Statement issued by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart on October 6, 2016, to mark the 40th Anniversary of the tragic explosion of Cubana Airlines flight CU 455, consequent to its departure from Barbados.
Forty years ago today, on October 6, 1976, Cubana Airlines flight CU 455 succumbed to a proven act of terrorism, with the loss of life of Cuban nationals, Guyanese nationals and nationals of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Terrorism in its modern form has been therefore known in the English-speaking Caribbean for at least 40 years and its impact still reverberates with us today.
The arrests in Trinidad and Tobago following the act and the trial in Venezuela, pointed directly to the perpetrators, who have never been punished in a manner consistent with their horrible crime.
The continuous calls for justice, voiced by the families of the victims and the countries from which they came, will not cease until all of the perpetrators have been brought to justice.
Although 40 years have passed, the sadness and outrage caused by the event continue to pervade our consciousness and to make us determined to denounce terrorism in all its forms, by whomsoever perpetrated. For us, there is no small act of terrorism or large act of terrorism.
Occurring as it did some four years after Barbados, together with three other CARICOM countries, had established formal diplomatic relations with the Republic of Cuba, this act of terrorism, though undoubtedly designed to create fear in us, in fact further strengthened our commitment to building lasting bilateral and regional relations with our sister country.
We are pleased that throughout that period, and up to the present, relations between Barbados and Cuba have been vibrant and have borne testimony to the fact that small nations can stand for honour and principle in an international context beset with obstacles and challenges, and can overcome the fears that acts of terrorism such as this one are meant to foster.
As we pause on this day to remember those Cuban, Guyanese and North Korean individuals, many of them teenagers, whose lives ended prematurely on October 6, 1976; as we remember their families, and the nations from which they came, let us continue our resolve to buttress the fraternal relationship between Barbados and the Republic of Cuba, and together, with like-minded nations and peoples, to fight the scourge of terrorism in all of its manifestations, whatever its source and wherever it occurs.
Prime Minister’s Office