27 February 1996


27 February 1996

Press Release


19960227 The pilot of one of the aircraft shot down over Cuban airspace on 24 February ignored warnings by Cuban authorities prior to the incident, the representative of Cuba told the Security Council this morning, as it met to hear that country's views on the matter. He said his Government had irrefutable proof that the two aircraft in question were in Cuban airspace at the time of being downed; earlier in the day, other aircraft originating in the United States had also violated Cuban airspace.

Addressing the Council prior to a meeting at which it was to present a presidential statement deploring the shooting down of the two civil aircraft, Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla said the group behind the flight, "Brothers to the Rescue", was engaged in a campaign aimed at subverting Cuba's constitutional order. Such organizations acted with impunity under the protection of the United States Government.

Mr. Rodriguez Parrilla said the Council, frequently slow to act, had today quickly distorted the mandate entrusted. It was not international peace and security that was threatened today. On the contrary, it was the peace, sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of Cuba which had been endangered for more than 35 years. That was a result of action by those who tried to manipulate the Council from a position of strength.

During the past 20 months, 25 aircraft originating in United States territory had violated Cuban airspace, he said. In every case, that information had been officially communicated to the Interests Section of the United States in Havana.

While stating that his Government had irrefutable proof that the two aircraft in question were in Cuban airspace at the time of the incident, he added that before being shot down, one of the planes had been warned of the risks entailed if the planes attempted to enter the area. The pilot had replied that, even though he was aware of the prohibition, the plane would do so nevertheless.

He said Cuba had indicated the dangers of such unauthorized flights into its airspace on a number of occasions. However, the United States Government

had failed to take effective measures to prevent such flights. On many occasions, Cuban territorial waters and airspace had been violated by organizations based in the United States. Acting under a civilian cloak, such organizations had undertaken many terrorist acts. The United States Government had not adopted any effective measures to put an end to such acts originating in its territory.

A few hours ago, the testimony of one of the pilots of the organization "Brothers to the Rescue" had been made public, he said. He revealed that he had carried explosives and studied Cuban roads for the purpose of placing the explosives there. He said that, in 1993, the President of Brothers to the Rescue had inquired about locations where aircraft could land, with the purpose of delivering explosives to be used to affect Cuba's national energy system. There were also plans to introduce anti-personnel weapons into the country for attacks, in particular, on the life of President Fidel Castro.

A partial and unilateral interpretation of the Convention on International Civil Aviation had been presented, he said. However, under that Convention, each contracting State agreed not to use civil aviation for purposes incompatible with it. In addition, each contracting State was to take appropriate measures to prevent the use of civil aircraft in its territory for any purpose incompatible with the Convention.

Mr. Rodriguez Parrilla said the President of the United States had yesterday announced measures to be taken against his country. He had offered to agree with the Congress to adopt a bill aimed at further strengthening the blockade against Cuba. He asked for the Council to condemn Cuba and extend sanctions against it, even though the General Assembly had on several occasions condemned the United States blockade of Cuba. The purpose of obtaining funds to support "the ill-named Radio Marti" ran contrary to other interests in the United States which called for reducing such forms of interference.

Those actions were being take against the country which was the victim of the blockade, of terrorist acts and of violations of its airspace, he said. What measures were to be taken against the United States authorities which had failed to prevent such acts? The "unfair and cruel measures announced by President Clinton" seemed insufficient to those among the extreme right of Cubans within the United States. Such positions exacerbated the political climate in the United States and aimed at placing obstacles in that President's path during an election year.

"The intolerance of these extreme right gangsters has become the rule" in the city in Florida which had become their "bailiwick", he said. Spokesmen for extreme rightist groups, complaining that the United States had tied the hands of the exiles, had called for preparations for war. To those cries

Security Council - 3 - Press Release SC/6181 3634th Meeting (AM) 27 February 1996

coming out of Florida could be added the statement of Secretary of State Warren Christopher who stated that President Clinton had reserved the option of adopting military measures against Cuba.

"This is a struggle for the fatherland or death", he said. Cuba had never trembled in the face of threats, not even when they entailed the possibility of nuclear destruction. The thirty-fifth anniversary of the victory at the Bay of Pigs was approaching. Cuba was again faced with the possibility of repulsing similar attacks if necessary. The chronology of violations of Cuban airspace in recent years, which had increased and become more provocative, could be made available to delegations as official documents.

The United States, which was now presiding over the Council, had brought a very particular dynamic to its work, he said. Neither the presidential statement before the Council, if adopted, nor any other act would be acceptable to Cuba so long as they lacked a clear and unequivocal condemnation of acts of aggression conducted from the territory of the United States against Cuba, including the flagrant violation of its airspace and territorial waters. It was hoped that members of the Council would find the wisdom to put an end to the unequal and manipulated efforts against his country.

Following Cuba's statement, Council President Madeleine K. Albright (United States), speaking in her national capacity, said she reserved the right to respond to the unfounded statements made by the representative of Cuba.

The meeting, which was called to order at 3:10 a.m., adjourned at 3:44 a.m.

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For information media. Not an official record.