Radio Havana Cuba, June 20th, 1997 (english)
Via NY Transfer News Collective * All the News that Doesn't Fit
CUBANEWS FROM RADIO HAVANA CUBA
June 20, 1997
The following items are taken from RADIO HAVANA CUBA's International Shortwave Service in English for Friday, June 20th, 1997.
Havana, June 20(RHC)-- Cuba's Granma newspaper this morning published two full pages of articles and interviews concerning Washington's latest act of biological warfare against the island. In one article, the Cuban daily interviews the pilot of a Cubana de Aviacion commercial flight who last October 21st saw and reported a U.S. State Department aircraft releasing a liquid substance over Cuba's Matanzas Province. The U.S. aircraft was flying from Florida to the Cayman Islands using a Cuban air corridor.
Captain Erlan Romero Llush has 11 years of experience as a fumigator, after taking a 4-year course at Cuba's Fumigation School. Responding to questions from Granma correspondents, Captain Romero Llush asserted that the skies were completely clear and that the U.S. aircraft intermittently released what the Cuban pilot insisted was "a liquid." He said his observation was proven by the sun's action on the substance, "dissolving the liquid and making it iridescent."
The Cuban pilot said that in all his years of flight experience, he has never seen an aircraft use a smoke generator to signal its position, as claimed by the U.S. government some two months after Cuba first denounced the biological attack in December.
The Cuban daily also interviewed the two co-pilots of the Cubana commercial airliner: Captains Jesus Nazareno Jimenez Albear and Tomas Torralba. Captain Jimenez Albear pointed out that hundreds of airliners daily fly over Cuban air corridors, including 20 U.S. companies. He said none of those flights have ever had to use smoke generators and there have never been any complaints about dangerous, near-misses. The co-pilot explained that both his and the U.S. aircraft were flying under Instrumental Flight Rules, in which the separation of aircraft is the responsibility of the air traffic control tower in the region.
Captain Jimenez Albear also said that what he and his crew members saw was NOT smoke, "but rather a substance that slowly dissipated and did not disperse like smoke." Captain Torralba, with 3700 flight-hours over nine years, agreed that the U.S. aircraft was flying "under radar control and the substance released was liquid."
Cuba's Granma newspaper also ran an article today listing some of the most well-known cases of U.S. biological warfare against Cuba. The Cuban daily recalled that between 1961 and 1962, the CIA -- under orders from the White House -- organized Operation Mongoose, aimed at destroying the Cuban Revolution. The plan included the use of chemicals to incapacitate Cuban sugar workers and thus negatively affect the island's principal industry.
In 1971, the Long Island daily "Newsday" revealed that U.S. agents operating inside Cuba received a virus from Fort Gulik, in the Panama Canal zone, transported by a fishing boat. "The Fish Is Red," a book published in the early 1980s, confirmed that CIA agents first introduced a swine fever virus into Cuba in 1972. Cuba had to sacrifice 500,000 pigs to fight the epidemic.
Between 1979 and 1981, continues the Granma article, four plagues were introduced into Cuba that affected people and crops vital to the Cuban economy: hemorrhagic conjunctivitis, dengue, sugarcane mildew and tobacco mold. Dengue alone killed 158 Cubans, among them 101 children. During the first seven weeks, dengue affected 273,404 Cuban. In 1979, "The Washington Post" reported that the CIA had elaborated a program against Cuban agriculture and that since 1962, the Pentagon had been producing biological agents specifically for that purpose.
Finally, Cuba's Granma newspaper recalled that in 1984, Cuban- American terrorist Eduardo Arocena admitted before a U.S. Grand Jury that he had participated in a biological warfare operation against Cuba and had introduced biological agents after infiltrating the island.
The extensive Granma newspaper coverage of this incident follows Thursday's reiteration by the Cuban Foreign Ministry of Cuba's denunciation and of the strong evidence pointing to an act of U.S. biological warfare against the island. Foreign ministry spokesperson Miguel Alfonso, during his traditional Thursday news briefing, termed as "absurd" the fact that the U.S. pilot never communicated with Miami air traffic control following the close-call with a Cuban commercial flight, which allegedly led him to release a smoke signal.
Alfonso also pointed out that in no specialized publications -- like "Aviation Week" and "Space and Technology" -- is a smoke generator listed as standard equipment for the S2R-T65 airplane flown by the U.S. pilot. He said no type of commercial flight -- whether small, medium-sized or large -- and no fumigation aircraft anywhere in the world have smoke generators, which are also not required by the International Civil Aviation Organization.
The Cuban foreign ministry spokesperson also refuted Washington's claim that the State Department aircraft's herbicide tanks were full of fuel. Alfonso said that, on the one hand, if fuel was being transported, the flight request presented to Cuban authorities indicated that no cargo was aboard. "On the other hand," he added, "the aircraft in question is fully capable of making a Miami-Cayman Islands run with its normal fuel tanks and needs no extra fuel."
[c] 1997. Radio Habana Cuba
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