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.

  1. "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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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."
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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 crops.
  12. 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.
  13. 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 the pest.
  14. 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.


  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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 suspicious.
  21. 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 altitudes.
  22. 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 weapons.
  23. In this particular case, the behaviour of the plague in Cuba shows a Polyphagia bigger than the one described in the scientific literature.


  24. 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. 25. There are justified evidences that, once more, Cuba has been the target of a Biological Aggression.

Cuba, March 3rd 1997.