Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Castro Address

Havana Domestic Television/Radio Services in Spanish 1503 GMT 15 Oct 76 FL

[Funeral oration delivered by Premier Fidel Castro at "rite de passage for
Cuban victims of Cubana de Aviacion air disaster, held at Plaza de la
Revolucion on 15 October 1976--live]

[Text] Relatives of Cubans assassinated on 6 October, compatriots: Shaken,
in grief, indignant, we gather today at this historic plaza to bid
farewell, although almost symbolically, to the remains of our brothers
assassinated in the brutal terrorist action perpetrated against a civilian
plane in full flight with 73 persons aboard, including 57 Cubans.  Most of
the bodies lie in the abysmal depths of the ocean and the tragedy has not
even given the next of kin the consolation of having the bodies.

Only eight Cubans bodies have been recovered.  They thereby become a symbol
of all the dead: the merely material remains which we will bury in our land
from what were 57 healthy, vigorous, enthusiastic, unselfish and young
compatriots of ours.  Their average age barely exceeded the age of 30
although their lives were already immensely rich in their contribution to
work, study, sports, affection for their close relations and the
revolution.  When we read the biographies of each one of them we can see
the splendid history of service to the country their lives have been.  The
plane's captain this same year had been selected national work hero.  Any
had received the "20th Anniversary" medal.  Many among the crew had
provided different internationalist services and the athletes had Just
written a brilliant and insurmountable sports page by winning gold medals
in the regional fencing competition that had just been held in Caracas.

Many were members of the youth Union of Young Communists] or the party.
All were outstanding in their activities.  Ranch one of them had been a
clear example of how devotion to study, improvement, work and fulfillment
of duty is today the essential characteristic of our fellow citizens.

They were not millionaires on a pleasure trip.  They were not tourists with
the time and money to visit other countries.  They were humble workers or
students and athletes who, with modesty and dedication, were fulfilling the
tasks assigned by the fatherland.

There were 11 Guyanese youths among the passengers on the plane.  Six of
them had been selected to take medical courses in Cuba.  These were lives
lost of men whose destiny would have been to save lives in their
underdeveloped and poor country.  Five unselfish citizens of the democratic
People's Republic of Korea also died--a people attacked for so long by the
United States.  They were visiting Latin American countries on friendly

The plane was destroyed in flight by an explosive device Just a few minutes
after taking off from the Parbados airport.  With indescribable heroism,
the courageous and expert pilots of the plane made a supreme effort to
return to land.  Rut the plane, burning and almost destroyed, could only
remain in the air a few minutes more.  However, they had sufficient time
and integrity to explain that an explosion had occurred aboard, that the
plane was burning and that they were trying to return to land.  The drama
for the passengers and crew members as a result of the explosion and the
fire, as they were enclosed in an aircraft at an altitude of about 6,000
meters, is unimaginable.

Some imperialist news agency immediately spoke of a possible mechanical
failure.  But all the words of the pilot transmitted to the Barbados
airport were recorded.

Other evidence was added immediately.  Two individuals with documents
identifying them as Venezuelans had boarded the plane in Trinidad and left
it at Parbados before the accident.  Almost immediately after the plane
exploded in the air, they took another plane to Trinidad where they stayed
in the most luxurious hotel without any luggage.

At the request of Barbadian authorities, who had become suspicious of them,
they were arrested.  The investigations initiated by police of both
countries immediately gave indications to support strong assumptions that
the two were the material authors of the sabotage.  As a result of the
nature of documentation, Venezuelan authorities also quickly learned of the
events and had access to the investigation.

The following day, 7 October, Venezuelan President Carlos Andres Perez, in
a message of condolences to Cuba, described the incident as an abominable
crime.  The prime minister of Parbados himself spoke publicly in similar
terms at the United Nations.  The fact that these governments, whose
officials had access to the most immediate and important sources of
information--the arrested individuals themselves, the circumstances
surrounding their conduct and their documents--described the incident as
terrorism was already in itself very significant.

Although from the initial information the Government of Cuba did not have
the slightest doubt as to the cause of the tragedy it abstained from
issuing any statement, waiting to carefully analyze the news that was being
received, as well as background information and reports.  Some of the
reports were public and others, confidential ones, were made available to

At first, the real identity of the arrested individuals was not exactly
known.  There was talk of the possibility that the documents were false.
The names of Freddy Lugo and Jose Velasquez were reported, and it was said
that the latter also called himself Jose Garcia and it was mentioned that
he carried more than one passport.

Later, it was also reported that the Venezuelan consul had talked with the
arrested individuals for 5 hours and that the U.S. ambassador in Barbados
had hurriedly left for Washington.  Nevertheless, news surrounding the
arrested persons and other details and circumstances of interest were kept

On 9 October, the Government of Venezuela declared that Freddy Lugo was a
Venezuelan citizen and that investigations were in progress to identify
Jose Velasquez or Jose Garcia.

On 10 October, several absolutely reliable sources from Venezuelan
newspaper circles, indignant over the monstrous crime, sent to Cuba highly
important reports revealing that an EL MUNDO newspaper photographer called
Harnan Ricardo had 2 weeks earlier been seen in the company of Felix
Martinez Suarez, a known enemy of the Cuban revolution, and two other
individuals; that Hernan Ricardo was an inseparable companion of Freddy
Lugo; that 2 days after the explosion of a bomb in the Cubana de Aviacion
offices in Panama, Herman Ricardo had arrived at Maiquetia Airport from
that country; that there were clear indications that this individual had
three passports, one of them in the name of Jose Velasquez.  It was added
that in the offices of the newspaper EL MUNDO, he had boasted of knowing
that a Cuban plane would be bombed in Barbados.

But the most essential and important thing these well-informed Venezuelan
sources communicated to us is that it was known in broad circles that
Hernan Ricardo was a CIA agent; that he had handled reports from it many
times and that, although he earned a relatively modest salary of 1,600
bolivares, he owned a 40,000-automobile and a 100,000-apartment
[currencies not specified]; that some persons had also heard him talk with
Freddy Lugo about explosives courses they were receiving; that as a result
of all this information they [the sources] suspected that the arrested
individual calling himself Jose Velasquez has Hernan Ricardo.

Two days later, on 12 October, the Government of Venezuela officials
announced that the second arrested person, Jose Velasquez, was actually
Hernan Ricardo.  This explains everything.  To the reports from Venezuela,
we must add that according to information we possess, Felix Martinez Suarez
is reputed to be a CIA agent.

Public reports from Venezuela speak of fabulous suns of money given to the
material authors of the attack.  The territory of Venezuela unquestionably
was used for materializing the final phase of the sabotage and citizens of
that country, without a doubt, were the material authors of the horrible

But, this does not lead us to any confusion.  It is true that a group of
well-known Cuban counterrevolutionary elements is based in Venezuela and
has some access to certain political circles.  They are involved in the
imperialist, terrorist plans against our fatherland and it is very hard not
to believe that some of them have had something to do with the actions.
But, we feel very sure that the US, aggressive plans against Cuba, are
absolutely foreign to the Venezuelan Government: that its attitude toward
our country has been honest; that just as President Carlos Andres Perez has
promised, there will be a thorough investigation of the complicity that
Venezuelan citizens or residents of the country may have had in this
action; that he will demand responsibility from those who are charged with
seeing to it that Venezuelan territory is not used as a base of aggression
or of terrorist acts.

The recruitment of citizens and the utilization of other countries'
territories to conduct such acts are methods characteristic of the CIA.  At
the beginning we were uncertain whether the CIA had directly organized the
sabotage or had carefully prepared it through its covert organizations
formed by Cuban counterrevolutionaries.  Now, we decidedly believe the
first assumption is correct.  The CIA directly participated in the
destruction of the Cubana aircraft in Barbados.

The most repugnant thing about this case was the utilization of mercenaries
who were capable of cutting off the precious lives of unarmed persons with
whom they even traveled minutes before aboard the aircraft.  In recent
months the U.S.  Government, resentful because of Cuba's contribution to
the defeat suffered by imperialists and racists in Africa, along with
threats of aggression, unleased a number of terrorist activities against
Cuba.  That campaign has continued to intensify daily and has been
fundamentally directed at our diplomatic missions and our airlines.

On 9 July of this year, in Kingston, Jamaica, only several weeks before the
aircraft in Barbados, a powerful bomb exploded in the dolly carrying the
baggage for a Cubana de Aviacion flight en route to Cuba.  The device did
not explode inside the airliner while in flight because it [the plane] was
delayed in arriving.  On 2 October, 4 days before the sabotage of the
aircraft in Barbados, counterrevolutionary newsman (Yano Montes), who has
good reasons for being well-informed about these activities, reported in
the daily EL MUNDO of Caracas that a plastic bomb had been placed under the
wing of a Cubana de Aviacion aircraft in Barbados, and that it had come
loose due to a small gasoline spill when the aircraft was taxing out to the
runaway to begin its flight.  He added that an airport security agent had
found the plastic explosive on the ground, and, without notifying his
supervisor, had removed the detonator and had taken it to the offices, from
which it disappeared.

In the terrorist acts perpetrated against Cuba in all the states in the
Caribbean and Central American area which maintain relations with our
fatherland, not only have the territories of those countries--Mexico,
Panama, Colombia, Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago and Venezuela--been
used, but also those of neighboring countries such as the Dominican
Republic and Costa Rica, where the terrorists reside, operate and organize;
not excluding, of course, the United States, Puerto Rico, Nicaragua and
Chile, where they have their bases and act freely with official support.

In the development of these activities, imperialism has shamelessly
violated the sovereignty and laws of numerous area nations.  The
perpetrators of these crimes move everywhere with impunity.  They have
unlimited financial resources.  They use U.S. passports as naturalized
citizens of that country or real or false documents of numerous countries
and they use the most sophisticated means of terror and crime.  Who else
but the CIA, under the protection of the conditions of dominion and
imperialist impunity established in this hemisphere, can carry out these

An important aspect are the close relations existing between the Central
Intelligence Agency and the tyrannical regimes of Nicaragua and Chile in
carrying out these plans.  When the mercenary attack against Giron was
carried out, the territories of Nicaragua and Guatemala were used as bases
for armed attacks against Cuba and, later on, pirate attacks were conducted
from bases in Miami, Puerto Rica, the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica.
At the present time, the same groups of counterrevolutionary elements are
also being used by Somoza and Pinochet in accordance with the specific
needs of each of them, not only against Cuba but also against Panama,
Jamaica, Guyana, the Chilean people's movement and other Latin American
progressive movements.

It is well known that every time the CIA plotted against Cuba in the days
of Giron or later plotted to perpetrate the unending chain of piracy
attacks.  Subversive actions and delivery of weapons which it organized and
directed on each occasion, it always covered up its activities behind the
screen of specific Cuban counterrevolutionary organizations.

It is impossible to recall the number of names and acronyms that this murky
Yankee institution has created.

Last July, a group of terrorist counterrevolutionary organizations, all
located in the United States--the so-called National Front for the
Liberation of Cuba, Cuban Action, Cuban Nationalist Movement, 2506 Brigade
and F-14, most of them consisting of elements who have worked for the CIA
for several years and have been trained by it--met in Costa Rica to create
a so-called Command of United Revolutionary Organizations, CORU.  These
groups not only operate freely and with impunity within the territory of
the United States, but also their principal leaders, through the CORD
organization, are closely linked to CIA activities against Cuba.

Actions are not always carried out by elements of these covert
organizations.  Many times the CIA does the dirty work through other means
and the created organizations serve to assume responsibility for the
actions.  These groups publicly proclaim their crimes in the United States
and announce new acts of vandalism.

In August 1976, a newspaper published in Miami carried am alleged battle
report in which, after reporting how they blew up an automobile in front of
the Cuban Embassy in Colombia and destroyed the Air Panama offices they
declare at the end: We will soon attack airplanes in flight.  The five
terrorist organizations located in Miami, which I mentioned previously,
signed the report.

In another Miami paper on 19 September of this year, we see a detailed
description by CORU of how the attempt to kidnap the Cuban consul in Merida
was carried out and of the assassination of fishing technician (Dartanan
Diaz Diaz) combined with the objective of dynamitting the Cuban Embassy in
Mexico, Two of the assassins had flown from Miami to Mexico with U.S.
passports to carry out the actions.  They were arrested in that country
after the crime.  A third one returned to the United States to escape
Mexican justice.

Another report published in Miami on 9 September 1976 covers a graphic page
on an alleged congress of the terrorist organization 2506 Brigade held in
that city.  The report includes photographs of the tyrant Somoza making the
closing speech and with him a Yankee representative, Claude Pepper.  In
another publication there is a photograph of a meeting of those
counterrevolutionary groups over which, according to the caption, Chilean
Ambassador to the United Nations Julio Duran, Miami Mayor Maurice Ferrer,
Chilean General Consul in Miami Col Eduardo Sepulveda and U.S.  Congressman
(Tom Gallagher) are shown presiding.

What is so strange now about CORU telling the AP news agency it is
responsible for the repugnant deed of having dynamited in flight a
passenger plane with 73 persons aboard?  What would be so strange about
these same elements having assassinated former Chilean Foreign Minister
Orlando Letelier, whose death angered Latin American and world public

Recounting the terrorist actions carried out against Cuba after the U.S.
Government launched its insolent threats against our country, we have the

In 1976: 6 April--Two fishing boats, Ferro 119 and Ferro 123, are attacked
by pirate launches from Florida, causing the death of fisherman Bienvenido
Mauris and seriously damaging the boats.  April 22--A bomb is placed in the
Cuban Embassy in Portugal, causing the deaths of two comrades, seriously
injurying several others and totally destroying the building.  July 5--The
Cuban mission to the United Nations is the object of an attack with
explosives, causing considerable material losses, July 9--A bomb explodes
in the cart carrying luggage, for the Cubana de Aviacion flight in the
airport in Jamaica moments before it is to be loaded.  July 10--A bomb
explodes in the offices of British West Indies [Airways] of Barbados which
represents Cubana de Aviacion interests in that country.  July 23--A
technician of the National Fishery Institute, [Dartanan Diaz Diaz], is
assassinated in an attempt to kidnap the Cuban consul in Merida.  August
9--Two Cuban Embassy officials in Argentina are kidnapped and no news of
them is heard.  August 18--A bomb explodes in the Cubana de Aviacion
offices in Panama causing considerable damage.  October 6--A Cubana de
Aviacion plane with 73 persons is destroyed in flight.

As can be seen, in only 2 months two acts of sabotage of extreme gravity
were organized against Cuban planes on international flights filled with
passengers.  One of those acts was fatal.

Behind all these acts is the CIA and, without exception in all cases, the
terrorist organizations based in the United States and operating with
impunity in that country's territory, mainly the five forming the group
called CORD which claimed responsibility for them.

I wish to remind you that the CIA has been the creator of criminal methods
that have been increasingly affecting the international community in recent
years.  The CIA invented and encouraged the hijacking of aircraft to use
them against Cuba in the first year of the revolution.  The CIA invented
the private attacks from foreign bases in its policy of aggression against
Cuba.  The CIA invented the destabilizing of foreign governments.  The CIA
revived in the modern world the sorrowful policy of planning and attempting
the assassination of leaders of other states.  The CIA now has invented the
tenebrous idea of exploding civilian aircraft while in flight.  It is
necessary for the world community to become aware of the serious
implications of such acts.

Even when the U.S.  Senate investigated and publicly acknowledged the
numerous plans of the CIA aimed at assassinating the leaders of the Cuban
revolution and its devotion to that task over several years, the US.
Government has neither given any explanation of such acts to the Cuban
Government, nor has it apologized in the least.  We suspect that the U.S.
Government has not renounced such practice.

On 9 October, only 3 days after the criminal sabotage in Barbados, a
message sent by the CIA to one of its agents in Havana was intercepted.
This message, sent from the main center of the CIA in Langley, Virginia,
said, among other things, please report as soon as possible any information
dealing with Fidel's attendance at the ceremony on the first anniversary of
the independence of Angola on 11 November.  If affirmative, try to find out
complete itinerary to Fidel's visit to other countries during same trip.

Another set of instructions dated earlier says: What is the official and
private reaction to bomb attacks against Cuban offices abroad?  What are
they going to do to avoid and prevent them?  Who is suspected as
responsible?  Will there be retaliations?

We expect that the U.S.  Government will not dare deny the veracity of
these instructions coming from the CIA main offices and many others which
have been sent to the same person in flagrant acts of espionage.

We have the code, the ciphers and all the evidence of the veracity of these
communications.  In this specific case, from the very moment when he was
recruited by the CIA and over a period of 10 years, the supposed agent has
kept the Cuban Government fully informed [applause] of all his contacts
with it, and the equipment and instructions he has received.  The CIA
believed that the agent had been successful in placing a modern electronic
microtransmitter, which was delivered to him to be placed in none other
than the offices of Comrade Osmani Cienfuegos, secretary of the Executive
Committee of the Council of Ministers.  From there, it was sure to receive
with due urgency information regarding any trips the Cuban prime minister
might plan to take abroad.

Those who imagine that the CIA has changed in the least as a result of the
charges made against it in the midst of the North American society
regarding its hair-raising acts are making a great mistake.  Its methods
will perhaps be more subtle and more perfidious.  Why did the CIA want to
learn the exact itinerary of tile trip which the prime minister might make
to Angola and other African countries on the occasion of 11 November?  Why
did it want to learn about the measures that would be adopted to avoid and
prevent terrorist acts?  Due to the importance of this act and its value in
revealing the conduct and activities of the CIA, we have found it to be
convenient to make it public even though to do so means sacrificing a
valuable source of information. [applause]

Three years ago the Cuban and U.S. governments signed an agreement on air
and maritime piracy and other crimes which was, on the part of our country,
an important contribution to the solution of the serious world problem of
aircraft hijacking.  The Cuban Government did not lay down any conditions
for signing that agreement, not even a halt to the criminal economic
blockade that the U.S.  Government was maintaining against our country.

Cuba, moreover, without the slightest legal obligation, returned to a U.S.
enterprise the $2 million which one of the hijackers had brought with him
and which had been confiscated by our authorities.  On a certain occasion,
Cuban authorities in the Rancho zeros Airport saved the lives of a number
of U.S. citizens who, coming from Florida, had to make an emergency landing
after the U.S. police had shot out the tires of their plane in a futile
attempt to keep it on the ground.  We would do exactly the same thing in
similar circumstances for strictly humanitarian reasons.

What a difference from the brutal conduct of those who armed the murderous
hands and encouraged the destruction of our plane in Barbados.  Cuba never
made and will never make propaganda for plane hijackers.  And it is willing
to really cooperate with any responsible government in the struggle against
air piracy and terrorism.

But the U.S.  Government has been incapable of fulfilling the spirit and
letter of the agreement signed with Cuba in February 1973.  After the
assassination with impunity of a Cuban fisherman and destruction of two
boats by a pirate launch near Florida we warned the U.S.  Government that
if such incidents were repeated and its perpetrators were not extemporarily
punished the agreement would cease to be in effect. [applause] There was no
reply.  The crime was not investigated or punished.

Events that occurred thereafter are much more serious because the terrorist
action unleashed as a result of the hostility and policy of the United
States toward Cuba has culminated in the incredible barbaric action of
civilian Cuban planes being destroyed in flight.

The agreement signed between the governments of the United States and Cuba
on 15 February 1973 cannot survive this brutal crime.  [prolong applause,
indistinct chanting] The Government of Cuba. [interrupted by prolonged
indistinct chanting] The government of Cuba finds it necessary to cancel it
and it will so notify the Government of the United States this very
afternoon. [applause]

According to the text of the said agreement, one of the parties can
communicate to the other its decision to terminate it at any time during
the period the agreement is in effect through written denunciation
formulated 6 months ahead of time.  Strictly adhering to what was agreed
upon and proceeding to give notice of its denunciation today, 15 October
1976, the agreement will remain in force only until 15 April 1977.  And we
will not again sign with the United States any agreements of this nature
[applause] until the terrorist campaign unleashed against Cuba definitively
ends, effective guarantees are offered to our people against these
incidents and U.S. acts of hostility and aggression against Cuba are
definitely ended. [prolonged applause]

There can be no cooperation of any sort between an aggressor country and an
attacked country.  If after 15 April 1977 when the agreement ceases to be
in force, any U.S. commercial plane is diverted to Cuba, the plane as well
as the crew and passengers will receive all facilities to return
immediately to their country. [applause] Cuba will never encourage air
hijacking or put up with its perpetrators.  But it cannot maintain
virtually unilateral commitments of returning or punishing these
perpetrators with a government upon which falls the fundamental
responsibility for this infamous terrorist offensive against our country.

Agreements signed in this regard with Canada, Mexico, Colombia and
Venezuela will continue fully in force. [applause] Cuba is also ready to
cooperate with Mexico, Panama, Venezuela, Colombia, Jamaica, Trinidad
Tobago, Guyana, Barbados and the other Caribbean and Central American
countries that are capable of acting in good faith on any number of
measures considered appropriate to combat these crimes.  Cuba is even
willing to discuss with the United States, regardless of which government
is elected in November, a solution to these problems.  But, I repeat, it
must be on the basis of a definitive end to all acts of hostility and
aggression against our fatherland. [prolonged applause]

We could ask ourselves: What is the aim of these crimes?  To destroy the
revolution?  It is impossible.  The revolution emerges stronger in the face
of each blow and each aggression, it intensifies, it becomes more aware it
be cones stronger. [prolonged applause] To intimidate the people? [shouts
of "no"] It is impossible.  In the face of cowardice and the monstrosity of
such crimes the people get fired up and each man and woman becomes a fierce
and heroic soldier willing to die. [prolonged, rhythmic applause]

The revolution has instilled in all of us the idea of human fraternity and
solidarity.  It made us all close brothers and the blood of one belongs to
all and the blood of all belongs to each one of the others. [applause] That
is why the grief belongs to all, the mourning belongs to all.  But the
invincible and powerful strength of millions of persons is our strength.
And our strength is not only that of a people, it is the strength of all
peoples who already have freed themselves from slavery and that of all who
are struggling to eradicate from within human society exploitation,
injustice and crime. [applause]

Our strength, in sum, is the strength of patriotism and the strength of
internationalism.  The ideas for which we struggle are the standard bearers
of the most honest and worthy in today's world, and the certain and
victorious emblem of tomorrow's world.

Imperialism, capitalism, fascism, neocolonialism, racism, man's brutal
exploitation of man in all their forms and manifestations-are approaching
their decline in the history of mankind.  And their insane servants know
it.  That is why their reactions are increasingly more desperate, more
hysterical, more cynical and more impotent.  Only this can explain crimes
so repugnant and absurd as the one in Barbados.

For more than 100 years the execution of the medical students in 1871 has
been remembered and condemned with unequaled indignation.  For thousands of
years our people will remember, condemn and abhor in the deepest part of
their spirit this horrible assassination. [applause]

Our athletes, sacrificed at the height of their lives and capabilities,
will be eternal champions in our hearts.  [prolonged applause] Their gold
medals will not lie on the floor of the ocean; they are already rising as
suns without stains and as symbols in the Cuban sky.  They will not have
the honor of [participating in] the olympiads, but they have risen forever
to the beautiful olympiad of the martyrs of the fatherland. [prolonged

Our crew members, our heroic aviation workers, our unselfish compatriots
who were cowardly sacrificed that day will live eternally in the memory, in
the love and admiration of the people. [applause] A fatherland increasingly
more revolutionary [applause], more worthy, more socialist [applause] and
more internationalist [prolonged applause] will be the great monument our
people will build to their memory and to that of those who have died or
might die for the revolution. [prolonged applause]

To our Guyanese and Korean brothers immolated that day also goes our
warmest remembrance at this time.  They make us remember that the crimes of
imperialism have no borders [applause], that we all belong to the same
human family and that our struggle is universal. [applause]

We cannot say that pain is shared; it is multiplied.  Millions of Cubans
today weep along with the dear kin of the victims of the abominable crimes,
And when a strong and virile people weep, injustice trembles.  Fatherland
or death, we will win. [prolonged applause]