The CIA plans to spend $70,000 on a gravesite search for the remains of two Cubans who died in a plane crash while participating in the botched Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961.
CIA Director George Tenet said Monday the money will help finance a Defense Department forensic search team to locate the remains buried in Nicaragua near the wreckage of their B-26, which crashed for unknown reasons while supporting the CIA-sponsored invasion.
Searchers will be looking for the remains of Crispin Lucio Garcia Fernandez and Juan De Mata “Nabel” Gonzalez Romero, both Cuban nationals taking part in the effort to topple the communist Cuban government of Fidel Castro.
“Mr. Garcia and Mr. Gonzalez distinguished themselves by their valor and their patriotism and made the ultimate sacrifice while serving our nation,” Tenet said in a statement. “The agency recognizes the sacrifices their families have made. Returning our fallen colleagues to the United States for burial is not only a humanitarian gesture, but also is the right thing to do.”
The plane crashed in a remote area near the Bocay River in Nicaragua. After the wreckage was discovered in November 1961, U.S. and Nicaraguan officials agreed that the remains would be buried at the crash site, according to the CIA.