On February 24, 1996, Mario Manuel de la Peña, age 24; Armando Alejandre, Vietnam War Veteran, age 45; Carlos Alberto Costa Pino, age 29 and Pablo Morales, age 29 were murdered when Cuban MIGs shot their small civilian airplanes over international waters.
They were flying in a group of three small Cessna airplanes on a humanitarian search and rescue mission for the non-profit organization “Brothers to the Rescue.”
Two occupants perished in each of the two aircraft destroyed; no remains were recovered.
Brothers to the Rescue flew thousands of volunteer missions to spot rafters at sea fleeing Cuba, notifying the U.S. Coast Guard of their location so they would be rescued.
The organization also took food, water and clothing to rafters held in detention centers in nearby countries.
The Cuban government’s actions were denounced by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Cuba and condemned by the International Civil Aviation Organization.
The families of the victims obtained a judgment in U.S. Superior Court against the Cuban government for premeditated murder.