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Date: Thu, 15 Oct 98 23:50:55 CDT
From: rich@pencil.math.missouri.edu (Rich Winkel)
Organization: PACH
Subject: Cuba: 2 Stories of US Terrorism for History Books
Article: 45427
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Message-ID: <bulk.18232.19981017121624@chumbly.math.missouri.edu>

/** reg.elsalvador: 22.0 **/
** Topic: Cuba: 2 Stories of US Terrorism for **
** Written 4:51 PM Oct 14, 1998 by jclancy@pop.pegasus.com.au in cdp:reg.elsalvador **
From: jclancy@peg.apc.org
subject: Cuba: TwoStories of US Terrorism for US HistoryBooks

Where are the terrorists from?

By Rafael Perez Pereira, Special for Granma International,
14 October 1998

On WEDNESDAY, 6 Oct, 1976. It's 12:21 p.m. at Seawell International Airport, on the island of Barbados. It's been raining since the early hours and now the rain is more intense. The temperature, at 27 degrees Centigrade, is cool, but there's humidity and a strong wind and the people of this Caribbean island, visited every day by so many tourists in search of sun and the tropics and where sugarcane also grows, are accustomed to the heat, like the Cubans, and comment that it's cold.

It's not an ordinary day in this usually busy air terminal, in that today, due to a labor dispute on the neighboring island of Trinidad, few aircraft are landing and taking off. Not much air traffic and not much heat. At this time, 12:21 p.m., one of the few air planes to have arrived here today has just landed. It's a huge 151-seater McDonnell Douglas four-engine DC-8 jet, Series 43, displaying Cubana Airlines registration number CUT-1201 on its blue, white and red tail. It has arrived from Port of Spain,Trinidad, where it made the initial stopover of flight number 455 which took off from Georgetown, Guyana, at 10:00 a.m. Its final destination, after a second stopover in Kingston Jamaica, is Havana.

Minutes later, after a precise, routine landing, its 51 passengers begin to descend the mobile stairway situated in front of the left wing and very close to the cabin. Some of them don raincoats; others use the brightly colored umbrellas provided by airport services. For the 41 passengers who are in transit (25 Cubans, 11 Guyanese and five Koreans), it's another brief stopover, less than one hour. For the other six (two Venezuelans, two Trinidadians, one Colombian and a Dutchman), whose tickets are for Seawell,it's the end of the Journey.

Among those descending to continue the journey, two groups of young and animated people attract attention, one speaking Spanish and the other English. One of these groups is made up of the 24 members of the Cuban fencing team which had swept the Central American fencing championship in Caracas one week earlier. They traveled to Trinidad on Viasa the day before to catch the Cuban flight. They are contented with their sports triumph, highly praised by the South American and Caribbean press, but are masking their feat with modesty. At this moment, they're surely thinking of the upcoming reception by their nation, to which they're returning heaped with medals. The other group consists of six Guyanese young people who are traveling to Cuba to study medicine. One of them, Raymond Persaud, 19, is flying for the first time. He previously turned down two scholarships in capitalist countries but, to the surprise of his father, a Baptist preacher in GeorgeTown, he immediately accepted the one offered him in Cuba, an island whose social and educational experience have interested him for a long time.

The group of 11 Guyanese is completed by economist Gordon Sobha, traveling to the German Democratic Republic; Margaret Bradshaw, 22, the wife of a Guyanese embassy official in Cuba, who had left in her country her first son, born just two months earlier; and nine-year-old Sabrina Harripaul, traveling to Kingston with her aunt and grandmother to catch a flight to Canada on another airline. Five Korean officials who are members of a cultural delegation; four Cubans from the Caribbean Shrimp Fleet, and another Cuban official in transit in Guyana complete the group of 45 passengers Continuing on the flight.

Shortly after 1:15 p.m., with the rain still falling, the plane is ready for re-boarding. The 10-member crew, headed by its captain, Wilfredo Perez; the 45 continuing passengers, the 15 members of the crew on rotation in Barbados; Cubana Airlines representative Abelardo Rodriguez Font and his wife Julia Tornes; and another Cubana official, Jesus Rojo boarded the plane.

At 1:16 p.m., the powerful four-engine aircraft, with 73 persons on board, cruises along the rain-soaked runway, almost three k.meters in length, and takes off with the same precision it demonstrated on landing. The plane gradually ascends and, having gained sufficient height, begins to make a southwest turn, in accordance with the flight plan. From the portholes, the passengers can already contemplate the blue waters of the Caribbean. Pilot Wilfredo Perez communicates to the Seawell control tower in English,that the takeoff has been completed normally and signs off. As is customary, the tower wishes him good luck.

Within a few minutes the plane has already skirted the Barbadian coastline, where it can be seen by tourists in the luxury hotels, while it continues to gain height, now in a northwesterly direction Beyond Paradise beach, to the north of Bridgetown the passengers can make out the coastal area outside the tourist belt, its landscape more modest, more expressive of the colonial legacy and of the urgent need for development, dotted with humble fishing and farming villages. Six minutes after takeoff, the Cubana Airlines DC-8 is already flying at a height of 3000 meters, heading directly for Kingston, its next stopover, according to the flight plan.

One minute later, at 1:23 p.m., the first explosion, which shakes the cabin, is felt on board. The highly skilled crew members react calmly, trying to save the aircraft and the lives of its occupants. In less than one minute, Captain Wilfredo Perez has obtained a report from flight engineer Ernesto Machin on the damaged mechanisms and those which are still functional, and has given the appropriate emergency commands to the rest of the crew. Ferrandi, flight purser, and stewards Magalys, Moraima, Marlen, Silvia and Miriam duly instruct the passengers.

At 1:24 p.m., in a steady voice, as the Seawell control tower recording indicates, Wilfredo Perez notifies that airport in English of the explosion and the fire on board, requesting immediate authorization for landing. Radio contact is maintained for four minutes, during which time the aircraft has made a complete eastward turn, in a fruitless attempt to return. The crew has managed to fly the damaged craft in the direction of Seawell for a further approximately five minutes, when a second powerful nitroglycerin explosion in the aircraft's interior virtually destroys the plane in full flight.

At 1:28 p.m., 12 minutes'after having taken off from Seawell, communication is cut off. At 1:31 p.m., the aircraft's signal on the airport radar screen disappears. The sabotaged airplane, with the majority of its 73 occupants trapped inside it lies buried at a depth of 450 meters in the Caribbean Sea, 7.6 kilometers from the western coast of Barbados, at a spot where search and access are very difficult.

A monstrous crime thus culminated in this dramatic way. Its author, Luis Posada Carriles, was later helped to escape from a Venezuelan jail where he was awaiting trial for that act of terrorism, in an operation organized by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and his friend Jorge Mas Canosa.

Under-White House orders, Posada Carriles was subsequently involved in the Central American drug and arms trafficking which resulted in the Iran-Contra scandal, and organized bomb attacks in Havana during 1997. The recent publication of his self-confessed misdeeds in The New York Times has not led to any investigative action in the United States. His boast of being protected by the CIA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation is not an empty one.

How can you define Posada Carriles

By Lilliam Reira, Granma International

THAT morning in September 1976, the 28-year-old with long blonde hair got up even earlier than usual,in a particularly happy mood, she said good-bye to her parents and two siblings. "I'm off don't worry about me." That is the image that Raul Rodriguez del Rey Bocalandro has zealously guarded for 22 years, since his sister, a steward with Cubana Airlines, departed for her final journey. "The five of us lived together. We were a very close family. Maria Elisa was very open and affectionate; perhaps that's why she was so loved by every one, in our neighborhood, at work... Since she had done a good job on national flights, she was transferred to the international section, where she had been working for some time."

When the news came, "My mother was shattered. She couldn't endure the blow and died one year later. Meanwhile, her visible pain was accompanied by the obsession that my sister was alive, because in her heart of hearts her death was inconceivable. My father held it inside of him, in spite of being a strong man, he rapidly collapsed into a premature arteriosclerosis when he was just over 60. He died three years ago."

As he recounts this, Raul's face reveals not only sadness, but also bitterness and a hunger for justice.

"The worst of it is that those who perpetrated it are out there doing just as they please, because they are protected by the CIA. Nothing has happened to them. There is no dictionary definition for people like Luis Posada Carriles. How can you define someone who's capable of placing bombs where there are human beings? " JC