Man guilty of downing Cuban plane in '76 profiled

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THERE are not many places where a man convicted in the bombing of a commercial airliner that killed 73 people can be found roaming the streets. This city, home to Freddy Lugo, is one of them.

Mr. Lugo, like an uneasy memory from the cold war, is tucked away here, obscure to most of his countrymen but not completely forgotten. He was one of two men sentenced to 20 years in prison for placing explosives on a DC-8 jetliner flown by Cubana Airlines in 1976.

The plane blew up in the sky above Barbados, killing everyone on board, including two dozen members of Cuba’s national fencing team and a 9-year-old Guyanese girl. That explosion, considered the first act of midair terrorism in the Americas, poisons relations between Havana and Washington to this day.

Mr. Lugo, 65, who was released in 1993 after 17 years in prison, has tried to put the past behind him. “I have a tranquil life now,” he said in a rare 90-minute interview, his eyes darting around him, at a bakery cafe near his home. “I have a clean conscience.”

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