A Message the U.S. President Should Take to Cuba: No to Impunity
March 01, 2016
“See you in Havana!” With those glib words, President Obama announced on February 18th that he and the First Lady will travel to Cuba this coming March 21st. But, when the leader of the world’s most shining democracy makes his official visit to the island ruled by a criminal military dictatorship, he should take seriously fundamental values of our great nation. At the very least, he should remember the 26 U.S. citizens killed by the Castro regime and the 13 others who died serving freedom in operations against Cuban Communism. The U.S. government has a responsibility to demand truth and justice for them and to require the repatriation of those remains still in Cuba.
Cuba Archive has documented 39 cases of U.S. citizens killed by the Cuban Communist regime or countering it: 8 executions by firing squad without due process of law, 11 extrajudicial assassinations, 1 politically-induced suicide, 5 killed in terrorist attacks sponsored by Cuba, 1 forced disappearance, and 13 killed/disappeared in operations to counter Cuba.
For case details and photographs click here.
Below is a sample of three case summaries:
Earl Glenn Cobeil, Age 36. Extrajudicial assassination (war crime), November 5, 1970, Hoa Lo prison, North Vietnam. U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel and P.O.W. from Pontiac, Michigan, who had been taken prisoner in 1967 when his jet was shot down over North Vietnam. Transferred to Hoa Lo Prison (“The Zoo”), he was subjected to “The Cuban Program,” a vicious experimental domination technique of physical and psychological torture led by Cuban security agents and tested on 18 U.S. POWs held at Hoa Lo during 1967 and 1968. After weeks of beatings, unrelenting psychological torture, electroshocks, and solitary confinement, Cobeil’s physical and mental condition deteriorated progressively until he went into a coma and died in his cell. He left behind a wife and two children.
Frank Thomas Connor, Age 33. Killed in a terrorist bombing attack, January 24, 1975 in New York City, with Harold Sherburne, age 66, Alejandro Berger, age 28, and James Gezork, age 32. The four (bankers or business executives) were having lunch with clients or colleagues in the historic restaurant Fraunces Tavern of Lower Manhattan when a bomb exploded. The Cuba-sponsored Puerto Rican nationalist terrorist group FALN (Frente Armado de Liberación Nacional) took credit for the bombing, but the perpetrators were not captured. In 1978, FALN bombmaker Guillermo “William” Morales accidentally set off a pipe bomb he was building, suffering injuries. Although no firm evidence could be found proving his link to the Fraunces Tavern attack, he was sentenced to 89 years of prison for possession of explosive. He escaped the following year from a hospital prison ward and fled to Cuba, where he is believed to be enjoying safe haven from U.S. justice. Connor left a wife and two sons, ages 11 and 9.
Robert Otis Fuller, Age 25. Executed by firing squad, October 16, 1960, San Juan Hill shooting practice field, Santiago de Cuba. Former U.S. Marine officer, veteran of the Korean War and resident of Coral Gables, Florida, executed with fellow Americans Anthony Zarba and Allen Thompson. They had landed on October 1960 in Oriente province to help the anti-Castro insurgency, but were soon captured. A Revolutionary Tribunal sentenced them to death (with seven Cubans) in a summary trial lasting only 20 minutes. The appeal lasted 20 minutes and the execution was carried out that same day. Fuller’s blood -- and probably that of the other men -- was drained before the execution, as Cuba was selling blood in the world market, a practice it continues to this day.