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Brothers to the Rescue

Cuba is 90 miles (145 km) south of the US State of Florida.

Brothers to the Rescue ([1] Brothers to the Rescue, Inc., was founded in May 1991 "after several pilots were touched by the death of" fifteen-year-old Gregorio Perez Ricardo,[2] who "fleeing Castro's Cuba on a raft, perished of severe dehydration in the hands of U.S. Coast Guard officers who were attempting to save his life.".[3]

The Cuban government accuses them of involvement in terrorist acts,[4][5] and infiltrated the group (see Juan Pablo Roque and the Wasp Network).

In 1996 two Brothers to the Rescue planes were shot down by the Cuban Air Force, leading to international condemnation.


  • Rafting missions 1
  • Juan Pablo Roque and the Wasp network 2
  • 1996 shootdown incident 3
  • See also 4
  • Notes 5
  • External links 6

Rafting missions

Sample political leaflet dropped by Brothers to the Rescue on Cuba in 1996.

In its early years, the group actively rescued rafters from Cuba and claims to have saved thousands of Cubans who were emigrating from the country.[1][6] Eventually, the group's focus shifted after changes in U.S. immigration policy meant that rafters would be sent back to Cuba. The group's founder has stated that after August 1995 it stopped seeing rafters in the water. Heavily dependent on funding for rafting activities, the group's funding rapidly dropped to $320,455 in 1995, down from $1.5 million the year before. As a result, the group focused more on civil disobedience against the Cuban government.[7] At least once, the group's founder dropped leaflets on Cuba.[6][8]

Juan Pablo Roque and the Wasp network

One of the group's pilots, Cuban Juan Pablo Roque, a former Major in the Cuban air force, unexpectedly left on February 23, 1996, the day before the two planes were shot down, and turned up in

  • Rosa M. Abella Collection, 1996-1997, an archival collection that contains clippings, other archival materials, and a bibliography, co-authored by Rosa M. Abella and Dolores Rovirosa, of sources that discuss the 1996 shootdown.
  • Inter-American Commission on Human Rights report on killings of Armando Alejandre Jr. (45 years old), Carlos Alberto Costa (29), Mario Manuel de la Peña (24), Pablo Morales (29)
  • Brothers to the Rescue Homepage
  • Shoot Down, a 2006 film about the shootdown, co-produced by the niece of one of the four victims.
  • KTOK Radio Interview on the Cuban Five and the shootdown of Brothers to the Rescue—aired on February 9 and 10, 2009, conducted by Radio Host, Reid Mullins.
  • BETRAYAL: Clinton, Castro & the Cuban Five, a 2009 book that brings together 13 years of intensive research into the events of the shootdown, co-authored by Matt Lawrence and Thomas Van Hare.
  • Carl Nagin, The New Yorker, January 26, 1998, Annals of Diplomacy - Backfire
  • Seagull One: The Amazing True Story of Brothers to the Rescue. Prellezo, Lily, and Basulto, Jose. University Press of Florida (September 26, 2010)

External links

  1. ^ a b Website of Brothers to the Rescue - Background and information
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Annex to the letter dated 29 October 2001 from the Permanent Representative of Cuba to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General. Summary of principal terrorist actions against Cuba (1990-2000). [1]
  5. ^ a b "The Cuban Downing of the Planes. The News We Haven't Been Hearing...." Article from Cuba Solidarity [2]
  6. ^ a b c
  7. ^
  8. ^ Court testimony from the Cuban spy trial, referred in The Miami Herald March 13, 2001 at "Basulto testifies". Latin American Studies.
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Report on the shooting down of two U.S.-registered private civil aircraft by Cuban military aircraft on 24 February 1996", C-WP/10441, June 20, 1996, United Nations Security Council document, S/1996/509, July 1, 1996.
  11. ^ "U.S. TIGHTENS SANCTIONS AGAINST CUBA AFTER DOWNING OF TWO EXILE PLANES OFF CUBAN COAST". In NotiSur - Latin American Political Affairs ISSN 1060-4189, Volume 6, Number 9 March 1, 1996 [3]


See also

On February 24, 1996, two of the Brothers to the Rescue Cessna Skymasters involved in releasing leaflets which fell on Cuban territory were shot down by a Cuban Air Force MiG-29UB. Killed in the shootdowns were pilots Carlos Costa, Armando Alejandre, Jr., Mario de la Peña, and Pablo Morales.

1996 shootdown incident

José Basulto agrees with US officials that Roque was a Cuban spy who, along with the Wasp Network, infiltrated Brothers to the Rescue.[6]

While in Miami, Roque had contacts with and was paid by the front" for those services, nor is it financed by them.[5][11]


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