The Call of the International Committee to Demand Justice for the Victims of the "13 de Marzo" Massacre

This is the initiating statement of the international campaign to bring justice to the victims of the "13 de Marzo" massacre. Our challenge is to go out to the international community and reach people so that many more people can speak out on this outrage, and also to deepen our campaign so that our goal can be accomplished. Justice for Caridad Tacoronte age 4, Marjolis Méndez age 17 who had their young lives violently taken away from them, and the other thirty nine who were brutally murdered on July 13, 1994.

In the early morning hours of July 13, 1994 the tugboat "13 de Marzo" was attacked by agents of the Cuban government. They repeatedly rammed the tug, used high pressure water hoses on the victims, and sank the ship killing at least 41 men, women, and children seven miles off the coast of Havana, Cuba.

Nearly two years later on October 16, 1996 the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights concluded that the Cuban government was responsible for the deaths of the 41 people shipwrecked on the tug "13 de Marzo", the emotional trauma of the relatives of the victims and survivors who lost loved ones. The Commission also noted that the Cuban government had refused to recover the bodies or allow others to recover them for proper burial by their families.

The Victims of the 13 de Marzo Tugboat Massacre must have justice ! Print this form to add your name, join the ICDJV today, and e-mail us with your name and mailing address including your profession

The Victims: What do the survivors have to say?

The survivors of the "13 de Marzo" massacre bravely spoke up inside and outside of Cuba to recount their experiences. Their testimony appeared on an official report of the Organization of American States condemning the actions of the Cuban government, and then on January 20, 1998 they spoke again on Nightline. MARIA VICTORIA GARCIA (through translators) Our tugboat started taking on water. We shouted to the crewmen on the boat, "Look at the children! You're going to kill them!" And he said, "Let them die. Let them die." [continue]


Putting the "13 de Marzo Into Context

The sinking of the "13 de Marzo" was not the first nor sadly will it be the last incident of agents of the Cuban government brutally killing Cubans trying to flee the island. More than a year before the July 13 massacre the US filed a complaint reported on July 7, 1993 in the Miami Herald:

The attacks on swimmers in Guantanamo Bay drew especially sharp criticism because the refugees might easily have been detained without violence, U.S. officials said. "The idea of blowing people up when they are vulnerable underwater is appalling," Gelbard said. A State Department aide called the use of gaffs, usually used to pull gamefish into boats, to pull bodies from the water an act of extreme cruelty." [continue]


What Else Can You do?

Please contact both the Cuban government and international agencies as well as civic organizations to request that the Cuban government hold a proper investigation and bring those responsible to justice, recover the bodies of the victims, and provide compensation to the surviving victims and families of the dead.[continue]