Remembering and honoring Armando Alejandre Jr. , Carlos Alberto Costa, Mario Manuel de la Pena, and Pablo Morales.
Family members, students and members of the university community held a silent vigil for justice for the four victims of the February 24, 1996 shoot down.The vigil took place at the main fountain at Florida International Universitylocated between the Charles E. Perry Bldg. and the Green Library on February 26, Monday from 3:21pm to 3:27pm the times both planes were shot down. Family members and students began to gather at 3:15pm.
2018 marks 22 years since Fidel and Raul Castro ordered Cuban MiGs to shoot down two Brothers to theRescue planes that at the time were in international airspace killing Armando Alejandre Jr. (45 years old), Carlos Alberto Costa (29), Mario Manuel de la Peña (24), and Pablo Morales (29). A thorough international investigation carried out by the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights on the merits made public in 1999 concluded: that the Castro regime was legally responsible for their murders and for the lack of justice.
Successful civil lawsuits have been brought against the Castro regime by the families of thevictims, but criminal prosecutions of those responsible, save one case, have not been carried out. On December 12, 2001 Gerardo Hernandez, a Cuban spy ,was sentenced to life in prison for conspiracy to commit murder for his role in providing information that led to theBrothers to the Rescue shoot down. Unfortunately, President Barack Obama on December 17, 2014 commuted his life sentence and returned Mr. Hernandez to Cuba. Families have expressed feeling misled by the United States government.
Among the attendees today was Regis Iglesias Ramirez, spokesman of the Christian Liberation Movement and former prisoner of conscience, who paid his respects to the victims and their family members.
On Saturday, February 24, 2018 in Cuba several opposition activists were detained while attempting to pay homage to the victims of the 1996 Brothers to the Rescue shoot down.