Desde Dentro de Cuba.

Distribuido por Cuba Free Press, Inc. -

January 9, 1999.


HAVANA - A few months ago the Cuban authorities explained, somewhat incoherently, the strange events involving two American citizens who participated in the Playa-Girón or Bay-of-Pigs invasion of 1961. This is an attempt to analyze and, hopefully, clarify what lies beneath.

The matter pertains to Thomas William Ray and Frank Leo Parker, pilot and copilot of a U.S. B-26 shot down by Cuban anti-aircraft guns. The fliers were able to crash land and escape before the plane exploded.

The official version is that they were killed after resisting during the search-and-capture operation. The remains of William Ray were preserved for 18 years (from April 1961 until December 1979) by freezing in the Legal Medicine Institute in Havana.

>From 1977 to 1979, the U.S. government tried to arrange the return of the remains, providing identification data. The Cuban government at first said it would not accept the data, saying it was insufficient. Only in 1979 was the identification accepted as valid, corroborated by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) fingerprint information. Ray's body was returned home.

The Cuban information agency states that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) never claimed Ray as its own or that it ever operated in Cuba in spite of President John F. Kennedy's decision not to intervene in the struggle or offer U.S. government support after the invasion. The Cuban agency also said a "false association" was created from different sources which paid a pension to the pilot's widow and a subsidy to his children. The same source said no U.S. entity ever requested the body from Cuba.

The Cuban government, for humanitarian reasons, did cancel the expenses for preserving the body. Washington did not accept responsibility for the expenses, so it would have had to be paid by the deceased pilot's family.

The above is the essence of what was published in the government's newspaper, Granma, on May 25, 1998. This version of the events omits important facts necessary to understand ambiguous postures held for many years.

It is inexplicable that Ray's body was in Cuba for so many years, without Cuba's government having made arrangements to return it to its place of origin. Anthropological studies would hint that the body belonged to a foreigner, and probably an officer, since no military pilot ranks as a soldier. The plane caught fire before the eyes of the Cuban soldiers, and both the plane and the landing gear should have shed some light in identification.

The Cuban authorities said Ray and Paker left from a Nicaraguan base when the Playa de Girón invasion was already a failure and the area was not in the vortex of the combat any more.

The other "mercenaries" were either jailed for charges prior to 1959 or were exchanged for food and medicines as requested by the Cuban government. The tab received at White House was $53 million. It is strange that among the bodies returned to the United States, that of Ray was not included together with the bodies of other Cubans who had resided in the United States.

Simpler still, to return this body, using no-one's name would have been acceptable at the time without calling attention to this body being identified 18 years later.

Meanwhile, Leo Parker's only mention in Cuba's government newspaper, Granma, is that he was killed almost simultaneously with Ray.

The question is, if Parker was a CIA member, what happened to his body? Did the U.S. ever claim him? Are his unburied bones lying on the plains of Matanzas province? Or is he still in a freezer awaiting a favorable political occasion for his return?

Or, if Parker was sent to the United States, why was Ray not taken? If Parker's body is still in Cuba, which is improbable, where is it and why is it there? What is the sense in having a foreigner's body for such a long time, no matter what may have been the circumstances? And why the silence about this episode when Castro's government uses less transcendent events to blame the United States, such as the appearance of killer bees?

Why would Ray and Paker resist? As they could not escape the Militia's siege, their death sentence was apparently set. Yet the Cuban agency states that the instructions given were that in the event of being captured they were to declare that they had been contracted by Cuban anti-Castro organizations. How did Cuba have that information?

Why did Cuba delay the return of the body two more years, alleging insufficient proof of identification, while it was being claimed through the U.S. Interests Section in Havana that the daughter of the dead man was requesting the body, as were two U.S. senators, the FBI and the State Department? Why after 19 years of having returned the body, has the smokescreen closed again, leaving no visible zones once more?

These questions suggest how offensive it is for a reader to have his or her intelligence and analyzing capacity undervalued.

To lie is not only to distort reality. It is also to withhold information with the apparent intent to weaken the thinking processes of those seeking to make a true judgment.

Having written the above, there is no doubt here that some information is still missing in the Ray case.

Rey Terré Ghost, Cuba Free Press.

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