A quarter century later, fallout from shootdown


President Joe Biden on Wednesday issued a notice continuing what he regards as a “national emergency with respect to Cuba” exactly 25 years after Cuban fighter pilots shot down two civilian planes belonging to Florida-based Brothers to the Rescue.
It seems peculiar that the United States, a nation with the world’s most powerful military force, would see Cuba as a threat, but that’s how it is as Biden enters the fifth week of his presidency.
Here’s Biden’s notice:

On March 1, 1996, by Proclamation 6867, a national emergency was declared to address the disturbance or threatened disturbance of international relations caused by the February 24, 1996, destruction by the Cuban government of two unarmed United States-registered, civilian aircraft in international airspace north of Cuba. On February 26, 2004, by Proclamation 7757, the national emergency was expanded to deny monetary and material support to the Cuban government. On February 24, 2016, by Proclamation 9398, and on February 22, 2018, by Proclamation 9699, the national emergency was further modified based on continued disturbances or threatened disturbances of the international relations of the United States related to Cuba. The Cuban government has not demonstrated that it will refrain from the use of excessive force against United States vessels or aircraft that may engage in memorial activities or peaceful protest north of Cuba.

Further, the unauthorized entry of any United States-registered vessel into Cuban territorial waters continues to be detrimental to the foreign policy of the United States because such entry could facilitate a mass migration from Cuba. It continues to be United States policy that a mass migration from Cuba would endanger United States national security by posing a disturbance or threatened disturbance of the international relations of the United States.

Therefore, in accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), I am continuing the national emergency with respect to Cuba and the emergency authority relating to the regulation of the anchorage and movement of vessels set out in Proclamation 6867, as amended by Proclamation 7757, Proclamation 9398, and Proclamation 9699.

This notice shall be published in the Federal Register and transmitted to the Congress.


February 24, 2021.

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