|Murdered, 2/24/96 in a conspiracy carried out by Castro regime and its spy network|
"So, with respect to sabotage, I mean, my understanding of the history, for example, of the plane being shot down, it’s not clear that that was the Cuban government purposely trying to undermine overtures by the Clinton administration. It was a tragic circumstance that ended up collapsing talks that had begun to take place. I haven't seen a historical record that suggests that they shot the plane down specifically in order to undermine overtures by the Clinton government."Mr. President the events surrounding the February 24, 1996 shoot down began weeks in advance with the dictatorship planning the shoot down and using his spy network to obtain information to advance the conspiracy. It is true that the shoot down was not meant to undermine overtures by the Clinton administration and although it paused the process by the end of 2000 President Clinton had shaken Fidel Castro's hand and a few months later opened cash and carry trade with the dictatorship. However it was not a "tragic circumstance" but a conspiracy to destroy Brothers to the Rescue while at the same time taking attention away from a crack down on a national gathering of the democratic opposition:
1) Radio communications between the MiG29 and the military base clearly show that the fighter planes were sent out before the Brothers to the Rescue aircraft arrived at the 24th parallel level, that they were searching for a specific target, and that they even decided not to attempt any warning maneuvers to make the shoot down easier for the Cuban MiG pilots.
2) The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights concluded the following:
From the circumstances surrounding the events of 24 February 1996, from the disproportionate and indiscriminate use of lethal force applied to the civilian aircraft, from the intensity of that force, and from the way in which the authorities at the Havana military control tower congratulated the MiG-29 pilots after they had carried out their orders, the Commission finds sufficient evidence that Carlos Costa, Pablo Morales, Mario De La Peña, and Armando Alejandre were arbitrarily or extrajudicially executed at the hands of agents of the Cuban State.  Consequently, the Cuban State is responsible for violating the right to life, as enshrined in Article I of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man.3) U.S. courts have also found the Castro regime guilty of premeditation in this shoot down.
4) A Cuban pilot saw Cuban MiGs rehearsing the shoot down six days before the attack.
- U.S. District Judge James Lawrence King found Cuba guilty in civil court of planning the shoot down before the actual attack, and noted that there had been ample time to issue warnings to the Brothers to the Rescue aircraft if these had been needed.
- A jury in criminal court presided by U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard found Miami-based Cuban spy Gerardo Hernandez guilty of conspiracy to commit murder because of his role in providing information to the Cuban government on the flight plans of Brothers to the Rescue.
- On August 21, 2003 a U.S. grand jury indicted the two fighter pilots and their commanding general on murder charges for the 1996 shoot down.
5) The FBI intercepted coded communications between the spies and the Castro regime. The portion of the coded intercept that attracted the most attention was written by Eduardo Delgado Rodriguez, a.k.a."MX," a Cuban general who headed the Interior Ministry's Directorate of Intelligence (DI).He had urgent instructions for Miami-based agents who had infiltrated Brothers to the Rescue not to fly on Brothers planes between Feb. 24 and Feb. 27 as they carried out "Operation Scorpion":
"MX instructs that under no circumstances should German nor Castor fly with Brothers to the Rescue or another organization on days 24, 25, 26 and 27, coinciding with celebration of Concilio Cubano [a planned national conference of dissident groups in Havana], in order to avoid any incident of provocation that they may carry out and our response to it."