Indict Raul Castro

Down in Florida, there is a lot of talk about indicting Raúl Castro.  Here is the story:

Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R., Fla.) are urging President Trump to direct the Justice Department to review whether to indict former Cuban President Raul Castro for the illegal shoot down in 1996 of two American civilian aircraft that killed three Americans and a U.S. legal resident.

Rubio and Diaz-Balart on Tuesday sent a letter to Trump commending him on his "expressions of solidarity with courageous pro-democracy activists" in Cuba and asking him "within all applicable rules and regulations" to direct the DOJ to look into the Cuban government’s alleged downing of the two U.S. aircraft in 1996 and determine whether to indict Castro.

"In the spirit of Cuban Independence Day, we urge to consider new additional actions to hold the Castro regime accountable for its crimes," Rubio and Diaz-Balart said in the letter, referring to the independence Cuba won from Spain on May 20, 1902.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

On the surface, it sounds like a good political tactic in an election year down in Florida.  There is also merit to the indictment.

Back in 1996. the Cuban government killed four Cuban-Americans (three were U.S. citizens).  Clearly, the Cuban MiG flew into international air space and shot down the aircraft.  Did the Cuban MiG pilot know he was outside Cuban airspace?  Who gave him the order to shoot down unarmed aircraft?  It would have made more sense to force the two Cessnas to touch down on Cuban soil and arrest the men.

Everything points to Raúl Castro, #2 at the time, as the man who made the decision.  It's hard to believe that such a decision would have been made by anybody else in the chain of command.  Yes, the same Raúl Castro whom President Obama did the wave with at a baseball game.

By the way, as a result of this shooting, Congress tightened up the U.S. embargo with the Helms-Burton Act (1996).

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Image: Presidencia de la República Mexicana via Flickr.

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