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La Coubre
Explodes in Havana 1960

pages 35-36, VOL. 19 NO. 2, November 1960]

[To see a full size photo, right click and VIEW IMAGE]

 [not from this reference]

At 9:00 AM Friday, March 4, the French freighter, La Coubre, quietly tied up in Cuba's Havana harbor.

Six hours later she became the blast that...blew up Cuba

When the French freighter La Coubre, crammed with munitions for Castro's militia, blew up in Havana harbor it caused the greatest furor in Cuba since the U.S.S. Maine went down in the same harbor 62 years ago.  This time, however, anti-American feeling was whipped into a frenzy by Premier Fidel Castro.  In fact, at one point an innocent American, one Donald L. Chapman (North Bend, Neb.), who just happened to be a passenger on the freighter, was grilled by Cuban police for hours before he was finally released.

What happened was this.  About 3:00 PM the ship blew up in a massive explosion and started to blaze furiously.  Immediately, swarms of police, firemen and troops rushed to the scene, arriving just in time for many of them to go up with the next explosion at 4:00 PM.  This tremendous blast was followed by repeated explosions that went on until the stern of the ship sank and the fire burned itself out.

[To see a full size photo, right click and VIEW IMAGE]
These exclusive photographs show almost too graphically the havoc and horror of the La Coubre disaster.

In the face of Cuban charges of American "sabotage", the U.S. Government blamed the cause of the catastrophe on careless handling of the munitions by Cuban dockworkers.

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