Cuban Court Declares No-Show U.S. Government "in Default"

July 6, 1999 - 0:0
HAVANA A court here declared the United States "in default" Monday for failing to show up to answer Cuba's lawsuit that Washington has cost more than 5,000 Cuban lives over the past four decades. Judge Carlos Diaz of the Havana provincial court found that the complaint, which seeks 181 billion dollars in damages from the United States, was "justly placed" and had standing.

Four lawyers from eight Cuban organizations had planned to call witnesses and victims and file documentary evidence to support their case that the United States was responsible for the deaths of 3,478 Cubans and injuries to 2,099 others over the past 40 years. The hearing was held at Havana's main government center, the council of state building, which housed Supreme Court prior to the 1959 Communist Revolution. The suit, slams U.S. policy toward Cuba as "a brutal policy of hostility and aggression in all forms, aimed at destroying the Cuban revolution." It said the United States financed 299 groups of Cubans described as counterrevolutionary and also infiltrated 3,995 armed opponents of Fidel Castro's into the country, after breaking off diplomatic relations with Cuba in 1961. The suit also blamed the United States for the failed 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion by Cuban exiles seeking to overthrow Castro as well as numerous others anti-Cuban acts of alleged sabotage since the revolution.

It also detailed U.S. interference in Cuba shipping and air flights, citing the "hijacking" of planes, and accused Washington of waging chemical and germ warfare against Cuba. (AFP)