PM reiterates pledge against terrorism as Guyana remembers Cubana air tragedy

DPI, Guyana, Saturday, October 6, 2018

As Guyana commemorates the 42nd Anniversary of the tragic loss of Guyanese, Cubans and Koreans who perished when two bombs exploded on a Cubana airline flight, Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo today reiterated his pledge against encouraging or condoning terrorism to settle differences or controversies.

The wreath laying ceremony for the victims was held today at the University of Guyana’s Turkeyen campus.

On October 6, 1976 a Cuban DC 8 passenger aircraft flight number CU-455 left Guyana for Trinidad, then on to Seawell International Airport in Barbados. From Barbados, the plane was scheduled to fly to Jamaica and then to its final destination in Havana, Cuba.

Minutes after the plane took-off from Barbados, a bomb located in the aircraft’s rear lavatories exploded.

All 73 passengers and crew on board perished. Among them were 57 Cubans, five Koreans and 11 Guyanese of whom six were students going to Cuba to study medicine and engineering. Among the Cubans who died were all 24 members of the 1975 Cuban national fencing team.

Prime Minister Nagamootoo said Guyana will forever remember the shock and horror of that day and will continue to collectively share the grief and loss over the massacre of the Guyanese patriots and citizens of the Republic of Cuba and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

He noted that this vicious act of terrorism was a studied policy that punished small states, including Guyana, for pursuing an independent path of development.

“Guyana has paid a heavy price in the loss of lives for dictating policies and goals… We felt that way because ten years after being freed from the shackles of three centuries of colonial bondage we felt that our own independence was under attack. The Cubana bombing brought us shared grief, it also strengthened our resolve not to severe our close bonds with our Cuban brothers and sisters. We must always remember them so as not to surrender to bullyism over sovereignty and unimpeded access to our national resources,” PM Nagamootoo explained.

Ambassador of Cuba, Narciso Renaldo Amador Socorro echoed similar sentiments, and reaffirmed that Cuba rejects all terrorist acts, methods and practices in all forms and manifestations.

He highlighted that in Cuba, October 6th has been adopted as the Day of Victims of State Terrorism, in perpetual remembrance to the more that 3,000 Cubans who lost their lives as a result of terrorist attack.
“Cubans not only condemn the criminals who committed this sabotage, but those who guaranteed to them provisions to carry out that crime…We are paying tribute to the members of the fencing team who were flying to Cuba dreaming about new challenges, to the Koreans who were part of a delegation making a tour and to our Guyanese who were travelling to Cuba to study.”

Ambassador Socorro urged that there be unity, among our peoples, to overcome aggressions and adversities. He added that the best way to pay tribute to the victims is to continue to work hard for the strengthening of relationships between our people.

Education Minister Nicolette Henry, Social Cohesion Minister, Dr. George Norton, Public Health Minister, Dr. karen Cummings, Citizenship Minister Winston Felix, and Labour Minister, Keith Scott along with Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr. Barton Scotland, Roraima Airways Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Captain Gerry Gouveia and other members of the Diplomatic Corps were also in attendance.

Ranetta Lafleur

Image: Keno George

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