Cuba: 35th Anniversary of the Barbados Crime Print

Monday, 03 October 2011

On October 6th, 1976, an aircraft filled with 73 happy passengers departed from Seawell airport in Barbados at 5:15pm. Eight minutes later the joy and laughter of a group of young athletes came to an end when a terrible explosion practically broke the Cubana DC-8 airliner in half and the odyssey of the Barbados Crime began in Flight 455.

The first bomb that initiated the plane´s destruction went off in the economy section of the aircraft. While the maneuvers of the Cubana airliner over the Barbados beaches were performed by the pilot in an attempt to descend over an unpopulated region, terrorists Freddy Lugo and Hernan Ricardo Lozano quickly left the Seawell airport to the US embassy and later from their hotel, called Caracas to speak to self confessed assassin Luis Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch, the masterminds behind the terrorist action.

At 5:25pm, the pilots of the Cubana Airliner lost control of the aircraft after a second explosion possibly in the interior of a second bathroom that damaged the tail of the plane.

Attempts to return to the Barbados airport where the conditions for an emergency landing were set were fruitless.

The captain of the Cuban aircraft radioed to the control tower: "We have an explosion aboard, we are descending immediately! ... We have fire on board! We are requesting immediate landing! We have a total emergency!"

The possible survivors of the 73 passengers of Cubana airliner flight 455 on its way to Jamaica disappeared in the blue Atlantic Ocean. The 24 members of the Cuban Youth Fencing team, Gold medalists in the Central American and Caribbean Games did not have a chance to celebrate their victories with their relatives and friends in Cuba.

That afternoon, 11 Guyanese were also traveling to Cuba to begin their studies in medicine and five Koreans on a cooperation mission in addition to the Cubana crewmembers left behind the pain of their relatives.

Meanwhile in Miami, protected up until today by the US government, the intellectual author of the bombing, Luis Posada Carriles has not paid for his crime.

"A declassified CIA document dated October 12, 1976, a few days after bombing, quotes Posada Cariles as saying a few days after a fund-raising meeting for CORU held around September 15, "We are going to hit a Cuban airliner... Orlando has the details"

CIA documents released in 2005 indicate that the agency "had concrete advance intelligence, as early as June 1976, on plans by terrorist groups based in Miami to bomb the Cuban civilian plane.

Documents released by the National Security Archive on May 3, 2007 reveal the links Posada had to the 1976 Cubana airline bombing and other terrorist attacks and plots, including a British West Indian Airways office in Barbados and the Guyanese Embassy in Trinidad. These provide additional evidence of Posada's involvement in violent attempts to undermine the Cuban Revolution, said Peter Kornbluh, director of the National Security Archive's Cuba Documentation Project based at George Washington University.

A monument was erected in Saint James, Barbados to the memory of the people killed in the bombing and it was visited several times by the leader of the Revolution Fidel Castro, including a visit during the CARICOM meeting in December 2005 during which Cuban officials called for Luis Posada Carriles "to be brought to justice so as to bring closure the horrendous incident that caused so much pain to the people of the region.

On the other hand, Rene Gonzalez, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez, Ramon Labanino and Gerardo Hernandez are serving long unjust prison terms for having infiltrated these same terrorist organizations based in Miami in an attempt to stop terrorism against the Cuban people.

On this 35th anniversary of the bombing of the Cubana airliner, the Cuban people demand justice!