It was an act of terror; there is no other way to describe it. The premeditated shoot down of four innocent American pilots flying over international waters on a humanitarian mission by Cuban MiGs was an intentional act of terror. On direct orders from dictators Fidel and Raul Castro, two private aircraft on a humanitarian mission flying over international waters were shot down with no warning shots and no attempts to avoid an international incident. This had nothing to do with the defense of Cuban airspace and everything to do with terror. On February 24, 1996, the Cuban military scrambled fighter jets with the singular mission of sending a message to the world by shooting down two civilian airplanes and murdering four innocent civilians.
Eighteen years later, there has been no justice for the victims of this terrorist act. For eighteen years now, their family members and friends have awakened every morning to the reality that the terrorists in Havana continue to rule and terrorize with impunity. For eighteen long years they have had to listen to Castro sycophants, “Cuba Experts,” and defenders of the Cuban dictatorship proclaim that the Castro regime is not a State Sponsor of Terror. And for eighteen long years we have all stood beside them to ensure that we never forget the bravery and sacrifice of Armando, Mario, Carlos, and Pedro, and that the world never forgets that Cuba’s dictatorship must one day face justice for this and its many other heinous acts of terror.
Below is a video simulation of what took place on that fateful February day in 1996. The audio you will hear are the actual Cuban MiG pilots on their radios first pleading for the authorization to shoot down these unarmed civilian planes, and then celebrating their kills with screams and vulgarities. It is a chilling soundtrack when you know four innocent humanitarians were plunging to their deaths as these animals celebrated over their radios.
A trailer from the movie documentary Shootdown: