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Clinton Renews Cuba Declaration

February 26, 2000

WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Clinton on Friday renewed a declaration of a national emergency imposed against Cuba four years ago after it shot down two small, unarmed civilian planes.

Clinton said Cuba ``has not demonstrated that it will refrain from the future use of reckless and excessive force against U.S. vessels or aircraft″ involved in memorial activities for those aboard the downed planes or other peaceful protests.

On Feb. 24, 1996, the two small planes took off for Cuba from Miami and were shot down by MiG jet fighters north of Havana, killing four Cuban-Americans on board. An angry Congress retaliated days later by tightening sanctions against Cuba.

Cuba insisted the planes had penetrated Cuban airspace, but the United States disagreed. An international inquiry concluded that the planes were shot down in international airspace.

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