Yesterday afternoon Val and I attended the march on Calle Ocho here in Miami commemorating the 15th anniversary of the Brothers to the Rescue shootdown and in support of freedom and liberty in Cuba. As expected, it was an emotional experience seeing thousands of people show up on a Thursday afternoon to show their support for the BTTR pilots and for all Cubans.
It is important that we always remember Pablo, Armando, Mario, and Carlos; the brave BTTR pilots who gave their lives while helping Cubans trying to escape the Castro slave plantation. The final judgment by Senior U.S. District Judge Lawrence King in the civil lawsuit against the Castro regime and the Cuban Air Force (FAR) says it all (H/T Capitol Hill Cubans):
The government of Cuba, on February 24th 1996, in outrageous contempt for international law and basic human rights, murdered four human beings in international airspace over the Florida Straits. The victims were Brothers to the Rescue pilots, flying two civilian unarmed planes on a routine humanitarian mission, searching for rafters in the waters between Cuba and the Florida Keys.
As the civilian planes flew over international waters, a Russian built MiG 29 of the Cuban Air Force, without warning, reason, or provocation blasted the defenseless planes out of the sky with sophisticated air-to-air missiles in two separate attacks. The pilots and their aircraft disintegrated in the mid-air explosions following the impact of the missiles. The destruction was so complete that the four bodies were never recovered.
The event went off without a hitch, and we were all treated to some passionate and inspiring speeches from Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Roberto Martin Perez, Winnie Biscet, as well as many others in our community. Below are a few of the pictures I was able to take at the event.
More pictures below the fold.