No forgetting Cubana victims
The memory of those killed in the October 6, 1976 terrorist attack off the coast of Barbados continues to live on in the minds of many around the world.
Representatives from Cuba, Venezuela, Brazil, China and Barbados gathered yesterday at the Cubana monument site in Paynes Bay, St James, as they laid wreaths in memory of those 73 people – 48 passengers and 25 crew members – killed when a bomb exploded on the Douglas DC-8 aircraft, Cubana Flight 455, which was en route to Cuba when it was bombed off the West Coast of Barbados.
The incident claimed the lives of 57 Cubans, 11 Guyanese and five North Koreans.
According to the recently appointed Ambassador of Cuba to Barbados, Lisette Perez Perez, the main focus now was to get the president of the United States to free “the five anti-terrorist Cuban fighters” who were arrested and to punish those responsible for the act of terrorism.
“[Laying wreaths] is an important event today, but the most important issue is to try and get those men freed . . . . We have the support of Barbados and other countries and we really appreciate it. That means other countries also condemn the attack and support Cuba for justice,” she told the Daily Nation.
A letter dated October 6, 2010, addressed to United States President Barack Obama, and signed by a number of organisations and individuals from around the world, demanded “the immediate liberation” of the five men, Gerardo Hernandez, Rene Gonzalez, Ramon Labanino, Fernando Gonzalez and Antonio Guerrero.
The letter further stated that “the United States government decided to prosecute, condemn and sentence the fighters against terrorism in Miami, instead of arresting the authors of the terrorists acts against our people. This injustice is a consequence of the blackmail the economic power groups and lobbyists in the south of Florida exercise against the American administration”.
Luis Posada Carriles was said to be one of the masterminds behind the attack. In 2005, he was held by United States authorities in Texas on the charge of illegal presence on national territory. Although those charges were dismissed on May 8, 2007, he remains entangled in efforts to try him on the matter. (MM)
Here, Senator Maxine McClean (right), Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, chatting with (from left) Ambassador of Venezuela and dean of the diplomatic corps, Juan Carlos Valdez Gonzales, Brazil’s Ambassador Appio Claudio Acquarone, and China’s Ambassador Qiang Wei during the Cubana commemoration yesterday.