Date: Thu, 29 May 97 08:47:47 CDT
From: rich%pencil@PSUVM.PSU.EDU (Rich Winkel)
Subject: US Plague on Cuba
/** reg.carib: 205.0 **/
** Topic: US Plague on Cuba **
** Written 5:01 PM May 28, 1997 by peg:jclancy in cdp:reg.carib **
subject: US plague on Cuba
US plague on Cuba
J. Clancy. 28 May, 1997
Cuba has issued a full statement of fact on this matter.
- "On Oct 21 1996, at 10.08 hours, crew members of the regular
flight CU-170 of Cubana Airlines Fokker 27, flying Havana-Las
Tunas route, noticed a single engine plane flying from North to
South at about 1000 feet (300 metres) above them. That plane
apparently sprayed or sprinkled unknown substances -some seven
times- in an intermittent way.
- At that very moment, the Cuban plane was located 25-30 kms
south of Varadero, in Matanzas Province, flying at 9000 feet and
at a speed of 400 kms per hour.
- According to the scheduled flights, the objective radar
control and the recording of radio conversations between the
airplanes and ground control when this development took place, the
airplane flying over Giron's Corridor from North to South in a
course almost parallel to CU-170 was the fumigation aircraft model
S2R, Reg'n N3093M, of the civilian airplanes registry of the
United States and operated by the State Department of that
country, as stated in the flight authorization requested by the
Institute of Civil Aeronautics of Cuba -and in accordance with the
US Public Registry of Civilian Aircraft. This plane had taken off
from Patrick US AirForce Base in Cocoa Beach, State of Florida,
bound for Grand Cayman.
- The pilot of Cubana immediately reported to Flight Control when
the S2R plane released unknown substances in the form of a grayish
mist. The Cuban Air Controller established communications with the
US aircraft and asked whether it was having any technical problem,
to which it's pilot answered "No". He was also asked about the
type of his aircraft. The answer was, "A single-engined AY-65."
That conversation is recorded on tape.
- On December 18, 1996, the first signs of the presence of the
Thrips Pest appeared in Matanzas province, at potato plantations
of the 'Diamand' variety, sowed 38 days before in "Lenin State
Horticultural Farm", in Jovellanos Municipality. Samples of these
organisms were sent to the Central Quarantine Laboratory of the
National Pest Control Centre.
- On December 26 1996, the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs
presented a Note of Complaint to the US Interest Section in Havana
regarding the incident that occurred in the Giron Corridor, urging
US to take appropriate measures to clarify the event.
- On February 12 1997, the US Interests Section in Havana handed
over to the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Cuba the reply to that
Note, which stated that on the day of the incident, the US pilot
noticed a Cuban Commercial Airplane flying below, and as he was
not certain of having been seen, "Following caution and safety
procedures, and with the purpose of securing a positive visual
contact, the pilot used the "smoke generator" of his aircraft, in
order to "indicate its location", adding that, "The smoke vanished
and no fluid was poured from the plane."
- On February 14, 1997, the Central Quarantine Laboratory
confirmed that the analyzed insect was the THRIPS PALMI KARAY,
exotic to Cuban Territory until that moment.
- The Thrips Palmi is indigenous to Asia. Since 1985 it has
scattered across certain Caribbean zones, including Haiti and
Jamaica. It is a polyphagous Phytophagan, which infects
practically all crops, weeds and ornamental plants. It is reported
as a vector of viruses like the one known as T.S.W.V. It is an
insect of difficult diagnosis, unknown to the majority of Cuban
specialists. It is self-propagated within a field and into
neighbouring ones, disseminating mostly when seedlings, fruits and
vegetable material, including topsoils are moved from one place to
another. It also scatters by aerial means, particularly its
larvae. It is resistant to temperature changes. Its procreation
cycle lasts between 15 and 21 days, depending on the host plant.
- Taking into account the levels of the highest density of the
insect population, it could be ascertained that the primary plague
spot was located within the above-mentioned "Lenin" Horticultural
State Farm. Smaller focuses were pinpointed in fields close to
Maximo Gomez and Bolondron villages, also in Matanzas Province, a
few kilometres away from the primary plague-spot.
- In the first half of January 1997, focuses of the same insect
were spotted in municipalities south of Havana Province -bordering
Matanzas, and striking corn, beans, pumpkin, cucumber and other
- Once the insect was identified, the Government of Cuba
undertook emergency measures to fight it, including chemical
control with high-cost purchase of insecticides. These have not
achieved effective results.
- At the end of March 1997, the Government of Cuba, complying
with International Regulations, informed the Secretary-General,
and the UN Centre on Disarmament about the presence of Thrips
Palmi Karay in its territory and notified the details to FAO, and
applying for technical and financial assistance from FAO to fight
- At present, the Thrip has spread virtually throughout Matanzas
and La Habana Provinces, in two municipalities of Cienfuegos
Province, in some municipalities of Pinar del Rio Province, and in
the Island of Youth. Its presence has not been detected in the
Central and Eastern Provinces of the country.
RESULTS OF THE INVESTIGATIONS --
- The S2R aircraft, register N3093M, is used by the State
Department of the United States in the struggle against drug-
trafficking, to destroy crops. The aircraft utilizes two
sprinkling systems: one for the use of aerosols and liquid
particles: the other one for dropping solid particles. No smoke
generator is known to be installed aboard this aircraft.
- The specialists appointed by Cuba tc clarify the event,
considered it unlikely that voluntary or involuntary leakage of
fuel or oil occurred. This is confirmed by the taped replies given
by the US pilot himself to the Cuban Air Controller.
- The argument used by the US party in its Note of reply
regarding the smoke release, appears, from a technical point of
view, weak, and in contradiction with the conversation held during
the flight. On the other hand, it is not a standard procedure as
agreed and established for this kind of situation. The pilot of
Cuban Airline's Fokker-plane assures, on the basis of his visual
observation, and his previous experience as pilot of fumigation
airplanes, that the release made by the US aircraft was not of
smoke but of substance.
- Bearing in mind the place where the disputed substance was
released, it can be established that the most risky area for
infection is a zone covering 15-20 kms to the East of Giron Air
Corridor, although the whole of the territory of Matanzas Province
is considered as a probable infected zone. These zones match with
the ones actually infected, both by the primary plague spot, and
the secondary focuses.
- Considering the insect population found at the plague spot on
December 18 1996, Cuban specialists of the National Pest
Control Centre estimate the beginning of the pest to date back to
3 or 4 previous generations. Bearing in mind the procreation cycle
of the insect, the beginning of the infestation can be ascertained
approximately on October 21, 1996, which was precisely the date
when the US S2R aircraft flew over this point.
- Mindful of the distribution of that agent in countries like
Haiti, Dominican Republic and Jamaica, it would be expected that
any natural occurrence would be in the Eastern region of Cuban
territory, the closest section to those countries. Its appearance,
more than 600 Kms from that region is therefore, odd and
- Although at first sight it could be expected that the height
of the flight of the aircraft S2R is not the most appropriate for
the dissemination of biological receptures, information is
available regarding experiments made by the North-Americans
themselves in which that kind of receptures were dropped from even
higher altitudes. Also, the enduring features of the insect,
mainly its larvae state, make its survival possible at these
- Due to its nature of being a Polyphagous Phytophagan, which
strikes and severely damages practically every crop, and is also
resistant to a considerable variety of pesticides, the Thrips can
be considered as ideal biological agents, able to inflict heavy
damage to agricultural food crops. On the document entitled
"Report of the Subgroup for investigation claims of use or escape
of agents which constitute Biological or Toxin Weapons", dated
February 29, 1996, prepared by the Federation of American
Scientists, Thrips are included among the invertebrata which could
be relevant to the effects of the convention on Biological
- In this particular case, the behaviour of the plague in Cuba
shows a Polyphagia bigger than the one described in the scientific
- The analysis of the facts and the results of the investiga-
tions, allows us to relate, with a high degree of accuracy, the
appearance of the Thrips Palmi in Matanzas Province with the
dropping, on October 21 1996, of an unknow substance, by an
aircraft operated by the US State Department.
- 25. There are justified evidences that, once more, Cuba has been
the target of a Biological Aggression.
Cuba, March 3rd 1997.