The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 20, 2001 · Page 12
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 12

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Friday, April 20, 2001
Page 12
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A12 FRIDAY. APRIL 20, 2001 WORLD THE SALINA JOURNAL CUBA Bay of Pigs victory marked Castro salutes vets who turned back U.S.-backed exiles By ANITA SNOW The Associated Press PLAYA GIRON, Cuba — With a tank, a mortar and anti-aircraft artillery as a backdrop Thursday, President Fidel Castro saluted the veterans and victims of Cuba's Cold War triumph in the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion. At a ceremony on the coastline where his forces claimed victory over a CIA-trained exile army 40 years ago, Castro spoke of "remembering the fallen, remember ing the humble sons of the nation who pushed forward into the crushing blow CASTRO of the pride and arrogance of the empire." "Today is a day of glory that nothing and no one can erase from history," the 74-year-old Castro said, looking out at thousands of Bay of Pigs veterans from a stage surrounded by palm trees and decorated with heavy artillery He used the occasion to recast a U.N. vote to condemn his country's human-rights record as a "moral defeat" for the United States. He said the U.N. censure — narrowly approved in a 22-20 vote Wednesday by the 53-nation U.N. Human Rights Commission — was not a blow to communist Cuba. Before Castro rose to address the crowd of men, many with rows of military medals pinned to the commemorative T-shirts distributed at the event, veteran Ernesto Robaina Figueroa told his former comrades-in-arms, "There is no powerful enemy The Associated Press Former members of the Cuban mllltia force that beat back a U.S.-sponsored invasion of Cuba In 1961 greet each other as they gather for a 40th-anniversary celebration Thursday. for a people who know what they are fighting for." The men, now in their 60s, 70s and 80s, cheered and waved small paper Cuban flags in response. Most of the Cubans who gathered on the island's south-central coast for the ceremony, which organizers said drew 10,000 participants, were elderly men. Robaina also dismissed the U.N. condemnation, saying: "Liars! What human rights are they talking about ... our country has been blockaded for more than 40 years." The United States has maintained a trade embargo on Cuba for nearly four decades in an attempt to force a change in its one-party government. Invasion of exiles Trained by the CIA in Guatemala at the height of the Cold War, an invasion force known as the 2506 Brigade was comprised of about 1,500 exiles determined to overthrow Castro's government, which had brought the Soviet bloc closer than ever to the continental United States by seizing power in Cuba 28 months before. The three-day invasion failed. Without U.S. air support and running short of ammunition, more than 1,000 invaders were captured. Another 100 invaders and 151 defenders died. Victory for Cuba came on Playa Giron, a strip of gorgeous, palm-dotted coastline on the Bahia de Cochinos, or Bay of Pigs. While exiles still blame their loss on President Kennedy's refusal to provide additional air support, Cuban leaders always have maintained they won the battle simply because they fought better. Exiles in Miami remembered the battle Tuesday the anniversary of the beach landing at Playa Larga at the innermost part of the Bay of Pigs, about 12 miles north of here. The fighting later moved south, to Playa Giron. "The Mercenaries Got This Far," reads a billboard just outside Playa Larga, showing a huge blowup of an old black and white photograph of exile soldiers taken prisoner after the battle. "Here Was Unleashed a Decisive Combat for Victory" another nearby billboard read. Among the guests at Thursday's ceremony were relatives of former castaway Elian Gonzalez, including the boy's father, Juan Miguel Gonzalez, who waged a seven-month battle to return his son to Cuba from the United States. Elian was not there. T GR^.AT BRITAIN Foot-and-mouth's spread is slowing Chief scientist warns vigilance necessary to defeat outbreak By The Associated Press LONDON — The foot-and- mouth epidemic in Britain is under control, though it may be a "bumpy ride" until the livestock scourge is eradicated, the government's chief scientist said Thursday "On the basis of the faU in the number of cases being reported, the epidemic now is fully under control," professor David King said! At the end of March, the daily tally stood at an average of 43 new cases a day, but the number had fallen to 27 by Sunday he said. "As the epidemic comes under control, it becomes more imperative that the controls remain. Restricting the movement of people and animals is crucial to the containment of T HOLOCAUST the disease. We have to keep very, very vigilant," King said. "I have now made a rather bold statement, which is that it's under control, but I want to say it's in the nature of epidemics that it's a bumpy ride." With nearly 1,400 confirmed cases —- and the tally rising daily — the government maintains its policy of culling all animals on farms adjacent to infected properties is the best way to beat the disease. The Ministry of Agriculture, meanwhile, promised Thursday to review its plan to slaughter healthy animals on a farm run by learning disabled people after more than 100 protesters barricaded entrances to the property The 100 sheep and 60 dairy cattle bred at Oaklands Park Farm in Gloucestershire were earmarked for slaughter after the highly contagious disease was found on a neighboring farm two weeks ago. Jewish youths march on route of victims By The Associated Press OSWIECIM, Poland — Jewish teen-agers from around the world honored Holocaust victims Thursday with a silent march at the Auschwitz death camp. They lighted candles and placed wooden tablets with the names of their murdered relatives on the crumbling remains of the gas chambers. More than 1,000 young Jews marched through the town of Oswiecim from the Auschwitz camp to the rail ramp at Birkenau, where occupying German troops brought Europe's Jews in freight cars to be gassed. More than 1 million people, most of them Jews, died in the gas chambers or from disease and starvation at Auschwitz — the German name for Oswiec­ im — between 1940 and 1945. Benjamin Lefkove, 17, Atlanta, said he was "very angered" by his visit to the camp. "I wished they would tear down and burn the camp to prevent this from ever happening again," said Lefkove, whose family left Poland before World War II. "This could be my revenge against the Nazis. 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