From his perch as chairman of the U.S. House National Security Subcommittee, U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., called on President Donald Trump to have the U.S. Department of Justice examine Cuban communist Raúl Castro for his role in shooting down an airplane in 1996 which had three U.S. citizens and a permanent resident.
DeSantis, who is running for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in Florida with Trump’s support, sent the letter to the White House this week. In February 1996, Hermanos al Rescate (Brothers to the Rescue) had two airplanes searching for Cuban refugees which were attacked by two Cuban MiGs over international waters. “Fidel Castro publicly acknowledged this was a premeditated attack planned and executed by the Castro brothers,” DeSantis’ office insisted.
In the letter, DeSantis was joined by several Republicans in the Florida congressional delegation including U.S. Reps. Carlos Curbelo, Mario Diaz-Balart, Matt Gaetz, Bill Posey, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Ted Yoho.
Ros-Lehtinen, the first woman to lead the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, is currently the chairwoman of the U.S. House Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee. Yoho, the former vice chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, currently leads the U.S. House Asia and the Pacific Subcommittee.
“Armando Alejandre Jr. Mario de la Peña. Carlos Costa. Pablo Morales. Twenty two years ago, these humanitarian workers were murdered by the Castro regime and for 22 years their families have sought justice,” DeSantis said on Wednesday. “Failing to hold Raúl Castro accountable for his role in the premeditated murder of these brave men only serves as a message to our enemies that their crimes will go unchallenged.”
“Thankfully, the Obama apology tour is over and President Donald Trump has demonstrated a resolve to restore justice to the Cuban people,” DeSantis added. “Today, we urge the Trump administration to indict Raúl Castro for his role in this heinous attack and to make clear that the Castro crime syndicate is not immune from consequence.”
DeSantis held a National Security Subcommittee on the incident last month.