Cuba and Panama restore relations

Campaign News | Monday, 22 August 2005

Rift over Posada case is mended

Havana, August 20: Cuba and Panama have restored diplomatic ties a year after they were broken off when Panama's former president pardoned four Cuban exiles.

The men had been accused of attempting to assassinate Cuban President Fidel Castro five years ago.

They included Luis Posada Carriles, branded by Cuba as the hemisphere's worst terrorist.

The states restored ties at a ceremony in the Cuban capital attended by Mr Castro and Panama's current president.

Official diplomatic relations were re-established in Havana with the signing of a document by the countries' foreign ministers.

It described a spirit of fraternity that has long linked both nations.

That spirit was briefly broken a year ago, when outgoing Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso pardoned four men in the last days of her office.

Mr Posada Carriles and three other Cuban exiles were in Panama facing jail terms of between seven and eight years after being found innocent of a plot to kill President Castro, but guilty of lesser charges.

Ms Moscoso freed the men on what she said were humanitarian grounds.

She suggested that she feared her leftist successor could extradite the men to Cuba, where they might have faced the death penalty.

Mr Posada Carriles has since emerged in the US.

His extradition is now being sought by Venezuela in connection with the bombing of a Cuban airliner in 1976, in which 73 people were killed.

Cuba, which was once shunned by many of its Latin American neighbours, now has full diplomatic relations with all of them, except for Costa Rica and El Salvador.

Posada Carriles, a Problem for the US Administration

Havana, Aug 17: Notorious Cuban-born terrorist Luis Posada Carriles represents a problem for the US administration and its Miami-based anti-Cuban cronies, who do not know how to get rid of him, Granma newspaper published Wednesday.

Given the George W Bush administration's stance on the war against terrorism, Posada Carriles has become a problem Washington and Miami do not know how to solve, according to the article by journalist Joaquin Rivery Tur.

Rivery Tur said the US is protecting a criminal before the eyes of the world while preaching that those sorts of criminals should not be helped, provided food, given shelter or money, or supported.

Under the Patriot Act, if Posada Carriles were an Arab, he would have been detained, imprisoned, tortured, taken to a country aboard one of their mysterious planes, buried in their underground prisons for interrogation, or kept in one of their floating prisons, added the paper.

Granma newspaper published that the ex Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) spook, who was involved in the Condor Plan and whose role in the assassination of former US President John F Kennedy has not been determined, had become an undesirable person and anything could happen to him.

Cuba and Venezuela, which have both suffered the consequences of the CIA school through this murderous maniac, will not let them keep the media out of Posada Carriles' case, added the daily.

It also referred to numerous terrorist activities against Havana and its people such as the blowing up of a Cuban airliner off the coast of Barbados that killed 73, mostly young people, in 1976.

Cuba?s international denunciations have so far frustrated the US conspiracy to grant Posada asylum, and forced his detention by US authorities.

Monitoring plots and activities cooked up by people like Posada and thousands like him in Florida?s south was the mission of Gerardo Hernandez, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez, Ramon Labañino and Rene Gonzalez, who were jailed in 1998 and are currently still imprisoned, despite the recent Atlanta Court of Appeal?s reversal of their convictions.

Violence and Assasinations in the United States

By Roberto Perez Betancourt

The writers of stories, novels and film scripts are used to designing their protagonists based in hypothetical criminal actions, because they know that the theme is attractive and sells.

If you search among the right-wing Cuban-American terrorists in the United States, mainly in southern Florida, the narrators would extract plenty of material from real life that even fiction lacks.

One would find acts aggression, including assassinations, committed by humans with real names and real addresses. These people are inspired by their own economic interests and by hateful revenge; they also act out of rivalry between gangs or as paid mercenaries by US governmental institutions, directly or through organizations that serves as fronts.

Some examples are the attack on November 17, 1962 against Cuban representatives to the United Nations, particularly Roberto Santiesteban Casanova, or the assassination attempt against the Cuban ambassador in New York on October 24, 1968.

An even bloodier act was the death of Cuban-born counterrevolutionary Jose Elias de la Torriente Ajuria, head of the so-called Plan Torriente, on April 12, 1974. He was killed in an act of revenge carried out by the terrorist organization "Cero," which would later give way to a revealing investigation.

The plot would contribute to uncovering information about violence among terrorist groups today that are much more motivated by the multimillion budgets approved by the Bush administration and its publicly disclosed "Transition Plan" against the Cuban Revolution.

On April 13, 1976 Cuban émigré Ramon Donestevez, a victim of numerous terrorist actions, was assassinated in his speedboat factory in Miami. Donestevez had been the editor of a magazine entitled "Verde Olivo" in the South Florida city. On the following day, the same thing occurred to another émigré, Hector Soto Arana.

Andres Purrinos, who was dedicated to recruiting right-wing Cubans to send them to the Congo as mercenaries, entered the morgue on May 20, 1976 after a visit from rival terrorists in Florida.

Two days later in Miami, the so-called Cuban National Liberation Front claimed responsibility for the death of emigrant Rene Marsella. This was followed on May 29 by the murder of the infamous Cuban gangster Jesus Gonzalez Cartas, alias "El Extrano," who became yet another victim on the list of those assassinated in the streets of Miami by the hands of their counterparts.

As we can see, in 1976 - the year in which Orlando Bosch Avila and Luis Posada Carriles headed a terrorist team that bombed a Cubana airliner in midair killing 73 innocent people on board - there was a rash of terrorist actions carried out by Cuban-born assassins, many of whom are today protected by the George W.

Bush administration.

On September 21 of that year, the former Chilean foreign minister and ex-ambassador to the US under the Salvador Allende administration, Orlando Letelier, was killed in Washington.

In that bombing, American citizen Ronni Moffitt was also killed and her husband Michael wounded.

Terrorists from the Cuban Nationalist Movement in New York and New Jersey participated in the assassination of the Chilean diplomat; among them were Guillermo Novo Sampoll, Edwin Gonzalez Morera, Jose Dionisio Suarez Esquivel, Virgilio Paz Romero and Alvin Ros Diaz.

Exactly two years later, the terrorist organization "Hijos de la Estrella Solitaria" claimed responsibility for the disappearance of an executive plane over the Bahamas in which were four Americans travelling to Havana.

On April 28, 1979, the group "Omega 7" publicly claimed the responsibility for the assassination of Cuban-born Carlos Muniz Varela in San Juan, Puerto Rico; on November 25, Cuban émigré Eulalio Negrín was killed in the streets of New Jersey while the following year a Cuban diplomat to the UN, Felix Garcia Rodriguez was assassinated in Queens, New York.

Dozens of incidents can also be added to this list. We could mention the attacks to Cuban Americans Magda Montiel and Nilda Serret on January 21, 1997 in Miami.

Both had recently returned from Havana where they had participated in the "Nation and Emigration" conference in which participants condemned Washington's blockade of the island.

As we can see, from the bullet to the blackjack, to premeditated "hits," treachery, hate and lust - all of these are mixed together like ingredients in a potion to poison souls and undertake indiscriminate actions against people within the United States itself.

We must reiterate the point that this is not fiction, but concrete acts committed by perpetrators inspired in real life.

Many of the assassins, ringleaders and henchmen are walking the streets of Florida, enjoying the protection of their godfather in the executive office of the most powerful and warmongering nation in the world.

This subject has not been exhausted. In the following article, we will touch on other events in this long chronicle where protagonists live to kill - spilling blood and forcing families into mourning.

When we analyze the long series of terrorist activities committed by Cuban-born criminals in the United States - recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency or linked to the CIA through counterrevolutionary groups, historically financed by Washington - we see their fondness for the use of explosives.

It seems as if the sound of explosives has a certain fatal attraction for those who assassinate and carry out other types of terrorism in the US.

However, they are motivated not by those pleasing sounds, but by money, lust and vengeance; though this does not rule out any other psychopath coming on the scene with the idea of becoming famous or obsessed with becoming the key figure.

There is one constant that can be discerned: State terrorism, exercised by successive US administrations, has generally guided those who have implemented such acts; while hiding those who have organized, directed and financed them.

We have, for example, the bazooka that the Cuban Nationalist Movement terrorist group used to shoot the United Nations building when Commander Ernesto Che Guevara was speaking at the world body on December 2, 1964.

Before and after that date over 300 actions have been recorded against Cubans, institutions or other nations linked to diplomatic and commercial relations with the island and in which innocent people were killed or wounded.

To lie and to frighten people and institutions continues to be the main objective of direct state terrorism, such as the current wars and acts of aggression against Iraq and Afghanistan by paid aggressors.

There have also been letter bombs used, like the one received by the Cuban representative to the UN on April 11, 1967 and in receptions like the one on May 26, 1968 in a New York hotel.

Foreign entities based in Miami have also been targeted, like a tourism office in Mexico on June 23, 1968 and four days later during a dance at the Biscayne Hotel.

Since then, other places that Cuban-born terrorists have placed explosives have been ships, airlines, diplomatic venues and with other organizations in Canada, Mexico, Spain, Japan, France and Britain.

Explosive devices have also been placed in the Bahamas, Poland, Panama, Peru, the former Soviet Union, Venezuela, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Czechoslovakia, Brazil and the US itself, as well as in other nations, in addition to the offices of the UN and the Organization of American States.

Print shops, newspapers, magazines, post offices, television stations, airlines and cruises, night clubs, US agencies, hotels, embassies, private homes and even bridges are on the list of places where bombs have gone off.

Other locations that have been bombed have been airports, radio stations, theatres, pharmacies, universities, vehicles, restaurants, cigar factories, laundry mats, political parties and organizations pertaining to Cuban émigrés that promote the normalization of relations with their country of origin.

Other preferred places have been travel agencies and offices that send packages to Cuba and cultural institutions based in the United States, Europe and Latin America.

The terrorists have also suffered accidents like the one reported on March 20, 1974, when Alfredo Sayuz from the Cuban National Liberation Front was killed and his accomplices Humberto Lopez Jr. and Luis Crespo were injured while preparing bomb in a house located in Miami.

1975 was a very active year for Cuban-born terrorists. On December 29 bombs were placed in La Guardia Airport in New York at the Dominican Airlines counter. The attack killed 13 people, while 75 people were injured and the facility suffered

considerable damage.

That same month, in less than 24 hours, 8 explosions were registered in government offices in Miami including post offices and Social Security and Attorney General offices.

A complete report would be too extensive, but it is worth highlighting some that stand out as "surprising."

For example, the attacks on December 29, 1974 and December 3 of the following year on the FBI offices in Miami and on a agent there were claimed by the Cuban National Liberation Front.

Not even jails have been free from violent actions. On October 13, 1975 a bomb was placed in the detention center where terrorist Humberto Lopez was being held.

In the history of vengeance, we must highlight the renowned criminal Rolando Masferrer. Following the bloody Batista dictatorship he went to Miami on January 1, 1959, where he was found dead in the Florida city on October 30, 1975, killed by his former partners.

Even the White House, the residence of US presidents, suffered terrorist actions at the hands of anti-Cuban elements on September 4, 1977 when a bomb went off causing material damage.

Live and direct terrorism over more than 40 years, within the US itself committed by individuals that have been protected by the US government and continue today to protect them, like Luis Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch, assassins that must be taken to court for their crimes in compliance with the most elemental ethics and justice.

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