H.E. Ambassador Halim Majeed addresses the gahtering in Havana, Cuba on the event of the 40th Anniversary of the 1976 Terrorist Bombing of Cubana Flight CU-455. To the left is a Monument unveiled in remembrance of the 73 victims of this disaster.
On Wednesday, October 5, 2016, the Embassy of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana in Havana, Cuba, hosted a ceremony in memory of the 73 victims of the Terrorist Bombing of Cubana Flight CU 455.
The ceremony featured the reading of letters sent by two witnesses (courtesy of Ms. Margarita Alarcon) who saw Flight CU 455 fall from the sky off the coast of Barbados. The letter from Ms. Linda Balzan, who was then twenty-five years old, and was on holiday in Barbados with her daughter, Eileen, and her husband – all three of whom were on the beach at the time of the bombing – was read by. Ms. Lou Anne Burns Martinez, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belize to the Republic of Cuba.
The letter from Ms. Eileen Boruch-Balzan, who was six years old at the time, was read by Her Excellency, Ms. Verna Morris, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of St. Kitts and Nevis to the Republic of Cuba.
Statements were made by H. E. Mr. Halim Majeed, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana to the Republic of Cuba, who deemed the tragedy “the first act of aviation terrorism in the Hemisphere.” Ambassador Majeed’s brother-in-law, Mr. Seshnarine Kumar, who was 18 years old at the time, perished in the bombing.
Other Statements were made by H. E. Ms. Donna Forde, Head of Mission of the Embassy of Barbados in the Republic of Cuba; H. E. Mr. Pak Chang Yul, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea; Mr. Roberto Cesar Hamilton, Director for Latin America and the Caribbean of the Cuban Institute for the Friendship of the Peoples (ICAP).
Mr. Otto Marrero, former Senior Functionary of the Department of the Americas, of the Cuban Communist Party, reflected on the impact of that terrorist act on the countries affected.
The Feature Address on this occasion was delivered by H.E. Dr. Ricardo Alarcon de Quesada, former Permanent Representative of the Republic Cuba to the United Nations, President of the Cuban National Assembly and member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party. In his address Dr. Alarcon referred to regional context in which that terrorist act occurred and the efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Attending the event were a wide cross section of the Diplomatic Corps resident in Havana, high level representatives of MINREX, MINCEX, the Cuban Chamber of Commerce, the Communist Party of Cuba, the Institute of International Relations of the University of Havana, other Special Invitees and Dignitaries, and members of the media, among others.
The Chairman of the Proceedings was His Excellency, Dr. Lancelot Howie, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Trinidad and Tobago, to the Republic of Cuba.
The final act of the ceremony was the unveiling of a Monument in the compound of the Embassy with the names of the victims who perished that fateful day in October 1976.
The Monument was constructed by Cuban sculptor, Mr. Frank David Perez, and his Team.
Today, Ambassador Halim Majeed will attend a Special Ceremony, hosted by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba at the Lazaro Pena Theatre, in memory of the fallen victims.
Embassy of Guyana
October 6, 2016