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Cubana victims still need justice

Tre Greaves

Cubana victims still need justice
Some of those who turned out to mark the 45th anniversary of Cubana Flight 455. (Picture by Shanice King)

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Victims of the 1976 bombing of Cubana Flight 455 still need justice.

That point was reinforced on Wednesday during a commemorative ceremony at the Cubana monument in Paynes Bay, St James where the 45th anniversary of the air disaster was recognised.

While stressing that there was no way to bring back the 73 people (57 Cubans, 11 Guyanese and five North Koreans) who died because of the act of terrorism, general secretary of the Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration David Denny said their families still needed closure.

Cubana victims still need justice
General secretary of the Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration David Denny. (Picture by Shanice King)

He urged more Barbadians to join the call.
“Some people feel this was a terrorist act against Cubans, but it was a terrorist act against the people of Barbados because we felt the pain on that day. We were beginning our new Parliament when the Tom Adams administration took over power from the Errol Barrow government so it was an important day for Barbados.

“So we must demand that the United States allow the people of this hemisphere to gain some form of justice for this terrorist act that killed medical students from Guyana, a fencing team from Venezuela.

This is not just a day to come here and pass the day with speeches, we must demand justice for the people who died and their families who have continued to suffer and up to this day we still cannot close that book,” Denny said.

On October 6, 1976, minutes after Cubana Flight 455 left the then Seawell Airport, the bombs exploded and the aircraft landed just off of Paynes Bay, near where the monument was erected. There were no survivors.

Two Venezuelans, Freddy Lugo and Hernan Ricardo Lozano were sentenced for planting the bomb. However, a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operative was said to be the orchestrator of the attack.

Member of Parliament Trevor Prescod, Cuban Ambassador Sergio Jorge Pastrana and members of the Cuban Henry Reeve Medical Brigade assisting with the COVID-19 fight in Barbados, all attended the ceremony.

The Most Honourable Anthony “The Mighty Gabby” Carter dedicated his song Emmerton to Cuba, while CARICOM Ambassador David Comissiong highlighted The Cubana Story, a book which he edited.

Cubana victims still need justice
Cuban Ambassador Sergio Jorge Pastrana (Picture by Shanice King)

Before the flower bouquets were placed at the monument and thrown into the water, Pastrana pointed out that not enough people knew about the tragedy and some of the United States controversial foreign policies.

“A quarter of a century after October 6 1976, four planes were used as bombs by terrorists in the USA and the date of 9/11 was etched in the minds of all humanity as the birth moment on the War on terror.

“But many didn’t realise this new war was only the offspring of state organised terrorism that had been waged for years against the downtrodden in the developing world especially in Latin America and the Caribbean, Haiti, Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Grenada, Brazil, Panama and so many others,” Pastrana said.

He also spoke out against the ongoing US embargo against Cuba which prevents American businesses from conducting trade with Cuban interests.

“There are generations who have not heard of this event at all and it is startling to learn that those flying that day were mostly young people who were murdered by criminals that were protected later by those in power in the United States who had been CIA operatives for years.

“What is also especially shocking is that the present government of the same country that trained those criminals is now accusing Cuba of being a state sponsor of terrorism, and they are now using that innuendo to increase the economic, financial and commercial war that has waged against Cuba for years, even in the midst of the pandemic that is killing millions,” Pastrana said. (TG)

Cubana victims still need justice
Members of the Cuban Henry Reeve Medical Brigade (left) assisting with the COVID-19 fight in Barbados, attended the ceremony. (Picture by Shanice King)

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