Fabio Di Celmo: Another victim of terrorism › Cuba › Granma - Official voice of the PCC
Giustino Di Celmo paying tribute to his son Fabio on the anniversary of his death. Photo: Yaimí Ravelo

Terror attacks continue to occupy headlines, whether it be the mowing down of pedestrians in major European cities, or the death and displacement of hundreds of people in the Middle East and Africa, due to political instability and war.

Despite the thousands of kilometers that separate Cuba from these areas, or the time that has passed since such events, the Cuban people have not forgotten that the island has also suffered first hand the horrors of terrorism.

Sabotage, kidnappings, armed aggression, assassination attempts against our foremost leaders, were realities experienced at various moments of the Revolution, while almost 3,000 Cubans have died as a result of terrorist attacks on the country.

However, Cubans have not only mourned those killed in the attacks perpetrated against the island itself. On October 6, 1976, a Cubana de Aviación aircraft was blown up over Barbados, a crime organized from Venezuela by Orlando Bosch Ávila and Luis Clemente Faustino Posada Carriles, and in which, as well as Cubans, Guyanese and Korean passengers were killed.

On September 4, 1997, this pain would be shared with Italy, when the tranquility of Havana life was interrupted by explosions in several hotels, resulting in the death of Italian tourist, Fabio Di Celmo, at only 32 years of age.

The Hotel Copacabana following the attack. Photo: Archive

In the lobby bar of the Copacabana Hotel, where his father Giustino was staying, the young Italian met with friends. Meanwhile, the mercenary of Salvadoran origin, Ernesto Cruz León, lurked in a bathroom, preparing to detonate the powerful bomb that he had placed in one of the lobby ashtrays.

Once again, Posada Carriles was behind the attack, having hired Cruz León. Sometime afterwards, when questioned by a journalist regarding the incident, he would state that Fabio was in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

Giustino heard the explosion from his hotel room. He thought of his son, whom he had brought to Cuba to learn and love the country. The minutes flew by and the news came that Fabio was seriously injured and had been taken to hospital. Then came the worst blow: Fabio was dead.

Plots to sow terror in Cuban tourist facilities, to continue to stifle the economy, this time using Central American mercenaries, were planned by the Cuban American National Foundation, and supported by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and its accomplices in the government of the day.

This Italian would be yet another victim, one of the many children nonsensically snatched from their parents by intolerance, hatred, and violence.

In his native Genoa, Fabio’s gravestone reads: “On September 4, 1997, a deadly bomb detonated by a Salvadoran mercenary took the life of the young Fabio Di Celmo.”

A plaque in the Hotel Copacabana is dedicated to his memory, and year after year relatives and victims of terrorist attacks pay tribute to the young Genoese.

Cuba watched Giustino mourn the loss of his son until his own death, without the consolation of justice. An entire people shared his pain and his cause, a people who do not forget and will continue denouncing the crime, even when there is no way to return the life cut short, and no way to erase such horror.