United States Condemns Pamphlet Drop Over Cuba

By Bob Melvin | July 7, 2008 | 8:07 PM EDT

(CNSNews.com) - The United States criticized Ly Tong, the Vietnamese immigrant from New Orleans who flew over Cuba on Saturday and dropped anti-Castro pamphlets over Havana.

The State Department said in a statement, "In light of the shootdown in international airspace on February 24, 1996, of two civilian aircraft, this clearly was a provocative and reckless action that apparently violated FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) regulations."

The State Department also said the United States first became aware of the New Year's Day flyover after Cuban aviation authorities alerted them to an unknown plane heading for Cuban airspace.

"Appropriate US agencies responded to this message by locating, tracking and intercepting the aircraft. The pilot was questioned upon landing. Fortunately, this action did not result in any further loss of life as Cuban authorities, in compliance with their international obligations, did not take aggressive action against the aircraft," the State Department statement said.

Meanwhile, Tong , a former member of the South Vietnamese military, told reporters in Miami that he is on a mission to rally the people of China, Cuba, North Korea and Vietnam to overthrow communism. He tried in Vietnam in 1992 by hijacking an aircraft to drop 50,000 leaflets over Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon.

Tong was captured and imprisoned in Vietnam until 1998. He decided last year that overthrowing communism in Cuba was next on his list. He chose New Year's weekend to fly over Havana because Cuba is close to the United States and his New Orleans home.