42 Years Since Cubana Air Disaster Commemorated

October 7, 2018

Forty-two years have passed since two bombs detonated on Cuban Airline Flight 455, causing it to crash into the sea off the coast of Barbados, killing all 73 passengers and crew. Eleven of the victims were Guyanese.

The embassy of Guyana in Havana, Cuba, in the annual commemoration of the October 6 plane crash, held two major events in the country’s capital. A wreath laying ceremony was also held at the University of Guyana on Saturday.

President of the Guyana Cuba Solidarity Movement (GCSM), Halim Khan, during the ceremony at the University of Guyana’s Turkeyen campus, explained that the best way to honour the memories of the victims of the Cubana Air Disaster is to continue to gear foreign policy to promote peace among peoples in every part of the world.

Khan said that 42 years ago a Douglas DC-8 aircraft trundled down the runway at Grantley Adams International Airport in Barbados and took off, climbing into a blue Caribbean sky.

“As Flight 455 reached 18,000 feet, a bomb went off under an empty seat. The plane’s ascent slowed and it began to bank dangerously. Eight minutes later a second bomb went off in the toilet at the back of the plane and the plane plunged into the ocean. Everyone on board perished,” Khan said.

The 73 people on board perished included a girl, aged nine.

The GCSM President said Luis Posada Carriles, identified as a CIA-backed anti-Castro movement terrorist, was never convicted or made to face any sanctions; living out his old age somewhere in the US.

“This was confirmed by the CIA in 2005. The agency had concrete advance intelligence as early as June 1976 of plans by Cuban exile terrorist groups in Miami to bomb the airline,” Khan said.
Ambassador of Cuba, Narciso Reinaldo Amador Socorro, in his address, said October 6 has been adopted in Cuba as the day of ‘Victims of State Terrorism’ in perpetual remembrance of those killed because of terrorist acts against Cuba.

“The sabotage of Cubana de Aviacion aircraft on October 6, 1976, best known as: ‘The Crime of Barbados’ has left an unforgettable sorrow in the hearts of Guyanese and Cuban people. For that reason we are gathered together in the rejection of terrorism, the highest expression of irrational hatred,” the Cuban envoy said.

The ambassador said that history has shown that unity, solidarity and cooperation amongst peoples are the best way to overcome aggression and adversaries.

“Nothing will stop our two countries to continue working together for peace, happiness and sustainable prosperity of our two nations,” the Cuban envoy said.

Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo who attended the event said that the government pledges its commitment against encouraging or condoning terrorism to settle differences or controversies.

The Guyanese embassy in Havana held a public event at the Casa Del Alba Cultural, which saw memorial presentations by members of the diplomatic corps. Among those present were former Cuban Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr. Ricardo Alercon Quesada; the Barbadian and Nambian Ambassadors to Cuba as well as Guyana’s ambassador to Cuba- Halim Majeed who delivered the feature address.

Meanwhile, on Friday a wreath laying and prayer service ceremony was held.

The Cubana Air Disaster held eleven Guyanese passengers as victims, five of whom were travelling to Cuba to study medicine. The Guyanese who perished included Margaret Bradshaw, Sabrina Harrypaul, 9; Seshnarine Kumar 18; Ann Nelson, 18; Eric Norton, 18; Raymond Persaud, Gordon M. Sobha, Rawle Thomas, 18, Rita Thomas, Violet Thomas and Jacqueline Williams, 19.


Source: Kaieteur News