Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation

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Cubana air disaster remembered

October 7, 2021

Cuba’s Ambassador to Barbados, Sergio Jorge Pastrana, said the wreath laying ceremony on the 45th anniversary of the Cubana Airlines disaster serves as a memorial for those Cubans who came to Barbados to serve in various capacities.

He stated this on Wednesday while addressing the wreath-laying ceremony at the Paynes Bay Monument, in St. James, which was erected in honour of those who lost their lives in the tragedy.  

The Cuban Ambassador said the “act of criminal terrorism’ would be forever etched in the memories of many Barbadians, Guyanese, Cubans and others.

“It is startling to note that those flying that day were mostly young people in the prime of their lives… This is why that book that Ambassador Comissiong has just edited is such an important historical document to enlighten us about the history of aggression that continues against our colonial civilisations since the days of the slave trade and continues until now,” Mr. Pastrana contended.

He told the gathering that familial ties between Cuba and Barbados were further strengthened by the shared history and culture of the two countries.

Mr. Pastrana also referred to the group of Cuban specialist nurses and doctors of the Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade, who are committed to helping the island, as they work alongside local health authorities in the fight against COVID-19.

CARICOM Ambassador, David Comissiong, and Cuban Ambassador, Sergio Jorge Pastrana, lay wreaths at the base of the monument at Payne’s Bay, erected in honour of the lives lost in the Cubana air disaster 45 years ago. (B. Hinds/BGIS)

“They have come to this monument to pledge their commitment to the task they are here to accomplish, and to swear their personal involvement in the river of history that runs from the blood of those who came here in this world…,” he said.

Ambassador Pastrana pledged Cuba’s continued assistance to “its sisters and brothers in the Caribbean and all over the world, by sharing what we have, not what we do not need”.

He mentioned the Cuban vaccines to be shipped out shortly as evidence of his country’s developed capabilities, over the last six decades, to assist other countries.

“That is our will to continue honouring our fallen heroes and martyrs… Long live the eternal friendship between Cuba and the Caribbean,” he stated.

During the morning’s proceedings, there were addresses by CARICOM Ambassador David Comissiong and other friends of Cuba.  

There was poetry by Winston Farrell; author Sonia Williams read excerpts of a short story, and the Most Honourable Anthony “Mighty Gabby” Carter did a musical rendition.

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