The 11 Guyanese who were among 73 passengers and crew members killed after two bombs exploded on a Cubana Airline flight off the coast of Barbados back in 1976 were remembered on Saturday during a commemorative ceremony to mark the 42nd anniversary of the Cubana Air Tragedy.The ceremony was held at the Cubana Air Tragedy Monument Site in the University of Guyana’s Turkeyen Campus.In remarks, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo recounted the rage and anger which spewed when the tragedy occurred, noting that the attack sought to punish small states for pursuing an independent path towards development.“Guyana has paid a heavy price in the loss of precious lives for dictating its own policies and goals, together with other small Caribbean States, towards a sister Caribbean nation. The Cubana terrorist bombing brought us shared grief, and it also strengthened our resolve not to severe our close bond with our brothers and sisters,” Nagamootoo said.Cuban Ambassador Narciso Reinaldo Amador Socorro, in paying tribute to the 73 victims, called out the intellectual authors behind the heinous attack for giving refuge to the perpetrators.“Cuba rejects all terrorist acts, methods and practices in all their forms and manifestations, by whoever against whoever, wherever they’re committed and whatever their motivation [is], including those in which there are governments directly or indirectly involved,” asserted the Cuban diplomat.He continued, “As it happens, in this dreadful crime in which the perpetrator was supported and protected by some states, Cuba not only condemns the people who committed this sabotage, but those who guarantee to them permission to carry out the crime, and those who are still providing protection and impunity to them as well.”Ambassador Socorro further urged that there be unity to overcome aggressions and adversities. He added that the best way to pay tribute to the victims is to continue to work hard for the strengthening of relationships between our people.On October 6, 1976, the Cubana Airline flight 455 left Guyana en route to Cuba with stops along the way in Trinidad, Barbados and Jamaica respectively.However, shortly after leaving the Barbados airport, there was an explosion in the aircraft’s rear, and upon realising that they could not make it back to the airport for an emergency landing, the pilot, Captain Wilfredo Perez, steered the plane towards the Atlantic Ocean, avoiding the tourist-packed Paradise Beach. Another bomb went off in the aircraft before it crashed, killing all 73 passengers and crew members on board.The Guyanese killed included: Seshnarine Kumar, 18; Ann Nelson, 18; Eric Norton, 18; Rawle Thomas, 18; and Jacqueline Williams, 19, all students on their way to study medicine and engineering in Cuba. Others who perished were relatives Violet and Rita Thomas, nine-year-old Sabrina Harrypaul, Margaret Bradshaw, Raymond Persaud, and economist Gordon Sobha.Among the other victims were five Koreans and 57 Cubans, including 24 members of the 1975 Cuban national fencing team, who were returning home after winning gold medals at the Central American and Caribbean Championship games.Investigations had revealed that CIA-linked anti-Castro Cuban exiles conspired with members of the Venezuela Secret Police to bomb the Cuban aircraft in protest of Castro’s dictatorial policies in Cuba.Four men who had joined the plane in Trinidad and disembarked the aircraft in Barbados were subsequently arrested and tried in Venezuela in connection with the bombing and murder of 73 persons.Two of them were sentenced to 20 years in prison, another was acquitted and subsequently moved to the United States, while the other escaped from Venezuela and fled to the United States.