For the second time in 10 years, the US State Department has declassified the same “secret” document. Now, with fewer redactions and many fewer censored lines, the 1976 memorandum addressed to the secretary of state of that time, Henry Kissinger, says exactly the same thing: “The United States had no previous knowledge of the attack,” and Luis Posada Carriles figured among the suspects at that time.
The 12-page document has been public since 2005 but has resurfaced as a result of a perhaps political initiative motivated by the Office of the Historian of the State Department. It is a compilation of the data available two weeks after the destruction in mid-flight of a Cubana Aviation plane flying from Barbados to Havana on 6 October 1976. Seventy-three passengers died.
Signed by Harold H. Saunders, director of the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Investigations, and the deputy secretary of state for Interamerican Affairs, Harry W. Schaludeman, the memorandum reflected Washington’s concern and its desire to distance itself from an act it didn’t approve of. The two senior officials developed “a strategy to counteract the false accusations that involve the U.S.” in the attack, that Fidel Castro had launched soon after the tragedy.
“The CIA had had relationships in the past with three of the people allegedly implicated, but the participation of these people, if confirmed, would have been without the knowledge of the CIA,” the authors said. Above all, it they were concerned with the relationship with the Cuban Luis Posada Carriles, who had worked with Venezuelan and U.S. counterintelligence services. “It is hard for Fidel Castro to imagine that these people acted independently of the United States,” the officials emphasized.
It is noteworthy that the U.S. intelligence services offered no concrete information about the identity of those responsible for the attack. Instead, they note they are very concerned about “the danger for the United States represented by Cuban activists in exile.”