Letter to President Obama by the Committee of Families of the Victims of the Cubana airliner blown-up off the coasts of Barbados

Havana, Cuba, October, 2010

Mr. Barack Obama

President of the United States of America

Mr. President,

The members of the Committee of Families of the Victims of the Cubana airliner blown-up off the coasts of Barbados, a commercial flight sabotaged in 1976 that exploded in-flight taking the lives of the 73 people on board, 57 of them Cuban, are appealing to you today because the mastermind of that crime, Luis Posada Carriles, is living in the United States where the legal authorities are reluctant to try him as the terrorist he is.

Meanwhile, Posada Carriles, the man who ordered the execution of such a horrendous violent crime, has made public statements to the media in your country where in complete disregard of life, of the US legal system and of an elementary sense of humanity he has boasted about that action, which set a precedent becoming the first terrorist action on civil aviation in the Western Hemisphere.

We had the opportunity to read your sincere and heartfelt message, of last September 11, to the American people where you said: “…we mourn today with the families of the dead. We grieve for husbands and wives, children and parents, friends and loved ones. We think of those nine years that have now passed, –of births and baptisms, weddings and graduations– where there was always an empty seat.”

That same day, at the monument built in the gardens of the Pentagon, you said referring to the victims of the terrorist actions: “…They were white and black and brown –men and women and some children made up of all races… And they were snatched from us senselessly and much too soon…”

Mr. President, the seats of our loved ones in the transcendental moments of our lives, –”births and baptisms, weddings and graduations”– have been empty for more than 34 years. Our relatives were senselessly deprived of their lives; they had a future to build and dreams to pursue but their lives and their dreams were shattered.

Last July 7, Salvadoran citizen Francisco Antonio Chávez Abarca arrived in Cuba. This man, extradited to Cuba by the authorities of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, was the self-confessed perpetrator of terrorist actions in our country consisting in the blasting of tourist facilities. He is also responsible for recruiting Central American terrorists whose mission it was to carry out terrorist actions in Cuba. Chávez Abarca has admitted that it was Posada Carriles, in connivance with the Cuban American National Foundation, who provided them with the means, the instruction and the funds to ensure the implementation of the criminal actions that took the life of an Italian citizen: Fabio Di Celmo.

On the other hand, Mr. President, while these self-confessed terrorists live with impunity in the United States, five Cuban youths, whose mission it was to prevent the perpetration of terrorist actions in Cuba –and in the United States-against civilian aircraft and other targets, have already served twelve years of unjust and cruel incarceration in American prison centers.  The possibility to put an end to such an injustice and to pardon these men who have become a symbol of the fight on terrorism and of the loftiest values cherished by human beings is in your hands.

You have received the Nobel Peace Prize; may your actions bring peace to the souls of the noble families of Cubans whose loved ones were massacred.

We request from you that, on the basis of the proofs brought against terrorist Posada Carriles, the US authorities put on trial and condemn this murderer and that all the weight of the law is brought to bear on the true culprit of so many crimes against our people and other sister nations. If your government is not prepared to take Posada Carriles to court as a terrorist, please allow his extradition to Venezuela, a country that has every right to bring charges against him as a fugitive of that country’s legal system.

Mindful of Martin Luther King, Jr, a distinguished son of the American people, who in 1963 said “I have a dream”, we, the relatives of the victims of the Barbados Crime also have a dream: We dream of the day when justice is served and the authors of such an abominable terrorist action pay for their crimes. That day, the dreams of all humanity will be spared the nightmare of living in a world where terrorist actions go unpunished.

We demand justice!

Committee of Families of the Victims of the Cubana airliner blown-up off the coasts of Barbados

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