09/23/13 - Miami Herald - 17 years after Cuba shootdown, Miami man seeks justice for brother
Seventeen years after Cuban MiG warplanes killed his brother and three
other South Florida men, Nelson Morales says he still wants to punish the
two people responsible.
âWe are still searching for justice, to prosecute the two principal
murderers, Fidel Castro and RaÃºl Castro,â said Morales, whose brother
Pablo died in the shootdown of two unarmed Brothers to the Rescue
So the Miami maintenance worker has filed a legal demand that U.S. federal
prosecutors submit evidence to a special grand jury in South Florida
showing the Castro brothersâ guilt in the 1996 shootdown.
âI donât know why they havenât done this before. I canât speculate. But it
is the right thing to do. Let the grand jury decide whether to indict the
Castros,â said lawyer Juan Zorrilla, who is handling the Morales suit.
Zorrilla filed the âwrit of mandamusâ â a request that a court compel a
government entity to take action on a public issue â on Julyâ1 demanding
that the U.S. attorneyâs office in Miami submit evidence âimplicating
Fidel and RaÃºl Castro in the murders.â
Prosecutors also should inform the special grand jury that it can pursue
an investigation on its own, force the U.S. attorneyâs office to produce
evidence implicating the Castros and request that federal charges be filed
against the brothers, the complaint added.
Assistant U.S. attorney Eduardo I. Sanchez filed a reply last week asking
U.S. District Court Judge Federico Moreno to throw out the demand because
Morales does not have the legal standing to file such a complaint.
Moralesâ complaint also failed to prove that he was personally harmed by
his brotherâs death, and showed that he had not exhausted all of the legal
avenues available to him for seeking redress, Sanchez added. Moreno has
Pablo Morales, Carlos Costa, Armando Alejandre and Mario de la PeÃ±a were
killed Feb.â24, 1996, when Cuban MiG fighters shot down two single-engine
Brothers to the Rescue (BTTR) airplanes. Their bodies were never
âThey killed him. They assassinated him. They pulverized him,â Nelson
Cuba had complained that BTTR airplanes had dropped anti-Castro leaflets
over Havana earlier in 1996, and that the two airplanes were shot down in
Cuban airspace. An investigation by the U.N.âs aviation branch concluded
that the planes were shot down far out in international airspace and in
violation of established procedures.
Federal prosecutors in Miami filed murder charges in August of 2003
against Gen. Ruben Martinez Puente, who was head of Cubaâs air defense in
1996, and brothers Lorenzo Alberto and Francisco PÃ©rez PÃ©rez, the pilots
of the two MiGs. But they did not indict either of the Castro brothers.
Zorrilla said he has been working for several years on the mandamus demand
with the backing of the Juridical Rescue Foundation headed by Santiago
Alvarez, a Miami developer and anti-Castro activist jailed for 30 months
on an illegal weapons charge.
Former U.S. Attorney Kendall B. Coffey first urged the federal prosecutors
to submit the evidence against the Castro brothers to a grand jury about
five years ago, Alvarez said.
âThey said, âWeâll get back to you,â and they never did. We realized that
the government was never going to facilitate this,â Alvarez said, adding
that there should be some legal way to seek redress. âIf not, this will be
a very large stain on American justice.â
Original Source / Fuente Original:
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