In an exclusive conversation with Reginald K. Brack Jr., chairman of Time Inc., Joelle Attinger, TIME's chief of correspondents, and Cathy Booth, the Miami bureau chief, Castro tried to explain and justify shooting down the two defenseless planes.

TIME: What are your first thoughts?

Castro: All these attacks against Cuba are done with civilian planes. To tell the truth, these attacks have happened repeatedly over the years, and it has created a condition of distrust.

TIME: Why did you take this action now?

Castro: Before, Brothers helped rafters. But then they began engaging in extremely serious terrorist actions against...

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