The following article appeared today, June 21, 1996 in the Miami Herald

Cuba Dismisses Report on Shootdown of U.S. Aircraft

UNITED NATIONS -- (AP) -- Cuba dismissed a preliminary U.N. report Thursday that indicates the Cuban shootdown of two unarmed U.S. Cessnas earlier this year occurred over international waters.

The report from the U.N. International Civil Aviation Organization has not yet been officially released and Cuban Ambassador Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla said he was reacting to a preliminary draft.

The final report is expected to be distributed Friday or Monday by the Montreal-based organization.

``Cuba has solid evidence that the downings of these aircraft took place within Cuban airspace,'' Rodriguez told reporters.

He said the report ignored Cuban evidence, adding that ``it is noteworthy that the testimony of some witnesses is considered divine truth while others are disqualified and questioned.''

``You would have to say that it is an incomplete report,'' Rodriguez said.

Cuba has insisted that the United States failed to stop Brothers to the Rescue, the Miami-based exile group that flew the aircraft, from repeatedly violating Cuban airspace.

Four people were killed in the shootdown.

In Washington, Undersecretary of State Peter Tarnoff said the United States would press the Security Council to take action once the report was made public. Tarnoff did not specify what action the United States would demand.

``We are ... confident that the report will demonstrate that the unarmed civilian aircraft were shot down by the Cuban military in international airspace, that there was no justification for that outrageous action,'' he said.


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Copyright 1996 The Miami Herald