subject: CUBAN OFFICIAL STATEMENT by Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Statement of 26 February, 1996
By the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs
In relation to the latest incidents which occurred on 24th
February '96, when 2 Cessna aircraft were shot down, the Cuban
Consulate would like to inform that:
(from CUBAN CONSULATE,
Sydney per JC)
- Early that morning, between 10.15am and 11.27am the Cuban
aerial and maritime space was violated by three Cessna aircraft. A
Cuban aircraft from the Cuban AirForce tried to prevent the
violation by them, which provoked them to move to the North.
- At around 1.21 pm while they were intending to go to Cuba
again, one of those responsible for the incursion was warned by
the Air Traffic Controller in Havana, that the zones of the aerial
space were activated and of the risks involved in trespassing
those zones. The pilot acknowledged this, but insisted he would do
it regardless of what he had been told.
- At 3.15 pm it was known, through internal communication by
one of the pilots, that he was coming to Havana.
- Such provocation took place on the very day our country was
celebrating the 101st Anniversary of the Beginning of our
Independence War, back in 1895. The people of Havana were
preparing to celebrate the Carnivals. After having tried to
persuade the pilots to go back and it was now obvious they were
refusing our warnings, our AirForce had no alternative but to
prevent the violation of our air space and sovereignty. The two
planes were shot down in the territorial waters of Cuba, between 5
to 8 miles off Baracoa Beach to the West of Havana.
- In the past, both in 1995 and more recently during
January 1996, there were the same kind of violations by groups of
'contra- revolutionaries of Cuban origin, who were responsible for
dropping Anti-revolutionary propaganda pamphlets in the capital of
Havana. This was a flagrant violation of our air space and
- Considering those incidents, which are becoming more
aggressive and provocative, the Cuban Government alerted those US-
based pilots of the seriousness of the situation and also of the
consequences of such activities.
- In the same way our government has informed the government
of the United States on several occasions about such violations
that are becoming more common and frequent. The latest Diplomatic
Note, numbered 45, is dated 16th January 1996.
- With the purpose of preventing such incidents, the Cuban
Government discussed the problem with the US Federal Aviation
Administration Directives in the USA, informing them of the
dangers that the flights carry for Aerial Navigation.
- Such terrorist acts are not a secret in the United States,
as some high US government officials have commented on, with
alarmed disapproval of such activities. The Miami-Florida
perpetrators have often given details of their terrorist
activities against Cuba, and have been warned by United States
authorities that they could not do anything about the outcome, if
such acts caused Cuba to react in order to protect its citizens
and its sovereignty.
- Therefore the responsibility for the events of Feb'y 24
lay exclusively on the individuals that have continued to ignore
and disobey the warnings given by the Cuban Government.
- The Cuban Government has allowed the request for the US
Coast Guard to enter Cuban waters to rescue any survivors,
regretting any loss of life; but requesting a permanent ending to
this kind of international intimidation.