Brothers to the Rescue STATEMENT FEBRUARY 24, 2005
We have come here today, to remember and honor the memory of Armando Alejandre, Carlos Costa, Mario De la Peña and Pablo Morales on the ninth anniversary of their murder. These four young men, full of hopes for a better Cuba were the victims of an infamous crime. A crime against humanity committed by MiGs of the Cuban Air Force, following orders given by Fidel Castro and his brother Raul. We are also here to renew our call for truth and justice, as our best way to honor the fallen pilots.
The shoot-down of the BTTR planes, an act of international terrorism, took place under the live visual scrutiny of a sophisticated radar system and listening stations of the U.S. government, which documented in detail the 53 minutes of the air persecution and shoot down. On previous occasions, BTTR had received warnings from agencies of the U.S. government of MiGS in the air, however on that fateful day, there was no warning to the victims, or a preventive response to the attack, as U.S defense procedures called for. An effective deterrent was just a phone call away, in Homestead Air Force Base.
The crime, egregious enough, was complemented by the unexplained interruption of a standing US air defense mechanism, which could had prevented the shoot-down. It has been well documented that a warning given by NORAD radar monitors in California to Tindall Air Force Base in Florida, elicited a response of "don’t worry, we are taking care of it". The order that ensued to the Homestead Air Force Base interceptors was to "stand down battle stations", as they stood ready to depart. This took place while a surviving crew of four, myself included, witnessed in horror the murder of our pilots.
The reason given by the U.S. government at the time, was that a "miscommunication error" had occurred, causing the halting of an active defense mechanism which would have prevented the actions of Castros’ MiGs as it had done in the past, including that very morning. Four civilians (three of them US citizens) were killed and two U.S. civilian aircraft were destroyed in international airspace, 29 miles north of Havana with missiles fired from the MiGs.
To this date, the U.S. government has given no explanation of where the order to halt a standard procedure of U.S. air defense originated or who gave it. The Clinton Administration never investigated the alleged "miscommunication error", nor was a proceeding commenced to determine who was at fault, nor did the Clinton administration offer a justification of its own conduct on that day.
WAS THE US MILITARY INSTRUCTED, BY THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION, TO ASSUME RESPONSIBILITY FOR A POLITICAL DECISION WHICH RESULTED IN THE MURDER OF U.S. CITIZENS?
IS THIS THE REASON THAT AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE "MISCOMMUNICATION ERROR" WAS NEVER COMMENCED AND IS THIS WHY JUSTICE HAS BEEN IMPEDED FOR SO LONG?
The long overdue criminal indictment of Fidel and Raul Castro for this crime, amply justified by numerous investigations, witness testimonies, proof of air practices conducted for the event, Cuban spies who aided and were convicted, MiG pilots indicted for the crime and Castro’s own admission, as recorded in a Dan Rather interview, of giving the order for the shoot-down, finds us, nine years later, still awaiting for justice.
Over one hundred thousand signatures from our community petitioning the indictment of Castro, to President George W. Bush, remain unanswered. Another petition for the indictment, given personally to President Bush by Eva Barbas, the mother of Pablo Morales, in the White House three years ago, and to John Ashcroft, Secretary of Justice, here in Miami, also remain unanswered.
The official U.S. rhetoric towards Cuba, Castro and a future for Democracy in the Island have raised high expectations both on the Island and within the exiled community. Is this rhetoric consistent with the lack of a criminal indictment for the Castro brothers?
As we listen to the most recent presidential statements in support of this nation’s foreign policy in Iraq, we are compelled to say: Mr. President, in order for freedom and democracy to exist and survive, there must be truth and justice as well.
Mr. President, please respond to our plea in the name of those four young men, who were murdered nine years ago while peacefully struggling to save the lives and freedom of the unknown. We urge you to do this in the same spirit for which Americans are fighting today in far away regions of the world.
PLEASE REMOVE NOW ALL THE UNWORTHY POLITICAL OBSTACLES AND PROCEED TO INDiCT FOR MURDER, THE CASTRO BROTHERS.