From the Miami Herald - May 4, 1996.

This letter is from a Cuban rafter in the Bahamian camp to which Brothers to the Rescue regularily flies supplies. It was written to the family of Carlos Costa, one of the four fliers killed when Cuban Migs shot down two Brothers planes on February 24, 1996.

My name is Octavio Tomaz, and I am a Cuban rafter. I am among the other 229 fellow Cubans that are here in the Bahamas as refugees. The reason for my letter is to express my sincere condolences and to join with you in the loss of your son, and to convey to you our solidarity in condemning such a horrible act committed by the Castro government.

I met Carlos during a very difficult time, when the raft on which I was at sea capsized in the middle of the ocean. I will never forget him, and I know that he will always be with me.

He visited me several time here in our camp in the Bahamas. A very good friendship began to blossom between us. He was always good natured and very thoughtfull, not only with me but with all of us in the camp. He was very helpful in helping me to get in touch with my family in the United States.

I can hardly believe that this barbarous act was committed. It seems impossible that this horrible thing could have happened to a noble and vital person such as Carlos, and just made him dissapear.

Al though it is not proper to speak about political issues in such a difficult moment, we would rather have him alive, without glory. There is no doubt that he has gained a place among the Cuban martyrs, and we are sure that if he would have been able to choose the way in which he would die, he would have chosen this one, to give his life for Cuba and a just cause.

A dear friend who loves you, please know that you can count on me for whatever you might need.

God Bless you.

Octavio Tomas Avila Leyva

Note from webmaster: Octavio Tomas Avila Leyva was returned to Cuba by the Bahamian authorities as reported on July 20, 1996

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Copyright 1996 The Miami Herald