Posts Tagged ‘luis posada carriles’

The U.S.’s Terrorism Double Standard and The Vicious Campaign Against Cuba

March 20, 2014


( counterpunch )
During the last 50 years, the United States has suffered from a constant stream of vicious terrorist acts, first carried out by the Cuban government and then later outsourced to anti-capitalist groups who were given safe haven in the country. The human toll is enormous – 3,478 dead, 2,009 injured, and many more suffering the mental health problems associated with traumatic stress. The terrorist attacks include blowing up a civilian airplane, bombing hotels and restaurants in tourist neighborhoods, machine gun attacks from speed boats against coastal towns, introduction of chemical and biological agents such as dengue fever, and a program of conspiracy between the Cuban state and the Catholic church to remove thousands of children from their parents and the U.S.

All of this is true – only in reverse. The victim of the hostile aggression has always been Cuba. The country may be the worst victim of terrorism in the Post-WWII era. But in the bizarro world of the U.S. government, in a textbook case of projection, it is the Cuban government who is responsible for sabotage, destabilization and interference. The U.S. has even designated Cuba as a “state sponsor or terror.” In a historic irony, it was Saddam Hussein’s Iraq that was removed from the list to make room for Cuba in the early ’80s.

Terrorism was the main tactic in the campaign of subversion and interference that started immediately after the success of the revolutionary movement led by Fidel Castro. In March 1960,President Eisenhower green-lighted the first funds for the CIA to overthrow the new government. It is safe to say that Eisenhower did not lose any sleep over the mandate in the U.N. Charter that nations must refrain from the threat or use of force against another sovereign nation. By the time the Bay of Pigs Invasion was carried out, after being approved by new President John F. Kennedy, it was a full-scale ground operation launched in April 1961, consisting of 1,400 paramilitary troops and air support from B-26 bombers. The Cuban Army was quickly able to beat back the invasion, and the terrorist and mercenary forces quickly surrendered.

While all of Latin America rejoiced at the imperialist U.S.A. walking away with its tail between its legs, the military planners in Washington were just getting started. Their response to the humiliating defeat was not to obey international law and leave the rightful Cuban government alone, but to double down. The result was Operation Mongoose, which was authorized by President Kennedy in November 1961. Operation Mongoose involved thousands of people, millions of dollars and a violation of the Neutrality Act, which prevented CIA Operations in the United States, according to Noam Comsky.

“These Operations included bombing of hotels and industrial installations, sinking of fishing boats, poisoning of crops and livestock, contamination of sugar exports, etc. Not all these actions were specifically authorized by the CIA, but no such considerations absolve official enemies,” Chomsky writes.

Harvard historian Jorge Dominguez, in his review of thousands of declassified documents regarding the terrorist campaign against Cuba notes the complete lack of indifference toward human life.

“Only once in these nearly thousand pages of documentation did a U.S. official raise something that resembled a faint moral objection to U.S.-government sponsored terrorism’: a member of the NSC staff suggested that it might lead to some Russian reaction, and raids that are ‘haphazard and kill innocents … might mean a bad press in some friendly countries,’” Dominguez says.

The hysteria of the U.S. military planners is evident by looking at the proposed terrorist campaign Operation Northwoods, a series of false flag attacks to be carried out within the United States and blamed on Cuba to create public support for a U.S. military invasion to overthrow Castro once and for all. The project made it as far as getting approval from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but thankfully President Kennedy showed some semblance of humanity by rejecting terrorism against his own citizens.

Terrorism against Cuba continued throughout the ’60s and ’70s, but eventually operations were left to right-wing anti-Castro militants based in Miami. The new government strategy was to turn a blind eye. Many of the people in these terrorist organizations were former CIA agents and paramilitaries who were veterans of the Bay of Pigs invasion. The two most prominent and dangerous such agents were Luis Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch.

Posada and Bosch were suspected in the bombing of Cubana de Aviación Flight 455 in 1976 that killed all 78 people on board. The victims included all 24 member of the Cuban national fencing team that was returning with gold medals, after being victorious in the Central American Championships. Also on board were a group of fisherman who had completed a contract fishing in Guyana. Two men who boarded the plane and later disembarked before the plane took off from its final stop in Jamaica were later caught. Both confessed that Posada and Bosch were the masterminds behind the plot. A declassified FBI report quotes a reliable source confirming that Posada was involved in the planning.

Both men later ended up living in the U.S. Bosch would die in Florida a free man in 2011, after years of involvement with militant anti-Cuban organizations. He was jailed on unrelated charges in the ’80s, but pardoned in 1990 by George H.W. Bush. The first President Bush did so at the request of his son Jeb, who was acting on behalf of his allies in the powerful Miami anti-Castro community. The President issued his pardon despite warnings from his own Attorney General who called Bosch and “unrepentant terrorist.”

Posada has also wound up in U.S. jails but is now free living in the Miami area. The U.S. has refused to extradite him to either Venezuela or Cuba. He continued his terrorist career and was responsible for more deaths. Speaking to the New York Times, Posada admitted: “he organized a wave of bombing in Cuba [in 1997] at hotels, restaurants and discotheques, killing an Italian tourist and alarming the Cuban Government.” Mr. Posada, the article states, “was schooled in demolition and guerilla warfare by the Central Intelligence Agency in the 1960′s.”

The former CIA terrorist also admitted the involvement of other groups based in Florida. He said: “the hotel bombings and other operations had been supported by leaders of the Cuban-American National Foundation. Its founder and head, Jorge Mas Canosa, who died [in 1997], was embraced at the White House by Presidents Reagan, Bush and Clinton.”

Today Posada lives as a free man in Miami, as Bosch had before he passed away. Posada is still active in supporting anti-Castro groups such as the Ladies in White, who generated much controversy recently when members were detained in Havana for several hours upon protesting publicly.

Another example of horrific terrorist acts against Cuba are the numerous instances of chemical and biological warfare. The worst may be the alleged introduction in 1981 of dengue fever, whichkilled hundreds and sickened thousands more. Many other cases involving poison and sabotage of tobbaco and sugar crops have been reported.

In his excellent book “Voices from the Other Side: An Oral History of Terrorism Against Cuba,” Keith Bolender interviews survivors and relatives of terrorism victims in Cuba. His many interviews include a woman who lost her leg as a child from machine gun fire by terrorists from Miami attacking her coastal village; the wife of the pilot of Flight 455; a mother who lost her daughter to dengue fever; and a man who as a teenager found an unexploded bomb at a hotel while waiting to play in a chess tournament.

Bolender also puts the terrorist actions in the context of American policy.

“American aggression ran from the embargo, propaganda, isolation, and the Bay of Pigs military invasion. As the rhetoric increased, terrorist acts were formulated and carried out.. American officials estimated millions would be spent to develop internal security systems, and State Department officials expected the Cuban government to increase internal surveillance in an attempt to prevent further acts of terrorism. These systems, which restricted civil rights, became easy targets for critics,” he writes.

There are many other terrorist organizations who live openly in Florida. With names such as Omega 7, Comandos F4, Brigade 2506 and Alpha 66, these groups have admitted to killing people in the past and announce their intention to do so in the future.

“Other than an occasional federal gun charge, nothing much seems to happen to most of these would-be-revolutionaries,” write Tristram Korten and Kirk Nielsen in Salon. “They are allowed to train nearly unimpeded despite making explicit plans to violate the 70-year-old U.S. Neutrality Act and overthrow a sovereign country’s government… No one has ever been charged for anti-Cuban terrorism under [anti-terror] laws.”

The article goes on to mention how the federal government has failed to extradite other militants accused of terrorism and murder such as Luis Posada Carriles.

Anyone who has use of his brain can see the hypocrisy in the U.S.’s official position on terrorism enunciated by George W. Bush in an address to Congress the week after September 11, 2001.

“From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime. Our nation has been put on notice, we’re not immune from attack. We will take defensive measures against terrorism to protect Americans,” Bush said. Shortly after, he ordered the invasion of Afghanistan after refusing to provide the Taliban regime with any evidence that Osama bin Laden was responsible for the 9/11 attacks.

According to his own doctrine, Bush himself would be fair game for a Venezuelan commando raid on his Crawford ranch. And his father would likewise be a legitimate target in his Kennebunkport home for a Panamanian commando squad. Cuban jet fighters and drones would be completely justified in launching attacks in Miami whenever they saw fit.

In reality, the Cuban government has decided to follow the course of international law in its efforts to combat terrorism. They have managed to infiltrate right-wing militant groups in Florida to prevent future plots. After gathering evidence and making a case for what these groups were planning, Cuban authorities shared their intelligence with FBI officials in 1997. The FBI listened to Cuba’s case, took the information back to the States – and arrested the Cubans who had foiled the plots. (For comparison, after catching the paramilitaries who physically invaded Cuba on a military mission to overthrow the government at the Bay of Pigs, most invaders were questioned and sent back to the U.S.)

The Cuban Five, as those imprisoned for fighting terrorism are called, are hardly known, if at all, in the United States. But they are heroes in the native country.

Stephen Kimber, writing in the Washington Post, tries to put the story of the Cuban Five in perspective: “Consider for a moment what would happen if American intelligence agents on the ground in a foreign country uncovered a major terrorist plot, with enough time to prevent it. And then consider how Americans would react if authorities in that country, rather than cooperate with us, arrested and imprisoned the U.S. agents for operating on their soil.

“Those agents would be American heroes. The U.S. government would move heaven and Earth to get them back.”

Members of Seal Team 6, who carried out an illegal premeditated assassination of Osama bin Laden in the sovereign territory of Pakistan, have been treated as heroes. As are soldiers who have served in the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. How can the U.S. expect to have any credibility in the world when it acts with such blatant hypocrisy?

As Noam Chomsky points out, the U.S. has a long history of hypocrisy when it comes to terrorism. In the ’80s, after Reagan announced his desire to wipe out “the evil scourge of terrorism,” the United Nations took up the issue with a resolution announcing “measures to prevent international terrorism which endangers or takes innocent human lives or jeopardizes fundamental freedoms.”

The bill was passed with virtual unanimous approval of the entire world by a vote of 153 to 2. In opposition were the United States and its client state Israel.

Chomsky describes the U.S. use of the “propagandistic approach” to terrorism. “We begin with the thesis that terrorism is the responsibility of some officially designated enemy. We then designate terrorist acts as ‘terrorist’ just in the cases where they can be attributed (whether plausibly or not) to the required source; otherwise they are to be ignored, suppressed, or termed ‘retaliation’ or ‘self-defence.’”

A look at the U.S.’s flagrant disregard for international law and principles reveals actions such as denial of habeas corpus and due proccess (originated in the Magna Carta almost 800 years ago); unilaterally undertaking aggressive wars; “shock and awe” bombings; extraordinary renditions; and extrajudicial assassinations, including with drone strikes and Hellfire missiles. These all demonstrate the extent to which the U.S. is willing to disobey all legal and moral conventions to achieve its political goals, all in the name of fighting terrorism.

To deny that Cuba and its residents have been, and are the victims of terrorism for more than half a century is an outrage. To add insult to injury by labeling the Cuban government a sponsor of terrorism because of political considerations is just cruel.

The many victims of terrorism in Cuba may never see justice carried out by those responsible. But their suffering is the same as that felt by Americans after 9/11. The least we can do is admit that, and stop allowing our government to use terrorism as a propaganda tool for its own convenience while the real human cost is ignored in countries other than our own.

* Matt Peppe holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at SUNY Albany and a bachelor’s degree in English and American Literature from NYU. He writes about U.S. foreign policy and Latin America on his blog:,

November letter to Obama / Carta a Obama desde los Pirineos

October 31, 2013


Mr President Obama November first, 2013
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.
Washington DC 20500 (USA)

Mr President,

Here we are in November of 2013, and the four Cubans, Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González, and Ramón Labañino, have still not been set free.

I often wonder what the real reasons were for their being arrested on September 12th 1998. FBI agents had already uncovered the Avispa Network agents since 1996, but held off arresting them as they were infiltrating the Florida Mafia underground and were furnishing precious information to the FBI.

It was during Bill Clinton’s presidency that they were arrested by Hector Pesquera. At that time, Bill Clinton was caught up in the “Monica Lewinski” affair, and the arrests of the members of Avispo sparked off a worldwide media show. I remember, in France, that every TV channel discussed “the arrest of the Cuban spies” all day long. Was it that the attention of the United States and the world had to be diverted from this “Monica-gate”?

When the Cuban agents discovered, in 1998, that terrorist attacks were being planned against airlines serving Cuba, the Cuban authorities alerted the United States government. Curiously, Hector Pesquera, a Porto Rican, arrived in Miami a month later. He was a CIA agent very close to the Cuban-American Mafia underground in Florida. In June 1998, Cuban authorities handed over to an FBI delegation that had come to Havana, all the documents needed to arrest the terrorists.

In Miami, Hector Pesquera was elbowing his way in to be chosen as the head of the South Florida FBI. He achieved his ends in September of 1998 and, ten days later, he had the Cubans arrested.

Hector Pesquera would remain as the head of the FBI until 2003. While he was putting all his energy into dealing with the Cubans, he closed his eyes to the suspicious activities of the fourteen members of Al Qaeda, who were taking flying lessons at the Opa-Locka airport, just a stone’s throw from his office. Nevertheless, these student pilots, very mediocre according to their teachers, accomplished wonders on September 11th 2001. They even brought down the WTC Tower 7 – without even touching it! But, this is another story, and Sibel Deniz Edmonds, a translator, would tell you more about it if she hadn’t been forced into silence. All this happened under your predecessor George W. Bush.

Let’s go back to Hector Pesquera. The assassination of President Fidel Castro was supposed to have taken place in 1997 during the Iberia-American Summit on the Venezuelan island of Margarita. This assassination attempt failed because José Antonio Llama’s yacht, which was transporting the commandos and the materials destined for the assassination had been seized by the Coast Guard while they were heading towards the island of Margarita. The arsenal found aboard the yacht was not that of peaceful fishermen and the “crew members” were arrested. José Antonio Llama and the commando members were acquitted by an indulgent jury in 1999, supposedly because of “lack of proof”. Hector Pesquera’s testimony surely had something to do with this acquittal.

Another assassination attempt against Fidel Castro had been cooked up in 2000, during the Iberia-American Summit in Panama. The notorious terrorist Luis Posada Carriles, with the help of three accomplices, had planned to blow up the amphitheater at the University of Panama where the Cuban president was to have spoken. A horrifying carnage had been just barely avoided. Posada Carriles and his accomplices were arrested and sentenced in Panama. In 2006, Ann Louise Bardach, a North American, revealed that FBI agent Ed Pesquera, Hector’s son, had given the order to put all the original documents of the Posada Carriles case, which were kept in the Miami FBI office, into the shredder. This was just before Hector’s sentencing in Panama. The Panama Court, as a matter of fact, required the original documents, not photocopies or facsimiles.

After having spent eight years in prison in Panama, Luis Posada Carriles and his accomplices were granted a pardon by the President of Panama, Mireya Moscoso, just six days before she finished her presidential mandate in 2004. Hector Pesquera quit his post as chief of the South Florida FBI in December of 2003. In April of 2004, he was running the autonomous BTS (Border and Transportations Security). He was therefore directly controlling the access to every harbour in Florida. This is how Luis Posada Carriles was able to illegally slip into Miami aboard the shrimp boat “la Santrina”, in the middle of March 2005.

Hector Pesquera held his place at the BTS up until March 26th 2012, the date when he was named, for one year, as the Superintendent of the Port Rican Police. To everybody’s surprise, just two months ago this post was renewed.

Mr President, when one digs a little into the Cuban Five story, and that of the FBI officer who arrested them, one comes to the only possible conclusion that these Cubans are political prisoners. You must liberate, as soon as possible, the four who are still in prison.

Don’t you think that the time has come to normalize relations with Cuba for the world of good it will do for your two countries?

Please receive, Mr President, the expression of my most sincere humanitarian sentiments.

Jacqueline Roussie
64360 Monein (France)

Translated by William peterson

Copies sent to: Mrs. Michelle Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Kathryn Ruemmler and to Mr. Joe Biden, John F. Kerry, Rand Beers, Harry Reid, Eric Holder, Denis MacDonough, Pete Rouse, Rick Scott, ad Charles Rivkin, United States Ambassador in France.

_1-Correo para Obama.Autor Adán-g

Carta a Obama desde los Pirineos

1º de noviembre de 2013

Señor Presidente Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.
Washington DC 20500

Señor Presidente:

Ya estamos en noviembre de 2013, y los cuatro cubanos Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González y Ramón Labañino no han sido aún liberados.

A menudo me pregunto sobre las razones de su detención el 12 de septiembre de 1998. Los servicios del FBI habían notado la presencia de los agentes de la red Avispa desde el año 1996, pero sin arrestarles ya que se infiltraron en los círculos de la mafia de la Florida y proporcionaban valiosa información al FBI.

Fue bajo la Presidencia de Bill Clinton que ellos fueron arrestados por Héctor Pesquera. En aquel momento, Bill Clinton estaba sumido en el caso “Monica Lewinski y el arresto de los miembros de esta red dieron lugar a un verdadero programa de publicidad en el mundo. Recuerdo las transmisiones de televisión en Francia donde en todos los canales este era el tema de información, “la detención de los espías cubanos”. ¿Era necesario desviar la atención de la población de los Estados Unidos y del mundo de este “monicagate”?

Cuando los agentes cubanos supieron en abril de 1998 que se estaban preparando atentados contra aviones que brindaban servicios a Cuba, las autoridades cubanas alertaron al gobierno de los Estados Unidos. Curiosamente, el puertorriqueño Héctor Pesquera llegó a Miami un mes más tarde. Era un agente de la CIA muy vinculado con los círculos de la mafia cubano americana de la Florida. En junio de 1998, las autoridades cubanas entregaron a una delegación del FBI venida a la Habana, todos los documentos para detener a los terroristas.

Héctor Pesquera en Miami, realizó su sucia maniobra para que le nombraran jefe del FBI del sur de la Florida. Llegó a su fin en septiembre de 1998, y diez días después fueron arrestados los Cubanos.

Héctor Pesquera, permanecerá al frente del FBI hasta 2003. En el momento cuando él puso toda su energía para ocuparse de los cubanos, cerró los ojos sobre las acciones sospechosas de los catorce miembros de Al Quaida que tomaban lecciones de vuelo en el aeropuerto de Opa-Locka a dos pasos de su oficina. Estos malos estudiantes, según sus profesores, llevaron a cabo sus proezas, el 11 de septiembre de 2001. Incluso habían hecho derrumbarse la Torre 7 del W T C… sin haberla tocada. Pero esto es otra historia y la traductora Sibel Deniz Edmonds podría decirle más, si no hubiera sido obligada a callarse. Fue bajo la Presidencia de su predecesor George W. Bush.

Volvemos a Héctor Pesquera. Un asesinato del Presidente Fidel Castro había sido programado en 1997 durante la Cumbre Iberoamericana en la isla venezolana de Margarita. Este ataque fracasó, porque el yate de José Antonio Llama, que transportaba el comando y materiales destinados a este magnicidio fue detenido por la guardia costera mientras se dirigía hacia la isla Margarita. El arsenal encontrado a bordo no era él de pacíficos pescadores y los “hombres” fueron detenidos. José Antonio Llama y los miembros del comando fueron absueltos en 1999, por “falta de pruebas” por un jurado complaciente. El testimonio de Héctor Pesquera durante su juicio, no fue ajeno a esta absolución.

Otro atentado contra Fidel Castro había sido planeado para la Cumbre de América Latina del año 2000 a Panamá esta vez. El connotado terrorista Luis Posada Carriles, con la ayuda de tres cómplices, tenía la intención de estallar el Paraninfo de la Universidad de Panamá, donde debía intervenir el Presidente cubano. Se evitó in extremis una atroz matanza. Posada Carriles y sus cómplices fueron detenidos y condenados en Panamá. En 2006, la periodista norteamericano Ann Louise Bardach reveló a que el agente del FBI Ed Pesquera, hijo de Héctor, dio la orden, en agosto de 2003 de pasar a la trituradora todos los documentos originales del expediente de Posada Carriles guardados en las instalaciones del FBI en Miami. Fue poco antes de su juicio en Panamá. Los tribunales de hecho requieren el original de los documentos, no copias o facsímiles.

Después de ocho años de prisión en Panamá, Luis Posada Carriles y sus cómplices fueron indultados por la entonces Presidenta Mireya Moscoso seis días antes del final de su mandato presidencial en 2004. Héctor Pesquera dejó sus funciones como jefe del FBI del sur de la Florida en diciembre de 2003. En abril de 2004 dirigió el BTS (frontera y seguridad de transportes) de la Florida. Así, controlaba el acceso a todos los puertos de Florida. Así fue que Luis Posada Carriles pudo sin preocupaciones regresar clandestinamente a Miami a bordo de la embarcación ‘Santrina’ a mediados de marzo de 2005.

Héctor Pesquera se mantuvo en este oficio al BTS hasta el 26 de marzo de 2012, fecha en que fue nombrado por un año Superintendente de la policía de Puerto Rico. Acaba de ser reconducido en esta función hace dos meses, para sorpresa General.

Señor Presidente, cuando estudiamos un poco el asunto de los Cinco y del agente del FBI que les detuvo, se puede entender que estos Cubanos son presos políticos. Debe usted liberar más rápidamente a los cuatro que se encuentren aún detenidos.

¿No cree usted que ya es hora de normalizar sus relaciones con Cuba, por el bien de ambos países?

Reciba Señor, la expresión de mis sentimientos humanistas más sinceras.

Jacqueline Roussie
64360 Monein

Copias a: Señoras Michelle Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Kathryn Ruemmler. Señores Joe Biden, John F. Kerry, Rand Beers, Denis MacDonough, Harry Reid, Eric Holder , Pete Rouse, Rick Scott, y Charles Rivkin, Embajador de EEUU en Francia.


The Cuban Five were fighting terrorism. Why did we put them in jail?

October 5, 2013


Washington Post Opinion

By Stephen Kimber, Friday, October 4, 11:12 AM

Stephen Kimber teaches journalism at the University of King’s College in Halifax, Canada, and is the author of What Lies Across the Water: The Real Story of the Cuban Five (,)

Consider for a moment what would happen if American intelligence agents on the ground in a foreign country uncovered a major terrorist plot, with enough time to prevent it. And then consider how Americans would react if authorities in that country, rather than cooperate with us, arrest and imprison the U.S. agents for operating on their soil.

Those agents would be American heroes today. The U.S. government would move heaven and Earth to get them back.

This sort of scenario has occurred, except that, in the real-life version, which unfolded 15 years ago last month, the Americans play the role of the foreign government, and Cuba – yes, Fidel Castro’s Cuba – plays the role of the aggrieved United States.

In the early 1990s, after the demise of the Soviet Union made the collapse of Cuba’s communist government seem inevitable, Miami’s militant Cuban exile groups ratcheted up their efforts to overthrow Castro by any means possible, including terrorist attacks. In 1994, for example, Rodolfo Frometa, the leader of an exile group, was nabbed in an FBI sting trying to buy a Stinger missile, a grenade launcher and anti-tank rockets that he said he planned to use to attack Cuba. In 1995, Cuban police arrested two Cuban Americans after they tried to plant a bomb at a resort in Varadero.

Those actions clearly violated U.S. neutrality laws, but America’s justice system mostly looked the other way. Although Frometa was charged, convicted and sentenced to almost four years in jail, law enforcement agencies rarely investigated allegations involving exile militants, and if they did, prosecutors rarely pursued charges. Too often, Florida’s politicians served as apologists for the exile community’s hard-line elements.

But the Cubans had their own agents on the ground in Florida. An intelligence network known as La Red Avispa was dispatched in the early 1990s to infiltrate militant exile groups. It had some successes. Agents thwarted a 1994 plan to set off bombs at the iconic Tropicana nightclub, a tourist hot spot in Havana. And they short-circuited a 1998 scheme to send a boat filled with explosives from the Miami River to the Dominican Republic to be used in an assassination attempt against Castro.

In the spring of 1998, Cuban agents uncovered a plot to blow up an airplane filled with beach-bound tourists from Europe or Latin America. (The plot resonated: Before 2001, the most deadly act of air terrorism in the Americas had been the 1976 midair bombing of Cubana Airlines Flight 455, which killed all 73 passengers and crew members.)

Castro enlisted his friend, Nobel Prize-winning novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez, to carry a secret message about the plot to President Bill Clinton. The White House took the threat seriously enough that the Federal Aviation Administration warned airlines.

In June of that year, FBI agents flew to Havana to meet with their Cuban counterparts. During three days in a safe house, the Cubans provided the FBI with evidence their agents had gathered on various plots, including the planned airplane attack and an ongoing campaign of bombings at Havana hotels that had taken the life of an Italian Canadian businessman.

But the FBI never arrested anyone in connection with the airplane plot or the hotel attacks – even after exile militant Luis Posada Carriles bragged about his role in the Havana bombings to the New York Times in July 1998. Instead, on Sept. 12, 1998, a heavily armed FBI SWAT team arrested the members of the Cuban intelligence network in Miami.

The five agents were tried in that hostile-to-anything-Cuban city, convicted on low-bar charges of “conspiracy to commit” everything from espionage to murder and sentenced to impossibly long prison terms, including one double life sentence plus 15 years.

Fifteen years later, four of the Cubans still languish in American prisons.

Now you begin to understand why the Cuban Five – as they have become known – are national heroes in their homeland, why pictures of their younger selves loom on highway billboards all over the island, why every Cuban school child knows them by their first names: Gerardo, René, Ramon, Fernando and Antonio.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland has stated that the Cuban Five “were all convicted in U.S. courts of committing crimes against the United States, including spying, treason.”

It is true that three of the five men – Antonio Guerrero, Ramon Labañino and Fernando Gonzalez – did have, in part, military missions beyond simply infiltrating and reporting back on the activities of Miami’s exile groups. But their purpose was not to steal America’s military secrets or compromise U.S. security.

During the 1990s, Cuban authorities believed theirs might be the next Caribbean country to face an American military invasion. It wasn’t a stretch when you consider Grenada (1983), Panama (1989) and Haiti (1994). Then, too, there was the growing influence of militantly anti-Castro lobbying groups such as the Cuban American National Foundation, which were pushing Washington to overthrow Castro and his brother.

Based on its assessments of those earlier invasions, Cuban intelligence had developed a checklist of signals that an invasion might be imminent: a sudden influx of combat and reconnaissance aircraft to a southern military base, for example, or unexpected, unexplained visits by military brass to Southern Command headquarters in Miami.

Agents such as Antonio Guerrero – who worked as a janitor at the Boca Chica Naval Air Station in Key West from 1993 until his arrest in 1998 and is serving 22 years in prison – were Cuba’s low-tech equivalents of U.S. spy satellites, counting planes on runways and reporting back to Havana.

Of course, Cuban authorities were eager to vacuum up every tidbit of gossip their agents could find, and Havana occasionally pressured Guerrero to up his game; he responded mostly by sending clippings from base newspapers. No wonder. Guerrero spoke little English and had no security clearance; military secrets were well above his pay grade. And U.S. military secrets were never Cuba’s real priority – it just wanted to know if the Yankees were about to invade.

Seven months after the FBI charged the five with relatively insignificant counts – failing to register as foreign agents, using false identities and, more seriously but less specifically, conspiracy to commit espionage – prosecutors tacked on the charge that would galvanize Cuba’s exile community.

They charged Gerardo Hernandez, the leader of the network, with conspiracy to commit murder in connection with the shootdown three years earlier of two Brothers to the Rescue aircraft.

Brothers to the Rescue, an anti-Castro group that had been rescuing rafters in the Straits of Florida but had lost its raison d’etre after a 1994 immigration deal between Washington and Havana, had been illegally violating Cuban airspace for more than a year, occasionally raining down anti-government leaflets on Havana. The Cubans protested the flights. The U.S. government did its best to prevent further incursions, but the wheels of the FAA bureaucracy ground slowly.

In early 1996, the Cubans sent messages to Washington through various intermediaries, warning that if the United States didn’t stop further Brothers flights, the Cubans would.
Washington didn’t.

So the Cubans did. On the afternoon of Feb. 24, 1996, Cuban fighter jets blew two small, unarmed Brothers to the Rescue aircraft out of the sky, killing all four men aboard.
The Cubans claim that the planes were inside their territory. The U.S. government claims – and the International Civil Aviation Organization agreed – that the planes were in international airspace when they were attacked.

But did Hernandez really know in advance that the Cuban government planned to shoot down those planes? Was he involved in the planning?

My answer is no. During my research for a book on the Cuban Five, I reviewed all 20,000-plus pages of the trial transcript and sifted through thousands of pages of decrypted communications between Havana and its agents. I found no evidence that Hernandez had any knowledge of, or influence on, the events that day.

The evidence instead paints a picture of a Cuban intelligence bureaucracy obsessed with compartmentalizing and controlling information. Hernandez, a field-level illegal intelligence officer, had no need to know what Cuba’s military planned. The messages and instructions from Havana were ambiguous, hardly slam-dunk evidence, particularly for a charge of conspiracy to commit murder.

In one message, for example, Hernandez’s bosses refer to a plan to “perfect the confrontation” with Brothers to the Rescue, which prosecutors insisted meant shooting down the planes.

But as Judge Phyllis A. Kravitch pointed out – in her 2008 dissent from a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuitupholding the murder charge against Hernandez – “There are many ways a country could ‘confront’ foreign aircraft. Forced landings, warning shots, and forced escorted journeys out of a country’s territorial airspace are among them – as are shoot downs.” She said that prosecutors “presented no evidence” to link Hernandez to the shootdown. “I cannot say that a reasonable jury – given all the evidence – could conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that Hernandez agreed to a shoot down,” Kravitch wrote.

A “reasonable jury.” There’s the rub.

By the late 1990s, Miami juries had become so notorious in cases involving Cuban exiles that federal prosecutors in a different case opposed a defense motion for a change of venue from Puerto Rico to Miami for some Cuban exiles accused of plotting to assassinate Castro.

Miami “is a very difficult venue for securing a conviction for so-called freedom fighters,” former U.S. attorney Kendall Coffey explained to the Miami Herald at the time. “I had some convictions, but some acquittals that defied all reason.”

Anti-Cuban militants, in fact, were considered heroes. In 2008, more than 500 Miami exile movers and shakers gathered to honor Posada’s contributions to la causa – as the effort to overthrow Castro is known in the community – at a gala dinner.

His contributions? Besides the Havana hotel attacks (“I sleep like a baby,” he told the New York Times, commenting on the tourist who was killed), Posada is the alleged mastermind of the bombing of Cubana Flight 455. Cuba and Venezuela have asked for his extradition. The United States has refused.

In 2000, Posada was arrested in Panama in connection with a plot to assassinate Castro; he was convicted and served four yearsbefore receiving a still-controversial pardon. That pardon was revoked in 2008.

The closest the U.S. government has come to prosecuting Posada was in 2009, when the Obama administration charged him – not for his role in the Havana bombings but for lying about his role on an immigration form. He was acquitted.

Today, Posada, 85, walks the streets of Miami, a living contradiction in America’s war on terrorism. How to square his freedom with President George W. Bush’s post-Sept. 11 declaration that “any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime?” How to square Posada’s freedom with the continued imprisonment of the Cuban Five, whose primary goal was to prevent terrorist attacks?

It is a contradiction Americans should consider.

To learn more about the Cuban 5 visit:,
To order a copy of the book write to,
International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5

U.S. harboring two CIA tortures who assassinated Cuban diplomats

August 17, 2013


by Jean-Guy Allard

TWO CIA agents who participated in Argentina in the torture of Cuban diplomats Jesús Cejas – whose remains were recently returned to Cuba – and Crescencio Galañena, have been living untroubled for a number of years in the United States, protected by the country’s authorities.

Michael Townley, a U.S. agent loaned by the CIA to the DINA (the secret police of the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile) and Guillermo Novo Sampol, an old Cuban-American accomplice of CIA agent Luis Posada Carriles, are protected by the FBI, with which they always cooperated, and the CIA, for which they executed dirty tasks, and the State Department, which ignores their presence in U.S. territory.

It is documented that Townley and Novo played an active part in the torture of Cuban diplomats Jesús Cejas Arias and Crescencio Galañena Hernández, who disappeared in Argentina during the military dictatorship (1976-1983).

José Luis Mendéz Méndez, a Cuban historian and researcher, has spent years following the search for the remains of the two men, considered as martyrs by the Cuban Revolution.

In the course of his meticulous investigations, Méndez interviewed Manuel Contreras Sepúlveda, chief of the Chilean DINA, on July 19, 2004.

“Contreras disclosed that on August 11, 1976, his U.S. agent Michael Townley and the international terrorist living under protection in Miami, Guillermo Novo Sampol, traveled to Argentina to interrogate and torture Cuban diplomats Jesús Cejas Arias and Crescencio Galañena Hernández.”

The remains of the two Cuban diplomats were discovered in Virreyes, 28 kilometers outside of Buenos Aires, an area where excavations were underway in the search for victims of that period of Argentine history. Cejas and Galañena were kidnapped on August 9, 1976 in the Belgrano district of Argentina.

The Cuban Five Case Inside-Out

July 31, 2013


by Dawn Gable

HAVANA TIMES — The endnotes of What Lies Across the Water* opens with: “The truth is — everybody lies.” But I believe author Stephen Kimber when he says that as part of his research for this book he read the more than 20,000-pages of United States of America vs. Gerardo Hernández ” from opening gavel to final sentencing.”

His detailed presentation of the case of the Cuban Five– five counter-terrorism agents, who operated in Miami and who refused to plea bargain when the larger network of Cuban agents they belonged to was arrested, is evidence of the painstaking digging Kimber has done to bring readers this full-blown account.

Although the subtitle is The Real Story of the Cuban Five, this book is much more than that. It peers into all the nooks and crannies of the last couple of decades of the ongoing saga of Miami-originated violence against the Cuban people, its leaders, and anyone perceived as friendly to its government or economy. It shines a light on famous villains such as Luis Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch and introduces lesser known perpetrators like Francisco Chavez Abarca and Santiago Alvarez.

Relying on news articles, interviews, court evidence and government documents, in both English and Spanish, Kimber reports on the failed attempts by the U.S. and Cuban governments, in the late 1990′s, to cooperate on mutual national security concerns, employing a cast of characters ranging from U.S. diplomat Michael Kozak and Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez as well as the FBI and Cuban State Security.

He draws from documents obtained through FIOA requests, filed by the National Security Archives and investigative journalists, to give shape to the newest piece of the puzzle– Alan Gross, a USAID subcontractor hired to carry out aspects of the State Department’s regime change program inside Cuba, who is currently serving a 15 year sentence in a Cuban prison.

Far from being a boring account of deeds and misdeeds, Kimber employs eloquent prose and an enjoyable style to draw the reader into the tangled layers of terrorism and murder, espionage and deception, propaganda and myths, life sentences and impunity, meanness and hatred, love and sacrifice, romance and solitude, patriotism and delusion, good intentions and bad, and lies, lies, and more lies.

It reads like a page-turner novel, but it’s not. It is the unbelievably tragic history of modern U.S.-Cuba relations. Kimber, a professor of journalism at Halifax University and author of several other books, uses his brilliant turn of phrase to help his readers navigate through the tall tales and “official truths” guiding them to a more realistic view of the landscape and the prospects for diplomatic relations between the two feuding countries, for freedom for Alan Gross and the four Cuban agents still under lock and key, and for a life without fear of violence and intervention for the Cuban people.

I have only one criticism of the writing: the constant use of the term “America” when referring to the United States.

The only shortcomings I can mention in terms of content is, in reality, just my desire to keep the conversation going. Kimber begins his book listing its main characters, and ends it with a “where are they now” section. I would like to have seen more names on this lists.

For example, Michael Kozak, who was head U.S. diplomat in Cuba during the hotel bombing campaign and whose role in the FBI-Cuban State Security cooperative efforts are outlined in the book, is currently the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, which receives large sums of Cuba regime change money, which it funnels into the National Endowment for Democracy.

Hector Pesquera is another. As the book explains, he was the FBI agent in charge who ordered the arrest of the Cuban agents and later ordered the FBI’s files on Posada Carriles to be destroyed. While focusing his attention on the Cubans, he completely missed the 9-11 attackers who were preparing, within his jurisdiction, to murder thousands of U.S. citizens. Pesquera is currently the Superintendent of the Puerto Rico Police and recently there has been speculation that he is in the running to replace Janet Napolitano for Secretary of Homeland Security.

Lastly, whatever happened to the agents who turned state’s evidence against their brothers? Their sentences were up long ago. Surely they were not welcomed back to Cuba, but would they be safe in Miami. The big unsolved mystery in the case of the Cuban Five is how the FBI was originally tipped off to the agent network. Is there any reason to believe that one of those agents was a snitch all along?

I have been following the case of the Cuban Five for over a decade and have translated dozens of articles about their case. I have also translated entire books on exile violence against Cuba, but this book offered tidbits that I was unaware of, drew connections that I had not noticed before, and most importantly to me, confirmed some suspicions and dispelled a few rumors that I was unsure about. I am confident that even expert Cubanologists will find What Lies Across the Water useful, informative, at times infuriating, but always entertaining.

*Fernwood Publishing, 296 pages. Available for pre-order at

Senator and buddy of CIA terrorist threatens “any” country granting asylum to Snowden

July 9, 2013

! cuba-terrorismo

JEAN-GUY ALLARD – (sigue en español )

Known for his long friendship with Luis Posada Carriles – the torturer, terrorist, assassin and CIA terrorist- Robert “Bob” Menendez, the current head of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, threatened “serious political and economic implications for “countries that would grant asylum and protection to Edward Snowden – the CIA contractor who revealed the crimes of the agency.

Menendez is the member of the Senate who met on May 17, 2011 with Luis Posada Carriles, in a restaurant in West New York, to congratulate the old murderer for his pardon by a Texas court, an operation led by none other than Roger Noriega , the former senior State Department official. The senator is famous for his links with the mafia, both Cuban and Italian, and is a faithful ally of Miami Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the president also of the “defense fund” for Posada.

“It is clear that any acceptance of Snowden by any country, any of these three or another, is going to pit them directly against the United States. They need to know that,” Menendez said, referring to Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia.

“It is very clear that any of these countries which that agree to offer political asylum are taking a stand against the United States. It is a very clear statement. I’m not surprised by the countries that are offering asylum,” said the person who was involved for months in a sex scandal with underage Dominican prostitutes. The Senator was also in the headlines for his role in advocating the business interests of a wealthy donor and friend, the ophthalmologist Salomon Melgin, of Dominican origin who lives in Florida.

In April 2006, the Senator appeared in Geneva to attack Cuba before the Human Rights Commission with his personal assistant José Manuel Alvarez, a CIA hitman. He also traveled with Alfredo Chumaceiro, implicated in the murder – ordered by dictator Augusto Pinochet – of the former Chilean minister Orlando Letelier in Washington which occurred in the diplomat’s neighborhood.

Menendez was mayor of Union City, New Jersey, a resident of New York, since 1986, and gave the city a reputation as a paradise for gambling, racketeering, extortion, fraud and prostitution.

As for Luis Posada Carriles, he is sought by Venezuela for his complicity in the midair destruction of a Cuban airliner which killed 73 people. Posada was head of a death squad of the old DISIP Venezuelan secret police, which for years disappeared, tortured and murdered dozens of young Venezuelan revolutionaries. He participated in several assassination attempts against Fidel Castro, the leader of the Cuban Revolution.

Senador socio de terrorista CIA amenaza a “cualquier” país que otorga asilo a Snowden


Conocido por su larga amistad con Luis Posada Carriles, – el torturador, sicario y terrorista de la CIA – Roberto “Bob” Menéndez, el actual titular del Comité de Relaciones Exteriores del Senado norteamericano, amenazó de “serias implicaciones políticas y económicas” a los países que otorgarían asilo y protección a Edward Snowden – contratista CIA que reveló crímenes de esta agencia.
Menéndez es este miembro del Senado quién se reunió el 17 de mayo de 2011 con Luis Posada Carriles, en un restaurante de West New York, para felicitar el viejo asesino para su indulto por un tribunal tejano, una operación dirigida por nada menos que Roger Noriega, el ex alto funcionario del Departamento de Estado. El senador famoso por sus lazos con la mafia, tanto italiana que cubanoamericana, es un aliado fiel de la Representante por Miami Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, la también Presidente del “Fondo de defensa” de Posada.
“Es evidente que cualquier aceptación de Snowden de algún país, cualquiera de estos tres u otro, va a ponerlos directamente en contra de Estados Unidos. Necesitan saber eso”, dijo Menéndez, en referencia a Venezuela, Nicaragua y Bolivia.
“Es muy claro que cualquiera de estos países que aceptan ofrecerle asilo político están dando un paso en contra de Estados Unidos. Es una declaración muy clara. No estoy sorprendido por los países que le están ofreciendo asilo”, aseveró el personaje involucrado desde meses en un escándalo sexual con prostitutas dominicanas menores de edad. El Senador estuvo también en los titulares por su papel al abogar por los intereses empresariales de un acaudalado donador y amigo, el oftalmólogo residente en Florida y de origen dominicano Salomón Melgen.
En abril 2006, el Senador se apareció en Ginebra para atacar a Cuba ante la Comisión de los Derechos Humanos con su ayudante personal José Manuel Alvarez, sicario CIA. También viajó con Alfredo Chumaceiro, implicado en el asesinato – ordenado por el dictador Augusto Pinochet – del ex ministro chileno Orlando Letelier, ocurrido en Washington en pleno barrio diplomático.
Menéndez fue alcalde de Union City, vecina de Nueva York, a partir de 1986, e hizo que la ciudad tenga fama de paraíso del juego, del racketeering, de la extorsión, del fraude y de la prostitución.
En cuanto a Luis Posada Carriles, es reclamado por Venezuela, por su complicidad en la destrucción en pleno vuelo de un avión civil cubano que provocó la muerte de 73 muertos. Posada fue jefe de un escuadrón de la muerte de la antigua DISIP, la policía secreta venezolana, que desapareció, torturó y asesinó durante años decenas de jóvenes revolucionarios venezolanos. Participó a varios intentos de asesinato del líder de la Revolución cubana, Fidel Castro.
Google translation. Revised by Walter Lippmann.

Letter of july to President Obama

July 1, 2013


Mr President Obama July first, 2013
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.
Washington DC 20500

Mr President,

Two months ago, in the Argentinean community of Virreseú, there was a gruesome discovery. Human bones, found in a barrel of cement, had been identified. They were what were left of the Cuban diplomat Jesus Cejas Arias, reported missing in August of 1976, under the dictatorship of Jorge Videla. This man vanished at the same time as his colleague Galañena Hernández. The remains of Galañela Hernández had been found and identified in 2012. He was also found in a barrel of cement.
These two young diplomats, 22 and 26 years of age, had been illegally confined at the secret center of Operation Condor at Buenos Aires, named Automotores Orletti. Your fellow citizen Guillermo Novo Sampol, a member of the sinister organization CORU, created by Orlando Bosch, had come especially from the United States to take part in the brutal interrogation of these two Cubans. Tortured and assassinated, unfortunately we know what happened to them afterwards.
Orlando Bosch and his cohort Luis Posada Carriles are notoriously famous. They were the brains behind the sabotage of the “Cubana de Aviación” plane that exploded in flight on October 6th 1976, causing 73 victims. They had a hand in a large number of terrorist attacks.
The history of the Cuban Revolution, from its beginning, is marked with assassinations, sabotages and terrorist attacks, carried out by anti-Castro terrorist groups in Florida, such as the CORU as well as many others, encouraged, and even paid for by the CIA.
The terrorist attacks against tourist infrastructures in Havana rose in number at the beginning of the eighties. This is the reason that brought the agents of the “Avispa” network to come and infiltrate the terrorist underground of Miami. Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González, Ramón Labañino, and René González, “The Cuban Five ”, as they are called, were part of this “Avispa” network.
The Cuban Five were arrested in Miami in September of 1998 by the South Florida chief of the FBI, Hector Pesquera.
During the Latin American Summit meeting in 2000, which took place in Panama, Posada Carriles, with the help of his three accomplices (one of them was Guillermo Novo Sampol), had planned to blow up the amphitheater where President Fidel Castro was to be present. Thanks to the agents who had taken the place of the “Five”, a horrifying carnage was avoided just in time. Posada Carriles and his accomplices were arrested and sentenced in Panama.
In August of 2003, the FBI agent Ted Pesquera, as despicable as his father Hector, gave the order to put all the original documents of the Posada Carriles case that were stocked in the Miami FBI office in the shredder. This was just before Carriles’ sentence was pronounced in Panama. As it happens, the court demanded the original documents and not copies or facsimiles.
Mireya Moscoso, the president of Panama, provoked a scandal in 2004 when he granted a pardon to Posada Carriles and his three henchmen just six days before the end of his term.
They had fled from Panama aboard two private jets with the complicity of the former Director of the National Police, Carlos Barés, of the Assistant Director of Service of Immigration Javier Tapia, and of the head of the Directorate of Intelligence and Information of the Police (DIIP), Arnulfo Escobar.
Orlando Bosch died free as a bird two years ago in Miami; Luis Posada Carriles is still strutting about freely under the Miami sun, while four of the Cuban Five are still imprisoned in the United States.
The situation of the Cuban Five is an injustice that nauseates humanists all over the world. At the beginning of last month, you must have heard, Mr. President, about your fellow countrymen who, for five days running, their cries resounding, they reclaimed liberty for The Five in Washington. Among them, that of Dolores Huerta. This courageous woman defends immigrant rights, and you yourself decorated her last year with the Liberty Medal.
Last May 31st, the Reverend Joan Brown Campbell, who represents the United States Church Council, went to Havana. She is hoping to help find a satisfactory solution to the affair of the four Cubans, and to that of your countryman Alan Gross. After having met with the Cuban’s families, she declared that it is time to put an end to this unpleasant incident.
You cannot wait any longer, Mr. President, to free these Cubans. You have the power to turn this page of history for your two countries. Cuba and the United States must live in mutual respect, in peace and in fraternity.
Please receive, Mr. President, the expression of my most sincere humanitarian sentiments.

Jacqueline Roussie
64360 Monein (France)

Translated by William Peterson

Copies sent to: Mrs. Michelle Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Kathryn Ruemmler, Janet Napolitano, to Mr.. Joe Biden, John F. Kerry, Denis MacDonough, Harry Reid, Eric Holder, Pete Rouse, Rick Scott, and to Charles Rivkin, United States Ambassador in France.

Cuba Ratifies Commitment to Fight Terror

June 15, 2013


Geneva, June 14 (Prensa Latina) Cuba ratified today the commitment to fight terrorism in all its forms and expressions, and proposed to adopt an international convention of general scale to face the scourge.

In her speech during a two-day conference here on the topic, Cuban delegate Lilianne Sanchez reaffirmed her country´s support to multilateral and bilateral cooperation to fight terrorism.

Sanchez said that Cuba is a signatory of 14 agreements on the matter and it has implemented internal legislative, administrative and institutional measures to complement prevention, detection and repression of all activities of this nature.

“The Cuban territory has never been used or will never be used to organize, fund or execute terrorist actions against any other country,” said Sanchez, who recalled that the Cuban people have been a victim of terrorism organized and funded from US territory, as a result of which 3,478 people have been killed and another 2,099 were maimed for life.

The Cuban delegate strongly criticized the US double standard by sheltering international terrorists like Luis Posada Carriles from justice and giving harsh sentences to anti-terrorist fighters Rene Gonzalez, Ramon Labanino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez and Gerardo Hernandez, internationally known as The Cuban Five.

She also rejected the illegitimacy of US listing Cuba as a sponsor of terrorism.

Cuba and the US terror lists by Helen Yaffe

June 14, 2013

! cuba-terrorismo

Since 1959, nearly 3,500 Cubans have been killed and 2,100 permanently maimed as a result of terrorism launched from the United States by groups with links to the US government. Not a single US citizen has been injured or killed by terrorism linked to revolutionary Cuba. The only Cuban terrorists are counter-revolutionaries recruited by the CIA. Most infamous among them is Luis Posada Carriles, who lives freely in Miami. President Obama has excelled in the US practice of state terror: through its occupying armies, support for dictators, rendition flights, torture of prisoners, forced feeding of hunger strikers in Guantanamo prison camp, drone-strike assassinations around the world and repression of internal dissent. Yet in the topsy turvy world of imperialism, the US labels socialist Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism and points to black revolutionary Assata Shakur to prove it. HELEN YAFFE reports.

The US began its list of ‘state sponsors of terrorism’ in 1979, adding Cuba in 1982, because, it said: ‘Havana openly advocates armed revolution as the only means for leftist forces to gain power in Latin America, and the Cubans have played an important role in facilitating the movement of men and weapons into the region.’ More recently, the US conceded that ‘the government of Cuba maintained a public stance against terrorism and terrorist financing’, but complained that revolutionaries from other armed struggles, in Colombia (FARC), the Basque Country (ETA) and the US (Assata Shakur), reside in Cuba. Basque ETA members are in Cuba through an agreement with the Spanish and Panamanian governments and Cuba is currently hosting peace talks between the FARC and the Colombian government. An increasing vociferous international campaign demands that Cuba be removed from the US list. However, on 1 May 2013, the US announced that Cuba would remain on the list of terror states. On 2 May, the FBI added Assata Shakur to another US list – ‘most wanted terrorists’. Since ‘Cuba refuses to support real terrorists, the FBI … has taken it upon itself to invent one!’ (Dawn Gable,, 4 May 2013).

Assata Shakur – freedom fighter*

Assata Shakur is a black woman from the US; a fugitive from US injustice. She was a political activist in the 1960s and 1970s in community organisations, student and anti-war movements and then joined the Black Panther Party, helping to run free breakfast programmes for poor black children. In 1969, the then director of the FBI, J Edgar Hoover, stated: ‘The Black Panther Party, without question, represents the greatest threat to the internal security of the country’. He set out to destroy it, under a relentless FBI ‘counter-intelligence’ programme, COINTELPRO, to neutralise organisations challenging US racism and imperialism; using infiltration, misinformation, division, criminalisation and assassination. Following persecution, Assata went underground as a member of the Black Liberation Army. Assata was engaged in a liberation struggle against a racist, oppressive state which had declared war on radical activists. In one of her rare interviews, in Havana 1996, Assata told FRFI ( ‘In 1973 I was captured. I was shot, once with my hands in the air and once in the back. I was left to die. They kept coming back and saying ‘Is she dead yet? Is she dead yet?’ I was finally taken to hospital and kept for four days incommunicado, questioned, interrogated and tortured, even though I was paralysed.’ She was framed for the murder of the New Jersey State Trooper who was shot in the incident. The forensic evidence shows Assata was innocent.

Initially cleared in court of numerous false charges designed to criminalise her, Assata was finally sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of the state trooper. She escaped from prison in 1979 and arrived in Cuba in 1984. She explained: ‘I have admired Cuba since I was at college. I read everything about Cuba that I could get my hands on. So, when I escaped from prison, my first idea was Cuba…and, luckily, people here knew who I was and they gave me the status of a political refugee’ (FRFI 131). In 2005, with no new evidence or a retrial, the FBI recategorised Assata from criminal to domestic terrorist. It did so under the guise of the 2001 Patriot Act, which saw an unprecedented and sweeping expansion of state powers to spy, search, restrict free speech, arrest, incarcerate, interrogate, punish, deport, and withhold information. A $1 million reward was offered for her capture.

On 2 May 2013, the 40th anniversary of her capture, Assata was added to the top ten ‘most wanted terrorists’, a list created after 11 September 2001. She is the first woman and the only person of African descent on this list. The FBI’s website warns: ‘She may wear her hair in a variety of styles and dress in African tribal clothing.’ The bounty on her head has been doubled to $2 million; an invitation to any vigilante to capture her, dead or alive. It is from this list that the US picks targets for its extra-judicial assassinations overseas via drones and raids.

Although it is well known that Assata resides in Cuba, billboards have been erected in New Jersey State with Assata’s face and the words ‘WANTED: TERRORIST’. Less than three weeks after the Boston marathon bombings, ‘the FBI felt compelled to frame the domestic terrorism conversation around a black revolutionary living in Cuba, instead of two white men from Boston’ (Kirsten West Savali, At a news conference on 2 May an FBI agent claimed Assata ‘is a supreme terror [sic] against the government who continues to give speeches espousing revolution and terrorism’. No evidence was or could be provided. Assata does not advocate terrorism. Fellow black activist Angela Davis said ‘certainly, Assata continues to advocate radical transformation of this country, as many of us do…That is why it seems to me that the attack on her reflects the logic of [the war on] terrorism, because it is precisely designed to frighten young people who are involved in the kind of activism that might lead to change.’ As examples she cites today’s struggles around ‘police violence, health care, education [and] people in prison’.

Cubans combating terrorism

The utter hypocrisy of the US’s ‘war on terrorism’ is exemplified in the case of the Cuban Five. In the 1990s more than 200 attacks of terrorism and sabotage against Cuba were launched from Miami. To defend Cuba from further attacks, five Cuban men risked their lives to infiltrate right-wing extremist exile groups in Miami, groups with well documented links to the US government. The Cuban Five had no guns or explosives. They were not after classified information or threatening US national security. In fact, in 1998, Cuba handed the FBI a mountain of evidence compiled by the Cuban agents from the terrorist networks. That information made it possible to prevent 170 attacks against Cuba, including a plan to blow up aeroplanes filled with Cuba-bound tourists from Europe and Canada. Instead of acting on the information to destroy the terrorist networks, the US authorities arrested, framed and incarcerated the Cuban agents. Their subsequent treatment, including many months of isolation and denial of family and legal visits, has constituted cruel and unusual punishment.

In October 2011, after 13 years of incarceration, one of the Five, Rene Gonzalez, was granted a three year ‘supervised release’ under life-threatening conditions: forced to remain in Miami in close proximity to the terrorists he had exposed. The conditions also prohibited Rene ‘from associating with or visiting specific places where individuals or groups such as terrorists, members of organizations advocating violence, organized crime figures are known to be or frequent.’ In other words, the court could identify where terrorists and criminals hang out in Miami, but rather than arrest and try them, it warned Rene not to disturb them. So much for the war on terrorism!

Among Miami’s terrorist population is Cuban exile Luis Posada Carriles, a self-confessed terrorist and ex-CIA operative, involved over decades in terrorist activities throughout the Americas. Posada’s bloody record includes the mid-air bombing of a Cuban civilian aeroplane in 1976, killing all 73 people aboard, bombing hotels and restaurants in Havana in 1997 and attempting to assassinate Fidel Castro at the University of Panama in 2000. Carriles does not appear on the list of ‘most wanted terrorists’ and has merely been charged, and then acquitted, of lying during an immigration hearing.

Finally, on 3 May 2013, a US judge granted Rene Gonzalez the right to serve the remainder of his supervised release in Cuba. This is a victory for the international campaign to free the Cuban Five anti-terrorists, the other four of whom remain incarcerated.

* See Assata: an Autobiography, Assata Shakur, Lawrence Hill Books, 2001.

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 233 June/July 2013,

U.S. hypocrisy

June 6, 2013


By Alvaro F. Fernandez ( Progreso Weekly )

MIAMI – Cuba called the decision embarrassing. Let me add hypocritical. As expected, the U.S. Dept. of State announced last week (May 30) that Cuba would remain on the state sponsor of terrorism list published annually and where Cuba has appeared since 1982.

As per the Dept. of State website, when a country appears on the list it has been “determined by the Secretary of State \[the country has] … repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism…

Currently there are four countries on the U.S. list: Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria. I don’t know about Iran, Sudan and Syria. What I am sure of is that Cuba does not belong on the list.

But it turns out that if the U.S. approves a terrorist, then they are labeled freedom fighters. Others… end up on the bully’s list.

I live in a city that provides (and provided) safe haven and aid to terrorists – persons who have publicly been honored by some of our members of congress. Goodfellas like Orlando Bosh, Luis Posada Carriles, Guillermo Novo Sampol, Pedro Remon et al. Heck! Orlando Bosh was helped along the way by the Bush family, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and even Raoul G. Cantero, who later was named a Florida Supreme Court justice, appointed by – you guessed it – then Governor Jeb Bush.

But it goes beyond Miami… or what should we call the Guantanamo Bay gulag, where the U.S. does as it pleases with prisoners – including the use of torture?

For decades the U.S. has embraced our world in unique and dangerous ways. Here are just a few examples:

[*]It is the only country to drop two atomic bombs decimating two cities (and those that surrounded them) in Japan killing and shattering the lives of millions in the process.

[*]Who helped overthrow a democratically elected government in Iran in 1953? All for the almighty black gold! This disaster later led to an even bigger one – the 1979 Iranian revolution and the establishment of an Islamic republic led by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

[*]The U.S. attacked small countries in Southeast Asia that had not done a thing to it. Our best and brightest determined the spread of communism around the world must be stopped. Or have we forgotten Vietnam and President Eisenhower’s Domino Theory?

[*]Agent Orange, a chemical weapon, was used in Vietnam as part of the U.S. warfare program destroying the environment and killing hundreds of thousands along the way. And later we are outraged at others who use – chemical weapons!

[*]Over more than half a century the U.S. has funded and trained those responsible for the hundreds if not thousands of terrorist forays into an island country in the Caribbean in the hopes of destabilizing and toppling Cuba’s government.

[*]President Nixon and Henry Kissinger have blood on their hands in the overthrow of Salvador Allende, a democratically elected president, in Chile in 1973.

[*]Have we forgotten that the U.S. trained and funded Osama bin Laden when he joined the mujahideen forces in Pakistan against the Soviets in Afghanistan helping to later create the world’s most wanted terrorist. And the terror of 9/11…

[*]Then there’s President George W. Bush who lied to attack Iraq by saying they possessed weapons of mass destruction. This led to the killing of hundreds of thousands and helped to create greater instability in that region of the world. By the way, they’re still looking for the WMDs…

I am sure I’ve missed or forgotten (or don’t even know about) hundreds if not thousands of U.S. adventures around the world as they strive to bring U.S. imposed freedom to others.

Then there’s little Cuba just 90 miles from Key West, an island nation that for centuries has refused to bow before the giant to its north. And for that reason they are condemned as terrorists.

As I said at the beginning, I’ll call them hypocrites.

Allow me to rephrase that: the U.S. should look at itself in the mirror the next time it decides to put together a list of terrorist countries.

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