Forty-two years after the 1976 bombing of Cubana Airlines flight 455 from Barbados to Jamaica, the families of the 73 passengers and crew members who lost their lives are still grieving and the Cuban government continues to demand justice.
Cuban Ambassador to Barbados Francisco Pena; Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sandra Husbands; founder of the Cuban Barbadian Friendship Association David Denny; Counsel General of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana Cita Pilgrim; members of the diplomatic corps and the families of victims gathered at the Cubana Monument in Paynes Bay, St James yesterday in memory of those who lost their lives on October 6, 1976.
Flight 455 was returning to Cuba, via Barbados and Jamaica, after the Pan American Games in Caracas, where the Cuban fencing team had just won gold medals.
Also on board were five North Koreans and 11 people from Guyana, including a girl aged nine.
Before the ceremonial laying of the wreaths, Ambassador Pena stressed that while Cuba’s calls for justice have gone unanswered, the tragic fate of his countrymen must be recorded and remembered for future generations to build on.
“We have to talk and to highlight these kind of acts because history has to be well known by our youth. If you lose your memory you will not be able to build your future and this is one of the lessons the Cuban people have learnt,” Pena explained.
“Our main message today is a better world is possible. We have to condemn these kind of acts,” he added.
Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sandra Husbands said Government was committed to combatting terrorism and transnational terrorist activity. She called for countries to pursue peace for future generations.
“When we gather here on an annual basis it is not out of routine or the obligation we feel but to ensure that this heinous act for which final justice is still pending remains in our consciousness. Our ongoing presence and participation in this solemn act also serves to remind us about the need to commit ourselves to the eventual elimination of these types of acts all together.
“As we pursue what is just, what is right and what is good, the future of our children and our world should be one of exemplary conduct, love of humanity and a world where peace security and mutual respect reign,” she said.