1996: A deadly weekend for US citizens over international waters



Thank you to all of my fellow contributors for remembering the terrible events of February 1996.   Let me add a couple of thoughts:

This incident was a low point in U.S.-Cuba relations.  The U.S.-registered aircraft were destroyed while looking for rafters in international waters.  Cuba had no reason to shoot down planes on a humanitarian mission.

Furthermore, Cuba has never taken responsibility for this lawless action.

Nevertheless, a U.S. flag now flies in Cuba, not far from where dissidents continue to be arrested.

And no one reminded President Obama that Cuba has never fulfilled the requirements that President Clinton and the U.S. Congress imposed after the shooting:

to work with Congress to pass the so-called Helms-Burton legislation which would tighten the existing U.S. embargo against Cuba.

The president said he would ask Congress to permit him to use some of the approximately $100 million in frozen Cuban assets in the U.S. to compensate the families of the four missing Cuban-American pilots and crew members.

Clinton also announced additional punitive measures, among them:

tighter restrictions on the movement of Cuban officials in the United States; efforts to increase funding to help the U.S. government’s Radio Marti overcome Cuba’s jamming of its broadcasts; suspension of all commercial charter flights between the U.S. and Cuba.


Yes, many of President Obama’s overtures toward Cuba violated what Congress passed in 1996.    Then again, did President Obama ever care about the law?

What happens when a hostile country shoots U.S. citizens on a humanitarian mission? I guess that you reestablish relations and don’t demand accountability.

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