OUR CARIBBEAN: Remembering Cubana tragedy 35 years after
Next Thursday will mark the 35th anniversary of the horrific bombing of a Cubana passenger aircraft off Barbados that killed all 73 people aboard in what has been documented as the single worst human tragedy in the history of the Caribbean region to result from international terrorism linked to anti-Cuba operatives trained by the United States Central Intelligence Agency.
A week of activities has been planned for Barbados that includes an official observance ceremony on Thursday at the monument to the victims that was established at the seafront in Paynes Bay, St James, in 2005 and formally unveiled in the presence of then Cuban President Fidel Castro and CARICOM Heads of Government who were attending an annual summit.
A second monument is currently under construction in Guyana since there were eleven Guyanese victims in addition to the 53 Cubans who perished, as well as five North Koreans.
Another major aspect of the programme to commemorate the 35th anniversary is scheduled to take place on October 7 as a collaborative effort between the Cuban embassy in Barbados and the Social Science Faculty of the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the 3WS pavilion.
That event will feature a panel discussion focused also on the wider implications for security and development in the Caribbean as a consequence of the politics of the notorious terrorist act 35 years ago with links to some hemispheric intelligence agencies and embassies.
This coming Sunday, according to an advisory from the Cuban Embassy, the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) is scheduled to broadcast at 2 p.m. a one-hour documentary titled The Real History Of The Cubana Tragedy and which, it said, “will reveal shocking, striking images”.
Among the masterminds behind the bombing plot were two Cuban émigrés who had obtained Venezuelan citizenship while they plotted terrorist activities in Havana, Santiago (Chile) and other capitals.
They were identified as Orlando Bosch (who recently died in the United States where he had obtained a presidential “pardon” from George Bush, senior) and Luis Posada Carilles.
As if to show contempt, successive Washington administrations had refused demands of Cuban and Venezuelan authorities for the extradition of Bosch and Posada to face trials for their involvement in the Cubana tragedy.
That contempt was to be hilariously demonstrated in relation to Posada (while Bosch astutely kept a very low profile) with American immigration opting to put him on trial for “illegally” entering the “land of the free and home of the brave” instead, of course, facing indictment for murderous terrorist activities.