Another Anniversary of Hermanos Al Rescate, Still no Justice
19 Years Since the Shoot down of the “Brothers to the Rescue” Planes
(Washington, D.C.) Today marks the sad anniversary of the shooting down of two unarmed civilian aircraft piloted by members of “Brothers to the Rescue” (Hermanos al Rescate). Nineteen years ago today, the Cuban Air Force shot down two Cessna Skymasters that the International Civil Aviation Organization reported were flying outside Cuban territorial airspace, killing pilots Carlos Costa, Armando Alejandre, Jr, Mario de la Peña and Pablo Morales.
To date, there has been no accountability for the deaths of these four pilots, despite U.S. indictments for those involved. One of the members of the convicted spy group known as the Cuban Five (or Miami Five) was also convicted of conspiracy to commit murder for the shooting down of the two planes and the deaths of the pilots. Nevertheless, as part as the new negotiations initiated by the U.S. government and the Cuban regime, all remaining members of this group were unconditionally released by the U.S. government and are now back in Cuba.
Jorge Lima, Policy Director of The LIBRE Initiative, released the following statement
“Year after year, political prisoners, Cuban dissidents, refugees and others have been recognizing this awful anniversary, and still justice is denied for the four pilots killed while engaged in searching for and aiding Cuban refugees in the Straits of Florida.Today, the U.S. government is proceeding to normalize trade and diplomatic relations with Cuba, without settlement of the claims from that day. Meanwhile, the lawless Castro dictatorship – which killed these advocates for freedom – is winning the legitimacy it has long been denied due to heinous acts like the one we remember today.
The LIBRE Initiative stands with those who continue to call for democracy, human rights and liberty for all Cubans; as well as those who – 19 years after these tragic incidents – are still asking for justice for the four pilots from Brothers to the Rescue.”