The United States and the Terrorisms of September 11

By Orlando Oramas Leon on September 10, 2021.

The assassination of Cuban diplomat Felix Garcia in NYC, Sept. 11, 1980

September 11 marks a milestone in terrorism against the United States, but it is also a reminder that attacks of that nature against Cuba were organized and carried out in that country.

It is two decades since the Twin Towers fell in New York, but not far from there, 21 years earlier (September 11, 1980), Cuban diplomat Felix Garcia, a deputy of his country’s mission to the United Nations, was machine-gunned in his car in the middle of a public street.

Eduardo Arocena, the self-confessed assassin and Central Intelligence Agency’s officer, was released from prison last June for ‘health reasons’. He was serving two life sentences for numerous crimes, including two murders and more than 30 bombings.

During the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001, 2,977 people died in New York, Washington and outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

But two years earlier, a lawsuit filed by the People of Cuba against the U.S. government accused the White House of making state terrorism an instrument of its policy towards the Caribbean island.

On November 2, 1999, after a little more than five months, the sentence of case number 88 of that year was issued, belonging to the Second Civil and Administrative Chamber of the People’s Provincial Court of the city of Havana. The plaintiffs were social and mass organizations representing almost the entire Cuban population. The defendant did not appear and was declared in default.

The sentence condemned the United States to repair the human damages caused by its terrorist actions, that were responsible for the death of 3,478 people on the island since the revolution.

It also ordered the United States to compensate 2,099 other citizens for injuries and permanent disabilities. The court set a total and single amount to be paid of 181.1 billion dollars.

The list of terrorist aggressions included in the sentence that caused misery and bloodied the Caribbean island was long.

The most deadly, among many, was the mid-flight downing of a Cubana de Aviación plane with 73 people on board, off the coast of Barbados, in October 1976, a quarter of a century before the George W. Bush administration launched what it called the war on terrorism and, with it, the invasion of Afghanistan.

The deaths of the terrorist bombing of the plane included 57 Cubans, 11 Guyanese, most of them Cuban scholarship recipients, and five Korean officials. Particularly moving was the death of the entire youth fencing team, male and female, which was returning with all the gold medals they had won in a Central American fencing championship held in Caracas. In a moving rally a million of their compatriots gave a more symbolic than real farewell in Havana’s Revolution Square to those whose bodies lay at the bottom of the ocean.

Few perhaps in the world understood the terrible significance of that event that President Fidel Castro reflected on years later in the same square, in light of the attacks against the United States.

What was the importance of destroying a Cuban civilian airliner with 73 people on board in mid-flight? Hadn’t thousands of Cubans already died in the docked ship La Coubre, the Escambray, Playa Girón and in hundreds of terrorist actions, pirate attacks or other similar events, Fidel asked at the time.

‘We have convened this large demonstration against terrorism as a tribute to the memory of our brothers who died in Barbados 25 years ago, but it is also an expression of solidarity with the thousands of innocent people who died in New York and Washington’, the Cuban leader added.

He also emphasized that that massive rally was also an expression ‘of condemnation of the brutal crime’ committed against the Americans. To end these terrible events Fidel called for the ‘seeking of paths that will lead to the real and lasting eradication of terrorism, to peace and not to a bloody and endless war’.

Fidel Castro stated in that speech on October 6, 2001 that the planners and operatives of terrorist acts against his country had been recruited by the United States since the preparations for the Bay of Pigs invasion, that was defeated on the sands of Playa Giron on April 19, 1961.

The enlistment included preparation to take part in all kinds of violent actions, especially in plans for terrorist attacks and actions ‘that did not exclude any sphere of economic and social life, any means, any procedure, any weapon,’ he said.

And he then stressed: ‘I harbor the deepest conviction that the relations between the terrorist groups created against Cuba in the United States in the first 15 years of the Revolution and the authorities of that country were never broken’.

Source: Resumen Latinoamericano