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Ufology In Cuba

Inexplicata: Journal of Hispanic Ufology (ed. Scott Corrales) - 3/3/2005

go to original article | fair use notice

Although the thoughts presented in the article are of skeptical nature, the document represents an interesting perspective on ufology from within a "closed society.

The Journal of Hispanic Ufology
March 3, 2005

[We seldom receive information from the island nation of Cuba on
matters of ufology or the paranormal. For this reason we have
chosen to feature this article by an unknown author -
identifying himself only by his e-mail address - in
INEXPLICATA. Although the thoughts presented in the article are
of skeptical nature, the document represents an interesting
perspective on ufology from within a "closed society]


Ufology In Cuba
By ------------

Regarding the highs and lows of Cuban ufology. A striking
document on the current conditions of this discipline on the
Caribbean island of Cuba and the misfortunes experienced by
those who devote themselves to the subject of UFOs.

There is little propaganda on Cuban ufology in comparison with
what goes on in the rest of the world and in the neighboring
countries bathed by the waters of the Caribbean, such as Puerto
Rico, the Dominican Republic or Mexico. Ufolatry is scarce in

The first reports on this pseudoscience appeared in the 1950's
through American magazines such as "Life", "Readers Digest",
comic books and American motion pictures. The Cuban magazine
"Bohemia" and the national press echoed these reports.

The UFO myth has represented a prodigious source for artistic
imagination: hundreds of comics, novels and motion pictures, and
in Cuba there was even a cha-cha-cha dance number called "Los
marcianos llegaron ya" (the Martians are already here).

After the triumph of the 1959 Revolution, the government forbade
the entry of all manner of popular capitalist literature. Only
reading materials from Communist bloc countries were allowed.
Newspaper and magazine publishing houses and presses were de-
privatized and fell under the Government's absolute control.
Censure was developed against anything issuing out of the USA
and the capitalist European countries. Only UNESCO's magazine
was allowed in from this part of the world, and then only to
very few and specific subscribers. "Carta de Espa=F1a" was allowed
to reach some Spaniards who remained on the island. For this
reason, pro-UFO propaganda seldom made it into the country
through foreign magazines and newspapers, as well as books and
short-wave radio broadcasts, etc. We were flooded with magazines
from the USSR, the GDR (German Democratic Republic), Poland,
Hungary, China, etc. where commercial propaganda was completely
replaced by political-ideological propaganda, whether Marxist-
Leninist or Marxist-Maoist.

Ufologists speak in terms of several UFO flaps, with the fourth
one being placed in 1962. And it involves us, since it took
place during the October Missile Crisis, when the world stood on
the verge of a terrible nuclear war. Lights in the sky were seen
in the Atlantic, as well as on the sea and under its surface.
Without a doubt, [this was due to] the manoeuvres of US and NATO
aircraft, ships and submarines.

In the 1960s, Oscar Hurtado, a Cuban author classified as a
science fiction writer, published articles and gave
presentations in which he strongly supported "the
unquestionable" existence of UFOs. He was the most intense and
passionate advocate of the existence of this subject in our

An example of this can be found in his article published in the
"Revolucion" newspaper on July 9, 1965, bearing the title Algo
sobre platillos voladores ("Something about flying saucers").
The author accused those who did not believe in UFOs of being
medieval-minded and ignorant, yet he never produced a scientific
analysis of the phenomenon. He never sought evidence; he only
promoted and fed the myth. Hurtado espoused the ideas of Soviet
pseudo-scientific speculators M.N. Agrest and A. Kazantsev. A
sample of this can be found in the prologue to Ray Bradbury's
The Martian Chronicles, published in Cuba in 1965 by Ediciones
Huracan (a publisher that lived up to its name, since the lousy
binding caused the pages of the book to fly off as though swept
away by a hurricane).

In Bohemia, historically the most widely-read magazine in the
country, the "Panorama de la Ciencia" section featured a two-
part article in its December 7 and 14 1973 issues, respectively,
exposing the subject without a scientific analysis of same and
indicating the existence of two groups of scientists: those who
believe and those who do not, and that the CIA was engaged in a
disinformation campaign against UFOs in order to eliminate them.
The author states that the subject is highly controversial, is
worthy of investigation, and that avoiding the methods hitherto
employed would be greatly advisable.

Despite the appearance of impartiality, dividing the article
into two faction - believers and non-believers - the author does
not apply the true method to ascertain the truth of any
phenomenon, which is to say, determine if there is scientific
evidence for it, rather than the existence of pro-and-con
factions. Science does not function based on a simple discussion
between opponents, nor does it determine the truth based on a
majority vote. In this case, it would have to ask if even a
single shred of scientific proof exists, and is it verifiable.

Science is based on testing or verification. The article in
question highlights that in April 1967, American physicist James
McDonald of the Arizona Atmospheric Physics Institute told the
American Newspaper Publishers Association that the CIA had
demanded, since 1966, that UFOs be discredited in order to
diminish public interest in this groundless issue. Bear in minds
that in Cuba the "Yankees" are blamed on a daily basis for
blocking the development of natural traditional medicine and
Bioenergetics (the Cuban terms for alternative medicine) by
means of its pharmaceutical multinationals. Since all Cubans are
indoctrinated with a fierce anti-Yankee hostility, the CIA is
pointed out in the article as responsible for concealing all
matters related to UFOs. Anything that speaks poorly about the
"Yankees" is welcome (in Cuba, rain or the absence thereof is
pinned on the Yankees).

The Bohemia article also mentions the expulsion of two UFO
supporters from the Condon Committee, among them Dr. J. Allen
Hynek, who established the first ufology course in the world at
Northwestern University. The Bohemia article also mentions that
Edward U. Condon published a book titled A Scientific Study of
Unidentified Flying Objects, stating that there is no proof for
the existence of UFOs. This article supports the alleged
existence of UFOs.

The URSS provided us with information favorable to the
pseudosciences, such as three-curve biorhythms, parapsychology,
radiesthesia, etc. and UFOs. M.M. Agrest added that the
destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was the consequence of a
nuclear explosion, that the angles and the ascension of Enoch
were astronauts, that the Iron Pillar of Delhi in India was made
by aliens, along with the giant stone terrace of Baalbek in
Lebanon. He went as far as to say that aliens had left traces
and materials of their visit on the far side of the Moon. All of
this appeared in Literaturnaya Gazeta, Moscow, 1959 and February

Another soviet, Alexander Kazantsev, former director of the
Rocket Nozzle Studies Institute, had stated years earlier that
the Tunguska event of June 30, 1908 was the result of an atomic-
engined spacecraft colliding in Siberia, and that the Japanese
"dogu" statues, over 4,500 years old, were representations of
space aliens.

Since the 1960's (more so in the '60s and '70s), Cuba has
occasionally witnessed on cloudless nights some lights that have
been interpreted by some as being UFOs, when they are in fact
launchings of spacecraft from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and the
luminous gases of the separations of rocket stages. The Cuban
press frame it as a phenomenon known as a sundog or relate it to
UFOs, or else leave it unexplained. The news media have never
told the public that the cause of the lights could be American
rockets. This truth is kept from the population so that Cubans
won't feel a loss of status, particularly in a country that was
developing its military arsenal and was becoming the second
military power in the Americas. There existed a missile launch
test pathway or "corridor" with an eastward arc trajectory that
passed between the north of Cuba and the Bahamas and followed
the seas over Puerto Rico toward Ascension Island (see National
Geographic, Oct. 1959).

UFOs have been discussed in several sessions at the United
Nations. It is said that in the 30th session of the UN in 1975,
Eric Gairy, prime minister of Grenada, posed the need to
construct a UFO landing strip in his country-a UFOport-since
sightings and landings were frequent in his island (did Gairy
really say this?). Perhaps he said so to secure an airport and
improve Grenada's economy. Time passed by and it was the Cubans
who wound up building an airport in Grenada.

In the 1980s, the now-defunct USSR created a UFO study center
attached to the Academy of Sciences. Subsequently the Ufological
Commission and the UFO Center (much like years before in the
USA) were created in Moscow, directed by the Soviet scientist

For many years, Soviet military intelligence has devoted itself
to investigating the UFO phenomenon in secret for the very same
reasons as the Pentagon.

In the popular science magazine Juventud Tecnica (Technical
Youth) dated May 1985, in the articels Universo Engimas
Cognosibles (Knowable Enigmas of the Universe) and
Extraterrestrial Phenomena dated May-June 1986, the Cuban people
were informed for the first time ever of the scientific
perspective of the UFO phenomenon. But contrary to what it
published about UFOs, this publication has propagandised
pyramidology, alternative medicine, the Yeti and other myths and

In its December 20, 1989 issue, the Juventud Rebelde article
=BFNos vigilan los extraterrestres? (Are Aliens Watching Us?)
exposes and publicizes, without any scientific analysis, the
ideas of French physicist Jean Pierre Petit, who supports the
existence of UFOS and is a pseudoscientific speculator. The
article by J.P. Petit is a watered-down and improved version of
the Tunguska event.

Our country echoed the Danikenistic pseudoscientific movement
through the works of author Daina Chaviano, titled =BFExistieron
los gigantes en la antiguedad? (Did giants exist in antiquity?)
in Somos Jovenes magazine (Jan. 1988) and in Los mundos que amo
(The Worlds That I Love), wrongly classified as science fiction
by some Cuban critics. Her work "Did Giants Exist in Antiquity"
is a plagiarized-summarized version of the writings of Hans

On September 23, 1988, the film La nave de los dioses (Chariots
of the Gods)(Germany, 1970) was screened on Cuban television's
Cine Vivo program. Incredibly, the panel of experts proved that
it had no knowledge whatsoever about the pseudoscientific or
anti-scientific genre. Nor did any Cuban film critic or
scientist unmask it, and the population took it in as though it
had been a scientific documentary.

The November 18, 1988 issue of Bohemia (p.56) features an
article titled =BFExtraterrestres? - Its author supports the myth
of the statues of Easter Island and lucubrates about one of the
native stone pictographs found in the cave of Punta del Este,
Youth Island, under the influence of the recently screened
Chariots of the Gods? He also infers a UFO sighting off the
Cuban coast from the writings of Alexander Von Humboldt. As
always, scientific arguments are unknown or evaded to wallow in
pseudo-scientific impressionism.

The February 11, 1989 issue of Granma, the official gazette of
the Communist Party, features the article Las piramides de
Egipto =BFTransferencia tecnologica de extraterrestres remotos?
(The Egyptian Pyramids - Technological Transfer by Distant
Aliens?) which is practically a copy-summary of the article
Plastic Megaliths by Douglas Starr in the February 1983 issue of
OMNI. The Granma writer does a highly superficial summary and
does not mention scientific fact, since it has been solidly
confirmed that the blocks of the Egyptian pyramids were not
molded, but cut or carved. There is no scientific-archaeological
evidence that supports A.J. Davidovits. Articles like this
appear in commercial publications and never in scientific ones;
I sent them a critique on the article and never received a

In the book Vivir en el espacio (Living in Space) by Cuban
author P. Gutierrez, 1989, there is a chapter favorable to UFOs
without any criticism whatsoever or scientific exposition of the
subject, only a journalistic approach lacking rigorous analysis.

The Voronezh UFO incident in the USSR received much exposure in
Cuba. A TASS news agency dispatch dated October 9, 1989 stated
that an alien spaceship had landed on September 27 in Voronezh,
some 500 km.from Moscow, before numerous witnesses. Three beings
measuring 3 - 4 meters in height had descended from the craft;
they had three eyes and very small heads. It was claimed that
the landing site had been located by means of radiesthesia or
biolocation, and that the fact had been confirmed by Soviet
"scientists" and Genrikh Silanov, director of the Voronezh
Geophysical Laboratory, claimed that two reddish stones of a
kind not found on Earth were discovered at the site.

But the press ignored what came afterward, since it wasn't
nearly as sensational. Little was published about it and no
mention of it was made in Cuba. The "Soviet scientists" who
validated the case were in fact members of a group promoting the
paranormal and named "The Amateur Voronezh Section for the Study
of Anomalous Phenomena". Nor were there dozens of witnesses:
only three children were identified, and the more interviews
they gave, the more sensational their tales became.

On the other hand, Genrikh Silanov stated that the rocks were
made of hematite, a form of iron oxide very common in the USSR.
He further added: "Don't believe everything that TASS says. We
never contributed information to what they published"


As a response to this phenomenon, I managed to get provincial
newspaper Ahora to publish several articles of mine against
pseudoscience, among them two against ufology: OVNI sobre la
ciudad (UFO Over the City) on November 19, 1989, which shows a
photo of a UFO over our city, a deliberately hoaxed photo to
show how easily one can deceive, plus an extensive article
unmasking ufology, Von Daniken and similar.

At the time I hadn't made contact with CSICOP, nor did I know
anything about skeptics. Cuba had hitherto not spawned any
hysterical UFO stories, as had occurred elsewhere; nor do
sensationalist news items appear frequently. However, with the
collapse of the Communist bloc in our country, the economic
crisis worsened - a crisis dubbed Periodo Especial (the Special
period) by the government. Several UFO reports appeared in 1994,
five of them between October 15 and 26, which received great
coverage in the press and TV.

It is important to note that certain ideological or thought
crises take place during times of political and economic
uncertainty: the pseudosciences increase their diffusion by the
masses, a state of easy credulity is created among persons of
low culture and especially those lacking scientific knowledge.
Astute politicians take advantage of the situation to distract
the people amidst the crisis. But scientific thinking remains
unchanged. As in the USA, when the pseudoscienes were rife
during its Vietnam Syndrome (sic), Cuba faced an increase in
pseudosciences and myths during the decline and fall of the
Soviet Empire.

The opening of international tourism in late '98 and '99 allowed
the entry of more materials regarding this and other

The Pasaje a lo Desconocido (Ticket to the Unknown) television
show, which presents some documentaries from the Discovery and
Learning Channels, features a section in which presenter
Reinaldo Taladrid interviews an expert on the subject. Rigorous
materials are often exposed and experts and scientists are
invited, but at times, a mediocre, pseudo-scientific documentary
is presented and a ufologist is invited. On November 3, 1999 a
pro-UFO documentary was aired and Taladrid invited a ufologist
and atlantologist to the debate - a former physics instructor
named Enrique P=E9rez. No scientist was invited to unmask this
pseudoscience. The journalist in charge of the program knows me
very well on account of the harsh criticism I have levelled
against his show, in the same way that the editors of Bohemia
and some Cuban newspapers have come to know me as a result of
pseudoscience promoted by this media. These critiques are never

For many decades our bookstores have not sold books like Don
Quixote. Since the 1980s, the great scarcity of paper and ink
commenced at the presses. The works of exobiologists such as
Sagan have never been published; only a Soviet book by I.S.
Shklovski, from 1977, Universe, Life and Intellect, has been
sold. It mentions Sagan first as a believer and then as a
skeptic on matters of ET contact. The Cosmos series was
presented only once on TV using very low quality copies. There
are no books against the pseudosciences in our libraries.

In spite of the fact that to some "experts" we are squarely in
the middle or next to the Bermuda Triangle, we have neither
anecdotes nor news accounts about disappearances. Cuban ships,
yachts and boats vanish not through alien abduction, but through
clandestine flight from the northern coast, taking advantage of
the powerful Gulf Stream. From every five Cubans who flee, three
drown or wind up in the bellies of sharks. Bear in mind that
since 1959, no Cuban may visit an airport or seaport and buy a
ticket to visit or tour the USA or any other country in the

If a flying saucer landed in our country, it is very likely that
the government would try to convince ETs that this is the best
country in the world. They would be taken to our beaches and
historic-political centers and then indoctrinated with the works
of Marx, Engels and Lenin. Meanwhile, if the people get a
chance, they would ask the ETs for something to eat or to wear,
perhaps even swapping goods. At the same time, thousands of
Cubans would try to get into the spaceship to leave the country
for any other place in the universe.

[NOTE: This article originally appeared in Revista Anomalia,
Spain (No.1, Vol.2, 2002)]

Translation (c) 2005. Scott Corrales, Institute of Hispanic
Ufology. Special thanks to Mario Luis Bracamonte, S.I.O. -
Servicio de Informaciones Ovnilogicas R=EDo Cuarto, Cordoba,

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