The records always speak of the death of 73 people aboard the Cubana de Aviación flight CU 455, on 6th October 1976. Well, more than 73 people were killed that day on Cubana de Aviación 455! As of today, when we walk away from this ceremony for the celebration of the 39th Anniversary of the remembrance of our innocent brothers and sisters killed by that CIA assassin, Luis Posada Carriles, we should speak of the assassination of not 73, but 74 people that day in the waters of Paradise Beach in beautiful Barbados. The historical record shows that Nancy Uranga, a member of the victorious Cuban fencing team on board CU 445 that fateful day, was pregnant. The record must therefore be more widely respected as of today, and we must remember that 74 innocent people (58 Cubans, 11 Guyanese and 5 Koreans) were murdered that day in the name of shameless imperialist hegemony and absurd, ridiculous, reactionary high-handedness in the peaceful Caribbean.
These were the records of nearly four decades ago. The irrational, myopic and misguided anti-Castro behaviour that oozed from certain leaders of United States politics for more than those four decades, 55 years to be exact, was based upon the hatred of those actors for anyone and anything that professed to embrace a political and ideological philosophy that run counter to the politics and ideology of the chief ideologues of Western-styled capitalism. Today, more than five decades later, the same hatred and intolerance continue to abide, but their fossilized nature is the catalyst for their own gradual dismantling. Thus, President Barack Obama, the embodiment of both a human being, and a spiritual entity unleashed upon America and the world by God, was caught on the record saying to Republicans in the Congress on July 30, 2014: “stop just hating”, just stop “hating all the time”! Yes, the hatred, and the intolerance, and the myopia, are under attack, and today, the entity called Obama, wants to embrace Cuba, and the latter is returning the hug, albeit not the bear-hug reserved for Socialist comrades!
While we encourage President Obama’s search for peace instead of war, and while we embrace education instead of the neo-con, openness instead of darkness, diplomacy rather than theocracy, we must remain vigilant however, mindful of the extremely fluid and contradictory nature of American politics, where one powerful Party generally accepts the facts, while the other Titan is shamelessly “fact-free”, “though the heavens fall”, and entire low-lying territories face certain extinction in the deluge of Climate Change. On this 39th Anniversary of the Martyrs of Barbados, we will again say to President Obama that it is still not too late to let the murderous terrorist Luis Posada Carriles face the blindness and impartiality of Lady Justice. If the President truly wants to usher in a new era of regional and international relations based on the tenets of truth, reconciliation, innovative diplomacy, and mutual respect among nations, then it is not too late to offer an apology for the sins of his predecessor who functioned as POTUS when the CIA-sponsored Luis Posada Carriles masterminded that cowardly act of 6th October 1976. It is not too late to offer some words of comfort, and let hundreds of Cubans, Guyanese and Koreans find some closure, that same spiritual substance that so many hundreds of American families seek after every cowardly college massacre, the latest being the brutal terrorising of more than twenty American citizens, at Umpqua College in Oregon, where nine (9) innocent Americans lost their lives.
Each and every Anniversary of the Martyrs of Barbados brings fresh tears to the eyes of our Saint Lucian comrades, brothers and sisters, who love Cuba dearly. The pain remains equally unbearable, year after year, Anniversary after Anniversary. Many thousands of Saint Lucian and Cuban brothers and sisters have not found closure, particularly due to the fact that the despicable intellectual author of the demise of 74 innocent, pure, humble Martyrs of Barbados still enjoys freedom from the noble bonds of justice.
The ties that bind Cuba and Saint Lucia are unbreakable ties, and it was a truly remarkable and unforgettable act of nature that the Official Identification Card of the Captain of CU 455 found its way all across the Caribbean Sea from Barbados, to finally rest in Saint Lucia. This card was found on the beach at Cas en Bas, Gros Islet, by a Saint Lucian comrade, himself incidentally an unwavering and unconditional friend of the Cuban people, Brother Martin “Bob” Phulchere, who is here with us today. Brother “Bob” dutifully did the right thing, and handed the card to the local authorities. Let me ask Brother “Bob” to stand for a round of applause by our distinguished audience of brothers and sisters of Cuba.
The Humanistic Solidarity Association (Saint Lucia – Cuba) wishes to take this opportunity to again reiterate its pleasure and its support for the newly emerging engagement between Cuba and the United States of America, and looks forward to the deepening and consolidation of that new relationship, whose only logical end has to be the ushering in of a mutually productive and deeply rewarding era of economic, social, political and cultural relations between the two parties, not to mention the inevitable positive offshoots that such a new set of relations will have for the wider Caribbean and Latin American family of nations.