The Cuba Files - An Interview with Orestes Girbau
The Cuba Files – An Interview with Orestes Girbau
By Debora Goldstern, Crónica Subterránea
This interview brings to a close the cycle of reports for the year 2009, published throughout the year in Crónica Subterránea, where little-heard-from voices found a place at our site, and which will continue next year, God willing. In this instance, readers of our blog will gain firsthand knowledge of the state of Ufology in Cuba, guided by one of its foremost exponents, Orestes Girbau Collado, who has been performing the task with great merit.
We shall discuss not only the latest developments in the subject of UFOs, but also in their mysterious occupants, popularly known as “humanoids” - one of our guest’s specialties - and look into some archaeological discoveries made in Cuba that we make known today in an exclusive for Crónica Subterránea.
DG: Although you’re acknowledged as one of the best UFO researchers by his peers, Orestes Girbau Collado keeps a low profile and not much is known of his work, rich in suggestive details on events that tend to have Cuba as a protagonist. And my first question is: How did Orestes get started in ufology?
OG: First and foremost I’d like to thank you for this interview in your wonderful site, which has fulfilled the expectations of those seeking on the various enigmas of the past and the present. My story begins at the age of 6, when I lived in a rural community in Ciego de Avila. In the afternoon I would sit on the porch with my maternal grandmother to hear her stories -- she was a correspondent for the Diario de la Marina. The opposition of the planet Mars was approaching (1956) and at one point I thought to ask her about the V-shaped formation of certain birds at twilight. She immediately offered an explanation, adding that flying saucers from the planet Mars had been observed flying similar formations. That gave rise to my interest, enthusiasm and restless approach to the phenomenon, which endures to this very day. Until age 15 I compiled a variety of information on the subject. I remember acquiring my first book, a work by retired Major Donald Keyhoe entitled “Flying Saucers from Other Worlds”, and in September 1957 I saw a strange cylindrical object for the first time, flying across the sky at high speed. Up to 1965 I collected scrapbooks with news items about UFOs. It was that year that a worldwide flap of sightings took place, with the ones of the Argentinean, Chilean and British bases in the Antarctic being particularly significant. I was also impressed by the fact that the object had been caught on film. At that time, I was living in the city of Matanzas and was becoming involved with other young students and older people interested in the subject, and whose beliefs were similar to mine regarding the plurality of inhabited worlds and extraterrestrial visitations. That time period was highly stimulating and decisive for my future path, learning about the informative work of Mr. Oscar Hurtado, the father of Cuban ufology, a journalist and advocate of UFO-ET reality. I owe a great deal to this illustrious figure in Cuban literature. Between 1973 and 1982 I was linked to a number of amateur astronomy groups, creating a UFO section and becoming something more than just a collector of extraterrestrial data, since the amount of reports worldwide caused us to feel, in fact, a greater awareness of the situation and its likely implications. My efforts at the time prompted me to build a 5-inch refractor telescope, which to this day remains the largest in our province. In 1984, the Theosophical Society asked me to hold the first UFO lecture I ever presented, dealing with such aspects as alien settlements that may have been established within our solar system with the purpose of visiting us.
At that time, the influence of my investigative approach in UFO research was becoming known both in France and in the former USSR, which served as an investigative lodestone. In April 1985, and as a result of a memorable sighting in the Soviet Union, the Gener y del Monde Provincial Library in Matanzas extended an invitation to organize public events aimed at discussing subjects pertaining to the UFO mystery, contact in ancient times, parapsychology, etc. This is how the Círculo Albert Einstein came about, which I preside, and which remains active nearly a quarter century later. It should be noted that during this time period we carried out several informative programs, a total of 162 sessions, some of the classified as unique. Inspired by this initiative and thanks to the assistance of many friends, the Círculo grew to some 200 members in 1989. Many interesting events that occurred later are testament to its creativity. In October 1989 I was asked to give a Master Conference entitled “OVNI: ayer, hoy y mañana” (UFOs: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow) within the framework of a scientific conference (Geociencias ’89) held at the Varadero summer resort. This was the first time such an activity had taken place in our archipelago. As from 1988 I collaborated with the “Yumurí” weekly and the “Girón” provincial newspaper and from ’90 to’95, I contributed to a 20-minute weekly radio show on the Radio 26 provincial network.
Then came October 1995. On the 15th of that month, the [UFO] landing at Torrientes, Matanzas, took place, opening a new stage in the case histories and kicking off new horizons for Cuban researchers. The following year (1996), filmmakers Octavio Cortázar and Hugo Parrados asked me to help with a major project – a documentary aimed at chronicling the thorny subject of unidentified aerial presences over some Cuban provinces. This is how “OVNIS: ¿En Cuba?” (UFOs in Cuba?) came about. It even went on to win an award at the Viña del Mar Festival in Chile.
On 21 April 1997, 13 colleagues from Matanzas established PIFAAM (Proyecto In vestigación de Fenómenos Anómalos Aéreos en Matanzas – Aerial Anomalous Phenomenon Research Project in Matanzas), which I presided until June 2003. I had about 20 field research cases to my name at the moment, and up to that point, I’d had the privilege of reading some 100 specialized works. Following several contacts and meetings with colleagues from several provinces, we reached the conclusion that we had to do the unthinkable: set in motion the legal transactions to create the Asociación Cubana de Ufología (A.C.U. – Cuban Ufology Association). So on November 14, 1998 we established the Comité Gestor Nacional de la A.C.U. in Havana at the site of the Cuban Meteorology Society, presided by acknowledged ufologist and physicist Enrique Pérez Gutiérrez. After 11 years of transactions, an infinity of events at such institutions as the José Martí National Library or the Rubén Martínez Villena Public Library, and at the Academy of Sciences itself, we had a multi-disciplinary membership of 157 colleagues in 7 provinces and our own Bylaws, organizational structure and code of ethics, and things keep us as though it was the first day. I should mention the large number of attendees at our events, ranging between 100 and 200 people at times. I collaborated with the OvnisCuba website between 2002 and 2005.
Between 2000 and the present I have contributed to “Signos” magazine from Villa Clara, which published a full number devoted to UFOs, and to h my friend and colleague Dr. Jorge R. Bermúdez’s book “Ovnilogía Cubana” (Cuban Ufology). During that time, I collaborated with the “1861” magazine, the publication of the Matanzas Speleological Committee, on works related to certain ancestral Pre-Columbian enigmas. I’ve also delved into meteorological subjects in the “Humedal” newspaper (I’ve worked as a specialist in forecasting for the Matanzas Meteorological Institute for 22 years now), participating in several activities sponsored by the Cuban Speleological Society, reading a paper at an International Congress on Prehistoric Art in the year 2008.
As of July 2005 I had the privilege of being asked to contribute to the Asociacion Forteana Latinoamericana in Argentina, thanks to kindness of its director, Fabio Picasso, and the support given by another good friend, Liliana Núñez from Chile. I’m eternally grateful to both. I still have some time left at the helm of the Comité Gestor. I’m not sure if we’ll achieve our goal, which remains one of our dreams. We can envision it, but we’re neither fortune-tellers nor mages. Those who have faith in us can be convinced that Cuban ufology is alive and well. I’m currently finalizing details to complete a monograph on UFOs in the province of Matanzas, will be finalizing a documentary script and hope to complete a specialized literary work.
Discussing ufology in Cuba today is to venture into an exciting field, as regards both case histories and quality of research, placing the country in a privileged position in the subject. With this context in mind, it isn’t surprising to find detailed studies, proving that one can become involved with ufology “without dying in the effort.”
Serious ufology can be performed by any serious researcher who is willing to avoid confusion or manipulation. I don’t think that our ufology is more emotionally interesting than what is done by Latin American brethren or from other latitudes. We have had verified experiences and/or indirect evidence, like anyone else. Close encounters, manifestation of prints on the ground, photos, videos, detections, teleportation’s, disappearances, bedroom visitations, USOs… we have a rich history of events in respective dossiers. Literature, folklore and art – among other cultural manifestations – have complemented the field as they have in the rest of the continent. I strongly defend this point, since in my opinion, ufology is an (emerging) science that requires all cultural and scientific currents to serve both science and culture at the right time, with its new approach to research. The Nazca Lines required – or suggest – a higher technique, and are one of the cultural manifestations that have received most attention. A genuine cattle mutilation leaves a researcher flabbergasted, but at the same time, the meticulous use of technology applied on the animal represents a work of art, when we think of the fact that there are no tell-tale signs of confrontations between the victim animal and its obsessive aggressors. Can someone not consider crop circles and their perplexity the leave in their wake as a work of art?
Nonetheless, there are unquestionable aspects that make a difference: all groups and independent or “lone” researchers (as we call them, since they aren’t committed to any of our organizations, while remaining a very active component within the whole of the Comité Gestor), are united around the Committee, which isn’t so common in other countries. There is a plurality of interests.
DG: Humanoid cases occupy a special place in your reports. These entities are generally defined as UFO crewmen. Is this association valid, or should the term be redefined?
OG: When I became Vice-President of the Committee, Prof. Enrique Pérez assigned me the task of dealing with cases involving humanoids in Cuba. At the time I barely had 7 files in my hands. I prefer to classify them into four categories: humanoids, paraphysical entities, animal-like creatures and androids. Cloned entities are another plausible variant, but I’ll set that aside for the moment. Today, with the development of nanotechnology, we can understand that higher intelligences must first use exploratory probes, then vehicles that can go unnoticed, and finally, promote their exploration agenda gradually. A little common sense would indicate that they come to us with an advanced technology, but not one that is greater than we Earthlings will have before the 21st century is over. I should add that we could well be visited by the inhabitants of a single planet and not fifty or a hundred, as is commonly believed. I assumed this belief before the French COMETA report became known: If interstellar distances are an obstacle to vessels that have been able to dominate antigravity or travel by using magnetic lines between heavenly bodies, or interstellar electrical currents, and if on the other hand, the existence of other dimensions are pure science fiction along with hyperspatial or time-space travel, Atlantis is a myth and the solid objects that flew in the atmosphere prior to the Arnold sighting as far back as 1897 are little but sensationalist charades, to what can we ascribe the thousands of experiences reported to which no explanation of any kind can be found? I think, number one, that they can visit us by using mechanisms that take advantage of powerful energy in space, discovered by the beings who pilot such advanced technology, achieving speeds that cannot be conceived by the most creative minds, all thanks to those rivers of energy. Number two, it isn’t necessary to invoke visitors from beyond the solar system – they may have been concealed for a long time in one of the planets of our won, waiting for the right time. Number three, the space visitors may be closer to the terrestrial community than the great mass of humanity is able to imagine.
If we redefine the foregoing, this would cause a tendency to judge certain values that most of humanity believes in and respects, and to which it devotes its time, welfare and its very existence. If a substantial part of close encounters are nothing more than the product of terrestrial technology, this would represent a disquieting variable, considering the straight-line turns at 90 degree angles, and the thrust they employ when disappearing almost instantly before the witness and the radar. There is talk of symbiotic ships and this possibility is approached none-too-subtly in the documentary on the Roswell autopsy. Does anyone know why? Anyone aware of the life, work and personal experiences of the American child prodigy David Adair will realize that there’s something fishy going on. In his interviews, reports and statements he says he has seen and touched aerial devices in bases located in his country, and which could not have been built by Earthlings. Adair says that these spaceships respond to touch and the mood of those who come in to contact with them. Well, he believes the same thing – designing and building this aerospace technology is impossible for humans, and he reiterates that they are symbiotic UFOs. Making comparisons, we notice a captivating detail in the laboratory of French scientist Jean Louis Naudin. He tests advanced aircraft design, small and large, resembling disks. When compared with the research, experiments and developments concealed at the heart of Area 51, such a story would not withstand the scrutiny of knowledgeable people. However, the number of developments to be found in a lab as futuristic as Naudin’s are fascinating. The statistical data we handle provide us with invaluable information. As naysayers are quick to say, only one per cent of the total number of UFO reports may be of value, but their alien provenance is only a slight possibility. If the number of reports is intensifying, we must assume that the 1% represents thousands of sightings, It is necessary to keep this in mind when making a priori judgments.
According to witnesses, winged humanoids, Adamski-type characters and visitors of short stature have been reported in Cuba. We have also had those whose characteristics are reminiscent to more than a few historic cases, due to their clothing and helmets. When these occupants are mentioned, I believe it fitting to mention robots programmed within the craft, or perhaps guided remotely from a probe hidden in the solar system, invisible to humans. In my work “El Principe Negro” (The Black Prince) I try to acknowledge the probe (or probes) around us, fulfilling their hypothetical missions with the required precision. But this clearly falls within thought processes based on chance data arising from unlikely sources, as speculative as they are logical. Since my strong point is the study of UFOs through the human technological process, I look for technological, chronological and statistical relationships that suggest that at least one alien race has visited us – is still visiting us – over the past 150 years. I am not averse to believing in various types of aliens. It is possible. What I am trying to say here and now is that they hail from a material, three-dimensional world, using forces unimaginable to present-day humans, and without straying too far, stressing the fact they could be different races from the same world, employing androids for various reasons, and whose aesthetics change according to their needs. It isn’t the same thing to see an entity in our likeness with wings than another humanoid with a robotic aspect and superimposed wings, or other cloned beings (that can only be conceived in a laboratory) with a similar structure. The Mothman isn’t like the “angels” that Lot invited into his home to drink wine. However, there could have been a religious relationship, if we add wings to those envoys from on high, which aren’t always Nordic-looking. Aren’t the Chinese going to the Moon in coming years? If Selenites existed, and happened to see one of them, they would compare him to others who consider landing, or have landed on the Moon in the past. Russians, Americans or Germans arriving there would be distinguished from the Chinese by the hue of their skin and the characteristics of their eyes, and all of them by their various languages, national emblems, suits and spaceship types. The same would happen to an astronaut of African origin. As you can see, there are certain parts that can be matched.
At the dawn of history, UFOs were understood as a factor that belonged within the “extraterrestrial” subject. This perspective was subsequently restructured, and the “UFO” acquired a more proximate origin, giving rise to even more questions, and to greater resistance among experts, since the implications of an interdimensional link are still not accepted.
I believe that the greatest resistance comes from researchers, arising from the excessive trust in the intentions of that one per cent of genuine ET cases. Facts are sometimes underestimated, since we are unable to reason with another type of logic, given that human nature is easily conditionable and presents unequal levels of spirituality. The prototypical UFO occupant is either overly peaceful, highly indifferent or extremely dangerous. The ones that come to save us represent a new age, and take away the past sins of this unfinished absurdity, the unending horror that Millennial mythology has brought along with it. To me – and hovering on the edges of the implausible – this interstellar race respects free will. Mine and that of others. They aren’t gods, although they’ve had to play that difficult role. It becomes hard to me to imagine how hard it must be for cosmic intelligences – out of respect and formal commitment toward the freedom of human beings and their normal evolution – to keep from altering anything with procedures that it would find atavistic, and whose most lurid example can be seen in the so-called implants, which can be as thick as a hair, inducing visual and auditory hallucinations in people.
Now then, let us say that these groups have been on Earth for a while, possess this mind-bending technology, are able to defy the restrictions and laws of gravity, and are in league with powerful ultraterrestrial forces or simply with EBEs. What group that isn’t under the military yoke of some great power can be so bold, and where would it settle on this planet? But since everything seems possible in this world, let’s give them the benefit of doubt and say that this group is located in another dimension (or in Hell), but they would no longer be Earthlings. Much less angels.
DG: But let’s go back to Cuba. Is there any recurring pattern on the island, within the UFO phenomenon?
It wasn’t until 1989 that sightings were on the rise. The months of October-December 1995 were highly significant, due to the unprecedented wave of sightings in several provinces, with accepted territorial patterns: the southern reaches of the Havana provinces, the provinces of Matanzas, Camaguey, Cienfuegos and Sancti Spiritus. Unidentified objects are frequent in this area, with a dozen of events made known by our country’s press becoming notorious.
In the summer of ’68, October of ’73 and January ’89, they were seen respectively to the south of Havana, to the north of the Capital and in what we call today Youth Island. What we have called the “Damaso Case” occurred in the Spring of 2003. This singular abduction and teleportation case kept many Cuban ufologists in check. In the Eastern region you find the legendary “luz de Yara” (Yara Light) – a source of controversy nowadays, and which has existed in remote areas for centuries, and was the subject of research by Carlos Heredero for a long time. I need them to find the similarities between the dates covered, and the models that lead to their relationship with peak moments in worldwide flaps.
I should say that Matanzas has had some exclusives: let’s say that the first photo of a UFO was taken as it flew over the city in July 1952 – does this month and year sound familiar to you? We also had the same sighting of a USO emerging in broad daylight from the depths of our Bay on 5 July 1959. Also strange was the first landing and emergence of a ufonaut from its flying machine near the town of Torriente in southern Matanzas. All moving pictures of anomalous cases in our files were recorded in this territory. The first telepathic contact, and the only [UFO] crash we are aware of [also occurred here].
DG: Aside from your interests as a ufologist, you delved into the study of vanished American civilizations prior to the arrival of Columbus. While little information ever comes to light, every so often we hear of discoveries in Cuba that testify to this unknown past.
OG: I am linked with the members of the former Sociedad Epigrafica de Cuba (SOEC – Cuban Epigraphy Society), sharing in their triumphs and discoveries, which transformed Pre-Colombian history from one day to the other, with such solid archaeological and epigraphical evidence that their specialists, presided by Georgeos Diaz Montexano, had a significant informative career in an off the island between 1989 and 1994. I witnessed how the U.S. Epigraphic Society and even the wife of legendary explorer Thor Heyerdahl, acting in his name, acknowledged those outstanding events firsthand. They were promoted and supported by the Círculo Albert Einstein from their inception. Belonging to another speleo-archaeological group was useful to me. It encouraged me to acquire and share a diversity of knowledge, such as archaeology and ancient history. The tempting discovery of an alleged city sunken beneath the waters of Guanahacabibes, Pinar del Rio, bolstered my thoughts on the multiplicity of ancient enigmas in the Caribbean region, particularly in Cuba. The foregoing has made me take advantage – objectively speaking – of the notion of Paleocontact in Cuba, the existence of profound archaeological enigmas in our aboriginal culture. A theory based on outstanding arguments, and not sufficiently pseudo-scientific to be dismissed. There is also the unequivocal sign of an extracontinental presence in the largest island of the Antilles. Paleocontact (or contact through stone) has found Lic. Carlos A. Garcia among its greatest proponents. He has performed serious analyses of cave art on the walls and ceilings of some Cuban cave. He explains that there are samples of art whose three-dimensional projection can be interpreted hypothetically as prehistoric machinery. As we all know, it would be unlikely, unless there was further circumstantial or causal evidence that could be corroborated from our present knowledge.
A distant culture, if one did indeed flourish, could have been located in Mega, the sunken city, which is at the heart of discussions that will bear fruit at some point in the future. The studies published by Cuban scientific researcher Manuel Iturralde offer some clarification, but are far from conclusive. The enigma persists.
Among the mysteries that are a source for doubt and propel the debate we find Baya Manaco, one of the deities of the Cuban native pantheon. It has been feverishly studied by Dr. Thelvia Marin. The statuette is impressive by its peculiar structure and its outstanding appearance, which predisposes some – from an esoteric perspective – to see in it a character similar to the Japanese figurines, that is to say, an astronaut. Geographer Leonel Pérez and I have looked into an aboriginal spheroid that displays concentric circles on each pole. If the native culture that crafted these spheres did not belong to the same one responsible for the cave art, how was it done? Their separation, one from another, has the same width. I’m just showing you an insignificant fraction of the mysteries held by this ceremonial artifact. As far as epigraphy goes, the expectations created in the 1990s were never surpassed, and I must admit it. Valuable pieces and clues still await us. Edilio Estupiñan, my colleague – also a member of PIFAAM – died a year ago and Mr. Díaz Montexano, who acted as president of the then-operational but unformalized SOEC, currently lives in Spain, where he has stood out for years due to his ceaseless research endeavors. In recent times, he believes he has discovered analogies between the representation of an ancient figurine, found in the interior of our own province, and a deity from ancient Mexico. I am referring to the god Tezcatlipoca. Should a broader effort be made – undertaking a greater on-site gathering of information – with Mexican archaeologists, many outstanding elements that imply wide transculturation between North America and the Caribbean might emerge. This diffusionism would cover areas of Western Cuba, where information supporting the possibility has been gleaned.
DG: One final and compulsory question. What are Orestes Girbau’s recommendations to researchers taking their first steps in ufology?
I would advise the fourth generation of Latin American researchers, among other things, to be yourselves and follow the voice of your own conscience. Collaborate positively with each other, applying the standard of optimism. Aliens exist, and those who would conceal this reality for whatever reason also persist. Also be aware that the larger part of public opinion (despite having access to books, magazines, newspapers, videos and other documents) passively accepts any statement as fact, no matter how gross it may seem. Do not allow yourselves to be dismissed as fanatics: if you develop a ufology with the required maturity, you may slow them down, yet never stop them. You must never allow yourselves to be tagged as “fanatics”. Bear in mind that according to Blázquez, in his Diccionario de las Ciencias Humanas (Dictionary of Human Sciences), the characteristics of fanaticism are: stubbornness, recalcitrance, dogmatism, ideological radicalization, aggressive intolerance, rigidity and the inability to understand and engage in dialogue, and the distortion of reality. You can see the negativity that you can eliminate from yourselves, or the element negatives in others that you must ward against. Keep in mind that understanding and love for a cause are stronger than the pride of disinformers. You dream, like the rest of us, with the crucial official encounter between beings of the cosmos and humans. This contact may also be delayed, because there must first be contact among ourselves. No one must undermine or destroy our dreams, which are sacred, as the truth we seek comes from the common source of all truths. Know that the future belongs to you and is impossible without you. Giordano Bruno and other medieval thinkers believed that the horrible world in which they lived was the only reality for an irrevocable future. Let us learn from history.
DG: Orestes Girbau Collado, many thanks!
[Translation © 2013, Scott Corrales, IHU. Special thanks to Débora Goldstern, Crónica Subterránea]