- 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. --Scott ]
- UFOlogy In Cuba
- By email@example.com
- 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 Cuba.
- 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 chá-chá-chá dance number
called "Los marcianos llegaron ya" (the Martians are already
- 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 España"
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
- 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 country.
- An example of this can be found in his article published
in the "Revolución" 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 Huracán (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 1960.
- 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 Azhazhi.
- 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 pseudoscience.
- In its December 20, 1989 issue, the Juventud Rebelde
article ¿Nos 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 ¿Existieron
los gigantes en la antiguedad? (Did giants exist in antiquity?) in Somos
Jóvenes 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 Hoerbiger.
- 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 ¿Extraterrestres? - 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
- The February 11, 1989 issue of Granma, the official gazette
of the Communist Party, features the article Las pirámides de Egipto
¿Transferencia tecnológica 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 reply.
- 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 pseudosciences.
- 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 Pérez.
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 published.
- 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 world.
- 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.
- (This article originally appeared in Revista Anomalía,
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 Ovnilógicas Río Cuarto, Córdoba, Argentina