Guyana observes 44th anniversary of Cubana Air disaster
It has been 44 years since 73 persons died in what is commonly referred to as the Cubana Air Disaster when Cubana de Aviación flight 455 from Barbados to Jamaica was brought down on October 6, 1976, by a terrorist bomb attack.
Eleven Guyanese were killed. On Tuesday, Guyana observed the event in ceremonial style with the laying of wreaths.
There were no speeches at the event which was held at the Cubana Air Disaster Monument in the compound of the University of Guyana.
A minute of silence was observed and then there was the reveille, a trumpet call done by ranks of the Guyana Defence Force.
President Irfaan Ali laid a wreath on behalf of the Guyanese people while Minister of Culture Youth and Sport Charles Ramson Jr. laid a wreath on behalf of the People of Korea.
Cuban Ambassador to Guyana Narciso Reinaldo Amador Socorro laid a wreath on behalf of the People of Cuba, Honorary Consul to Barbados Gerald Gouveia laid a wreath on behalf of the Barbados and Jerry Thomas, a relative of the deceased, laid the final wreath on behalf of the families of the victims.
In an invited comment after the ceremonial activity, Ramson said it was a dastardly act against humanity.
“We cannot ever countenance a situation where people are terrorized because of their choices or ideology or positions. What happened in 1976 was a terrorist act, Guyanese lost their lives, our young people died as a result of a terrorist act… the principle is that we have to remember occasions like this so we can promote the idea of peace.”
Simultaneously with the attack on the Cubana de Aviación flight, the office of the Trinidad Airline was also bombed and a “mysterious” fire in Guyana destroyed a large quantity of fishing equipment supplied by Cuba.
These were preceded by the bombing of the Guyana Consulate in Trinidad and Tobago.
Later, they were claimed by “El Condor”, an anti-Castro exile group, which waged war against Caribbean countries that had maintained strong ties with Cuba.
On December 8, 1972, Guyana established diplomatic relations with Cuba. Today, that relationship spans a variety of areas including trade, health, agriculture and education.