ECON: Why Cuba suffers

Erik Moeller (
Wed, 14 May 1997 23:51:10 +0200

9 May 1997

> Date: Thu, 8 May 1997 19:50:46 -0700 (PDT)
> From: Cuban American National Alliance <>
> Subject: U.S. Biological Warfare Against Cuba




29 APRIL 1997

Fifty-second session
Item 80 of the preliminary list:
Note verbale dated 28 April 1997 from the Permanent Mission
of Cuba to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-
The Permanent Mission of Cuba to the United Nations presents
its compliments to the Secretary-General and, with regard to
item 80 of the preliminary list, has the honour to convey
hereby a report on the appearance in Cuba of the Thrips
palmi plague (see annex).
In this respect, the Permanent Mission of Cuba to the United
Nations, following instructions from its Government, kindly
requests that the present letter and the attached report be
circulated to all Member States as an official document of
the General Assembly.

Information about the appearance in Cuba of the Thrips palmi
I.- Description of the facts.
1-On 21 October 1996, at 10.08 hours, crew members of
scheduled flight CU- 170 of Cubana de Aviacion (Cuban
Airlines), on board a Fokker-27 aircraft, flying region
of Cuba, noticed a single-engine airplane flying from
north to south, at about 1, 000 feet (300 metres) above
them, apparently spraying or sprinkling unknown
substances - some seven times - in an intermittent
2-At that very moment, Cubana de Aviacion Fokker aircraft
was located 25 to 30 kilo metres south of Varadero, in
Matanzas Province., flying at an altitude of 9, 000 feet
and at a speed of 400 kilo metres per hour.
3-According to scheduled flights, objective radar control
and recordings of radio conversations between the
airplanes and ground control when the south in a course
perpendicular to the Cubana de Aviacion flight was a
fumigation aircraft Model SAR, register N3093M, of the
civilian aircraft registry of the United States of
America, operated by the State Department of that
country, as stated in the flight authorization requested
to the Institute registry of civilian aircraft . The
above-mentioned airplane had taken off from Patrick
United States Air Force Base, in Cocoa Beach in the state
of Florida, bound for Grand Cayman.
4-The Cubana pilot immediately reported to flight control
on the release of unknown substances, in the form of a
white or greyish mist, by the SAR airplane. The Cuban air
controller established communication with the United
States aircraft and asked whether it was having any
technical problem, to which the pilot's answer was "NO".
He was also asked about the type of aircraft he was
flying, answering that it was a single-engine AY-65. That
conversation is recorded on tape.
5-On 18 December 1996, the first signs of the presence of a
Thrips plague appeared in Matanzas Province, at potato
plantations of the Diamant variety, sowed 38 days before
on the "Lenin" State Horticultural Farm in Javelins
Municipality. Samples of these organism were sent to the
Central Quarantine Laboratory of the National Pest
Control Center.
6-On 26 December 1996, the Cuban ministry of Foreign
Affairs presented a note of complaint to the United
States Interest Section in Havana regarding the incident
that had occurred in the Giron corridor, urging the
United States party to take appropriate measures aimed at
the clarification of the event.
7-On 12 February 1997, the United States Interest Section
in Havana handed over to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
of Cuba a reply to that note, stating that on the day of
the incident, the United states pilot had, during his
flight, seen a Cuban commercial airplane flying below,
and as he was nor certain of having seen, "following
caution and safety procedures, and with the purpose of
securing a positive visual contact, the pilot used the
"smoke generator" of his aircraft, in order to indicate
its location" adding that "the smoke vanished and no
fluid was poured from the airplane".
8-On 14 February 1997, the Central Quarantine Laboratory
confirmed that the insect examined was the Thrips palmi
karay, exotic to Cuban territory until that moment.
9-The Thrips palmi is indigenous to Asia. Since 1985 it has
scattered across certain Caribbean zones, including
Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica. It is a
polyphagous phytophagan that infects practically all
crops, weeds and ornamental plants. It is reported to be
a vector of viruses such as that known as TSWV. It is an
insect of difficult diagnosis, unknown to the majority of
Cuban specialists. It is self-propagated within a field,
and into neighbouring ones, disseminating mostly when
seedlings, fruits and vegetal material, including
topsoils, are moved from one place to another. It also
scatters by aerial means, particularly its larvae. It is
resistant to temperature changes. Its reproductive cycle
lasts between 15 and 21 days, depending on the host
10- Taking into the levels of highest density of the
insect population, it could be ascertained that the
primary source of the outbreak was located on the above-
mentioned "Lenin" State Horticultural Farm. Smaller
outbreaks were pinpointed in fields close to the villages
of Maximo Gomez and Bolondron, also in Matanzas Province,
a few kilo metres away from the main source.
11- In the first half of January 1997, outbreaks of the
same insect were spotted in municipalities south of
Havana Province, bordering Matanzas, affecting corn,
beans, pumpkins, cucumbers and other crops.
12- Once the insect was identified, the Government of
Cuba adopted a programme of emergency measures to fight
it, including chemical control, through the purchase of
pesticides, which in spite of its high cost, have not
achieved effective results.
13- At the end of March 1997, The Government of Cuba,
complying with international regulations, informed the
Secretary-General and the United Nations Center for
Disarmament, about the presence of Thrips palmi karay in
its territory, and notified this finding to the Food and
Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to
which Cuba applied for technical and financial assistance
to fight the pest.
14- At present, Thrips palmi is spread virtually
throughout Matanzas and La Habana Provinces, in two
municipalities of Cienfuegos Province, in some
municipalities of Pinar del Rio Province and in the
Island of Youth. Its presence has not been detected in
the central and eastern provinces of the country.

15- The SAR aircraft, register N3093M, is used by the
State Department of the United States in the struggle
against drug trafficking, to destroy crops. The aircraft
utilizes two sprinkling systems: one for the use of
aerosols and liquid particles and another for dropping
solid particles. No smoke generator is known to be
installed aboard this aircraft.
16- The specialists appointed by the Cuban party to
clarify the event considered unlikely a voluntary or
involuntary leakage of fuel or oil, which is confirmed by
the answer given by the United States airplane pilot
himself to the Cuban air controller.
17- The argument used by the United States party in its
note of reply regarding the smoke release, appears, from
the technical point of view, weak and in contradiction
with the conversation held during the flight. On the
other hand it is not a standard procedure established for
this kind of situation. The pilot of the Cuban Airline
Fokker asserts on the basis of his visual observation and
his previous experience as a pilot of fumigation
airplane, that the release made by the United states
aircraft was not of smoke but of a substance.
18- Bearing in mind the place where the unknown
substance was released, it can be established that the
most risky area for infection is a zone covering 15 to 20
kilometres to the west and 20 to 25 kilometres to the
east of the Giron air corridor, although the whole
territory of Mananas Province is considered a probable
infected zone. These zones match those actually infected
both by the primary and secondary outbreaks.
19- Considering the insect population found on 18
December 1996, at the main source of the outbreak,
specialists of the Cuban National Pest Control Centre
estimated the beginning of the plague to date back to
three or four previous generations. Bearing in mind the
reproductive cycle of this insect, the beginning of the
infection can be ascertained as approximately 21 October
1996, which was precisely the date when the United States
S2R aircraft flew over this point.
20- Mindful of the distribution of the agent in
countries like Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica,
it would be expected that any natural occurrence would be
in the eastern region of Cuban territory, the closest to
those countries. Its appearance mora than 600 kilometres
away from region is, therefore, odd and suspicious.
21- Although at first sight it could be expected that
the height of the flight of the S2R aircraft is not the
most appropriate for the dissemination of biological
agents, information is available regarding experiments
made by North Americans themselves in which that type of
agent was dropped from even higher altitudes. On the
other hand, the enduring features of the insect, mainly
in its larva state, make its survival possible at these
22- Because of its nature of being a polyphagous
phycophagan that strikes and severely damages practically
every crop, and is also resistant to a considerable
variety of pesticides, the Thrips palmi can be considered
ideal biological agents able to inflict heavy damage on
agricultural food crops. In a document entitled "Report
of the Subgroup for Investigation of Claims of Use or
Escape of Agents which Constitute Biological or Toxin
Weapons", of 29 February 1996, prepared by the Federation
of American Scientists, Thrips palmi are included among
the invertebrate that could come within the purview of
the Convention on Biological Weapons.
23- In this particular case, the behavior of the plague
in Cuba shows a polyphagia bigger than the one described
in the scientific literature.

24- The analysis of the facts and the results of the
investigations allow us to relate, with a high degree of
accuracy, the appearance of Thrips palmi in Mananas
Province with the dropping, on 21 October 1996, of an
unknown substance by an aircraft operated by the United
States Department.
25- There is reliable evidence that Cuba has once again
been the target of biological aggression.
Alianza Nacional Cubano-Americana
P.O. Box 293
Carlsbad, NM 88221-0293
t/f (505) 885-0637

Tim McDowell
Department of Botany
Box 90339
Duke University
Durham, N.C. 27708

Phone (919) 660-7317
Fax: (919) 660-7372


Forwarded article from (Tim McDowell) posted for
discussion; may not contain poster's views.