Saturday’s incident, north of Sama Bay, 20 miles off the Cuban coast, cannot be something casual. It is another of a series of events: the episodes at the Peruvian Embassy, the incident at the Yankee interests section and the monstrous attempt to murder 570 Cuban children in the day care centre. ‘Le Van Tam.’ It has been possible to ascertain with accuracy now that a Bahamian patrol boat attacked, shooting at them without previous warning, the Cuban Ferrocem fishing boats number 165 and 54 which were in international waters completely unarmed. It furthermore boarded them afterwards and towed them away. This had never happened before. There, have been of course many pirate attacks in that area, but never an attack of this type by a Bahamian patrol boat.
The CIA’s hand cannot be alien and must certainly be behind this. In other occasions, Cuban fishing boats have been captured by vessels of the Bahamian government with the pretext that they were fishing in waters which, as a matter of fact, are very close, according to the maps, to those of Cuba. The waters of each of the two countries have not been delimited with precision yet. The Cuban government always accepted every claim from the Bahamas and settled with respect and friendship each problem. What cannot really be explained is that two Cuban fishing vessels were criminally attacked in international waters by a patrol boat from the Bahamas, thus creating the appearances of a pirate attack, which is what caused the incident.
Do not blame the Government of the Bahamas. The CIA works through agents. In the Bahamas, complete mafias of Yankee gangsters, which monopolize smuggling, gambling and drugs operate. The Government of the Bahamas itself is a victim of the actions of these elements. With regards to Cuba that government has not had an unfriendly policy and we are certain that it has also wished to develop good relations with our country.
Yesterday, on Monday, a delegation led by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cuba, Pelgrin Torras, and the Cuban Ambassador to the Bahamas, Raul Roa Kouri, travelled to that country, to hold discussions with the authorities and clarify matters.
Our delegation spoke with the eight Cuban fishermen who are in Nassau. They explained in detail the events. In our opinion, all the responsibility falls in the illegal, improper and unjust action of the patrol boat from the Bahamas…The CIA’s hand can not be alien and must certainly be behind this.”
Finally they apologized and offered compensation for the loss of the four men and thepatrol vessel. In the end, $100,000.00 was given to each of the four families and $5 million was given as reparation for the ship and her supplies. In offering a completely comprehensive account, it may be of interest for readers to know identifies of the two MIG jet fighter pilots as Colonel Jorge Vilardel Ganzalez and Major Juan Colina Verasategui.
Colonel Jorge Vilardel Gonzalez
Making Sense of it All
It is also interesting to note that the Cubans were found in possession of licenses ssued by their government conclusively authorizing them to fish in Zone 129, which happens to be in Bahamian waters. The Bahamas began in earnest defending its territory in the early 1970s and the boats of the Cubans had been arrested many times, so they were quite aware that this move was illegal and would be contested.
In actuality, records for arrests of Cuban poachers and boats date back to 16 July 1971, when the Cuban vessel Omicron (Registration number: F499/L.3-632203Z4-1) was arrested in the area of Johnson Cay Cut in the Ragged Island Chain. Six fishermen were found onboard and charged and convicted in Bahamian courts for poaching.
Records reveal that two of the eight men who had been arrested on 10 May 1980 onboard the Ferrocem 165 and Ferrocem 54 had similar names to two men who had also been arrested on 20 August 1971 on a boat called the 2 Deciembre by Police Marines. There are numerous files about the arrests, charging and conviction of these and other Cuban poachers who had been found illegally fishing in The Bahamas, especially in the Ragged Island chain. There had been no argument from Cuban authorities in any of the cases.
There had been one instance on 19 December 1975, according to Police files, where Cuban military presence was seen, though. The Police patrol boats Acklins and Andros had arrested five Cuban vessels nearly a mile off Cay Verde, one of the Cays in the Ragged Island chain. The vessels: Ferrocem 77 (Registration number: C27D150), Ferrocem 42 (Registration Number: C27D147), Ferrocem 54, Ferrocem 120 and Escamero No. 96, were found with large quantities of marine produce and fishing gear onboard.
Navigating some 8-10 miles past Cay Verde, a Cuban fighter jet, N-21 circled over the two vessels, Acklins and Andros, at an approximate altitude of 200 feet. Shortly after this, a DC-3 Coast Guard plane with the words FUERZA AEREA REVOLUCIONARIA CUBANA, bearing «No.-12-55? circled Andros and Acklins four times. This last aircraft flew at about 100-130 feet above the patrol boats. The five boats were taken safely to New Providence and the men charged and convicted for poaching. Fortunately, no direct attacks took place during this instance. However, it was pejorative for the Cubans in the May 10 Incident Court Case. Evidence also showed that the Ferrocem 54 did not stop when ordered to do so in 1975, just as she refused to stop when similarly challenged in May 1980.