have done above is give you a selection. I am talking of tens and tens more cases and of many, many more victims than I have told you about, but in order not to have an interminable list, I have made a selection.
Randy Alonso. - We must also remember the Cuban people’s battle to have the kidnapped fisherman returned, which is something we remembered when the little child Elián was kidnapped and which also left its mark on little René González Sehwerert’s history. We must remember the poem that René dedicated to those kidnapped fishermen. They are also part of this history of the Cuban people’s struggle, of the history of Cuban masses in the streets to defend its people from death, as they did back then and they did in 1999 and 2000 to have Elián returned.
Renato Recio. - And the people of Havana were completely justified that day when they went and assembled in front of the U.S. Interests Section, because those people were the representatives of those responsible for what had happened. That ¾ as everybody knows ¾ has happened over and over again. I think that was a precedent, Randy, of the marches, of everything that was to happen later around such things.
But, OK, I spoke briefly, I repeat, about boats, ships, but there is still a longer and more important list of hijackings of planes.
Hijacking planes and rerouting them in mid air, which began to happen from early 1959, was a kind of terrorist invention and was designed and carried out and created for Cuba, obviously. This phenomenon was almost unknown, or rather was unknown, one could say, when it started to happen in 1959.
In April 1959, a passenger DC-3 which flew the Havana-Isle of Youth route was hijacked by Batista’s men, by former members of the tyranny’s forces of repression. I am not even going to tell you their names, all that is old history. However, that is where this new movement in terrorism begins, hijacking planes in the air, with all the risks, all the irresponsibility, all the creating terror that implied.
Between 1959 and 2001 and in this case I am going to go up to 2001 ¾ 51 Cuban planes were hijacked and almost all were made to fly to the United States and most of them, the overwhelming majority of those planes were never returned to Cuba. Pilots, guards, passengers, a not inconsiderable number of people were murdered or wounded by the perpetrators of these hijackings. Several planes, naturally, were destroyed or seriously damaged when hijacking attempts were frustrated, because there were many heroic defensive actions, as there were in the case of ships, we have to remember that, too. Many boats that the counterrevolutionaries tried to hijack were rescued and saved by the heroic actions of those working in the fishing industry and by Cuban workers in general. They risked their lives to prevent boats being hijacked. And in the case of planes there are many examples of this type of courage.
But, OK, I said 51 Cuban airplanes were hijacked. So, what happened? It’s a paradox it’s a little like that saying about sowing the wind and reaping the storm; you sow terrorism and you also reap terrorism.
What happened is that that plague of hijackings which started to happen, hijacking from Cuba to the United States, turned into an epidemic in the United States. There it was not always for concrete political reasons, not to overthrow the U.S. regime as the actions taken against Cuba were intended to overthrow the Cuba government. However ¾as we know¾ there could be many reasons to do such a thing in the United States. Unbalanced people, adventurers, and common criminals began to hijack planes and they did it with a knife, with a water-filled bottle and they said. “This is full of gasoline, it will explode: they hijacked planes with all sorts of things and made them fly to Cuba.
This happened mainly until 1973 when Cuba suggested to the U.S. government that they sign a joint agreement for dealing with plane hi-jacking and maritime piratry. The proposal was accepted and both governments signed the agreement on February 15, 1973.
As a result there was a certain decrease in the number of hijackings in Cuba.
I think, looking at the statistics that a similar decrease was not obtained in the case of fishing and other boats because, as we have seen, what became the norm later was not hijacking but attacking; shooting at the boats, trying to sink them, to destroy them and even to cause physical harm to the crew.
Well, nevertheless, there is no doubt that there was a drop in the number of plane hijacking cases.
Between September 1968 and December 1984, ¾ I think this is a key figure ¾ there is a record of 71 cases of plane hijackings where the planes were diverted to Cuba ¾ look, that thing about sowing the wind... In other words, there were more planes hijacked from the United States to Cuba than from Cuba to the United States. However, 69 of those hijackers were tried and sentenced to jail in our country. And after the agreement, sentences increased by between 10 and 20 years.
Now, as a result of those measures 18 years have gone by, right up to today in fact, and not one case of a plane being hijacked from the United States to Cuba has been recorded.
Randy Alonso. - Although there have been cases from Cuba to the United States and those violating the agreement have been allowed entry to that country.
Renato Recio. - Exactly. Up until 2001, up until 2000, up until the 90s this has continued to take place, and there is not one single case of anyone being submitted to legal proceedings in the United States. Meanwhile Cuba did that.
It seems to me that this example is interesting in terms of seeing what attitude one government has and what attitude the other has towards the phenomenon of terrorism; what responsibility do they display, what ethical stance, what sense do their actions have.
I think that this is a constructive agreement. One side enforced it; the other didn’t at all. This is a valuable lesson now that there is all this hypocritical talk about the U.S. government wanting to do battle with terrorism, etcetera, but they do these things we know about.
When Fidel spoke on the 25th anniversary of the Barbados tragedy, he said: “It is not asking a lot to ask that justice be done to the terrorism professionals who have not ceased to use their appalling methods against our people to sow terror and destroy the economy of a harassed and blockaded country from the very United States”. He also said: “No American has ever been killed or wounded, not a single facility, large or small, in that huge rich country has ever suffered the slightest damage caused by terrorist actions from Cuba.”
Anyone who really wants to find out if Cuba can be accused of terrorism and if the U.S. accusation of Cuba concerning terrorism is fair, let them look at this data and analyze what I am saying.
There is no proof, there is nothing they can show, they have never been able to produce any proof. We signed an agreement with them, they violated it, they misinterpreted it, they used it to suit themselves as they have done with so many other, yet Cuba adhered to the agreement. We did so, Randy, because in such matters, in this area where you are playing with people’s lives, where there are people who suffer, where there are family members who have to weep for the victims who are their loved ones, in such matters, there is only ethics, love for truth and human feelings. It seems that the governments that have acted against Cuba have lost these things, as has been shown by those testimonies which have been shown on TV these last few days.
Randy Alonso. - And there is no doubt either, Renato, that proof has also been given, as you said, by the way one government and the other government have dealt with terrorist actions. The fact is, it was Cuba that suggested that agreement, Cuba that frustrated those hijackings by handing down tough sentences on the hijackers. However, after that agreement, people hijacking planes to Cuba were sent back to the United States by Cuban authorities so they could be brought to trial in that country, something that U.S. governments never did, they have never done that.
Renato Recio. - There is a detail there that I think is interesting too. Cuba gave notice that it was going to do this.
Randy Alonso. - It gave notice too, exactly.
Renato Recio. - Of course, because there could be a case where someone unjustly persecuted in the United States by the law etcetera, might come to Cuba thinking that they were going to serve out their prison sentence here and then Cuba gives notice that this is going to happen so that no one gets deceived, so that no one makes a mistake, about that detail.
Randy Alonso. - Cuba gave notice and kept its word, something the United States has not done. Until now, people hijacking Cuban boats and planes are allowed entry into the United States, some of them having sentences pending in our country for having murdered young Cubans in their terrorist attempts to hijack ships and planes.
There is a lot to say about this sinister history of U.S. terrorism against Cuba, when they try to fool the world into thinking Cuba is a bioterrorist State. The biological warfare that the United States has unleashed against our country over the course of 40 years should be much more forcefully condemned. That is something that I shall be inviting Arleen and Ovies to do tomorrow when they will be on our panel. I shall also invite them to continue with the denunciation of the U.S. terrorist actions against our country, one by one.
I thank the panel that has been with me this evening, and I thank our studio guests.
When crude lies, cheap tricks and cheating deceit try to erect an argument to justify criminal aggression against our people, our nation rises up with the force of its truth on its side to destroy one by one all these fabrications and to demonstrate, using the irrefutable truths provide by our history, who are the real terrorists.
Today, at this Round Table, at which we remembered our brothers and sisters who died in that criminal terrorist act against the Cubana plane in 1976, I would like to draw things to a close by quoting the words that Fidel spoke in the Plaza de la Revolución last year on the 25th anniversary of that horrendous crime.
“Our brothers and sisters who died in Barbados are no longer only martyrs; they are symbols of the battle against terrorism, they loom large like giants today in this historic battle to eradicate terrorism from the face of the earth; this repugnant method that has caused so much damage to their country and has caused suffering to the people they loved the most and to their people, a people that has already written unparalleled pages in the annals of their homeland and of their era.
“The sacrifice of their lives was not in vain. Injustice is beginning to tremble before an energetic and forceful people which, 25 years ago, wept with indignation and grief and today weeps from emotion, hope and pride when it remembers them.
“In the name of the Barbados martyrs:
Socialismo or Muerte!
Patria o Muerte!