Text of the Cuban report given to the UN secretary-general
On 21 October 1996, at 10:08 hours, crew members of scheduled flight CU-170 of Cubana de Aviación (Cubana Airlines), on board a Fokker-27 aircraft, flying the Havana-Las Tunas route, upon crossing the Girón air corridor in the western region of Cuba, noticed a single-engine airplane flying from north to south, at about 1000 feet (300 meters) above them, apparently spraying or sprinkling unknown substances – some seven times – in an intermittent manner.
At that very moment, the Cubana de Aviación Fokker aircraft was located 25 to 30 kilometers south of Varadero, in Matanzas province, flying at an altitude of 9000 feet and at a speed of 400 kilometers per hour.
According to scheduled flights, objective radar control and recordings of radio conversations between the airplanes and ground control when the development took place, the airplane flying over the Girón corridor from north to south in a course perpendicular to the Cubana de Aviación flight was fumigation aircraft Model S2R, register N3093M, of the civilian aircraft registry of the United States of America, operated by the State Department of that country, as stated in the flight authorization requested to the Institute of Civil Aeronautics of Cuba, and in accordance with the United States public registry of civilian aircraft. The above-mentioned airplane had taken off from Patrick United States Air Force Base, in Cocoa Beach in the state of Florida, bound for Grand Cayman.
The Cubana pilot immediately reported to flight control on the release of unknown substances, in the form of a white or grayish mist, by the S2R airplane. The Cuban air controller established communication with the United States aircraft and asked whether it was having any technical problem, to which the pilot’s answer was “No”. He was also asked about the type of aircraft he was flying, answering that it was a single-engine AY-65. That conversation is recorded on tape.
On 18 December 1996, the first signs of the presence of a Thrips plague appeared in Matanzas province, at potato plantations of the Diamand variety, sowed 38 days before on the Lenin State Horticultural Farm, in Jovellanos municipality. Samples of these organisms were sent to the Central Quarantine Laboratory of the National Pest Control Center.
On 26 December 1996, the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs presented a note of complaint to the United States Interest Section in Havana regarding the incident that had occurred in the Girón corridor, urging the United States party to take appropriate measures aimed at the clarification of the event.
On 12 February 1997, the United States Interest Section in Havana handed over to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba a reply to that note stating that on the day of the incident, the United States pilot had, during his flight, seen a Cuban commercial airplane flying below, and as he was not certain of having been seen, “following caution and safety procedures, and with the purpose of securing a positive visual contact, the pilot used the `smoke generator’ of his aircraft, in order to indicate its location” adding that “the smoke vanished and no fluid was poured from the airplane.”
On 14 February 1997, the Central Quarantine Laboratory confirmed that the insect examined was the Thrips palmi karav, exotic to Cuban territory until that moment. …