How detained emigre millionaire tried to blow up the Tropicana nightclub

Campaign News | Friday, 16 December 2005

Sanitago Alvarez fnanced plan to blow up famous nightspot

BY FREDDY PÉREZ CABRERA-Granma daily staff writer-

SANTA CLARA-These days the name of Santiago Alvarez Fernández-Magriña is being mentioned a lot, and with reason; he is the notorious terrorist charged with transporting Luis Posada Carriles to Miami on his personal boat, the now-famous Santrina.

Alvarez, currently detained in Miami under charges of possession of automatic weapons and a false passport, was the man who ordered one of his minions to blow up the Tropicana nightclub in the Cuban capital.

Villa Clara residents are well aware of what type of man is Fernández-Magriña, an individual who on April 26, 2001, attempted to infiltrate a terrorist commando into the Isabela de Sagua area of this province, with the aim of perpetrating acts of destruction in this country. They were caught, however, by local Border Guard Troops.

As part of their dreams of destroying the Revolution, Santiago Alvarez

and Nelsy Ignacio Castro, the operation’s masterminds, resorted to shady individuals with the lowest standards of morality, like Ihosvany Suris de la Torre, Máximo Pradera and Santiago Padrón, with a long record of anti-Cuban activities in Miami.

Ihosvany, who was acting as head of a terrorist commando, had emigrated illegally to the United States where he was recruited in 1998 by the counterrevolutionary organization Comandos F4.

His goal was to disembark at a point along the coast between Remedios and Caibarién, in order to penetrate the Escambray mountains and recruit campesinos who would be paid for carrying out his crimes. His plans also included moving on to Havana, to engage in other missions under Alvarez’ orders, including placing an explosive device in the celebrated Tropicana nightclub.

Máximo Pradera Valdés emigrated to the United States to avoid standing trial in the revolutionary courts for a terrible criminal record. In November of 1980 he and Ihosvany were part of a plot - which never materialized - to infiltrate Cuba and sabotage the Havana Tunnel.

Padrón Quintero, a criminal who emigrated in 1980, had been convicted in Cuba of the crimes of bodily harm, habitual vagrancy and theft. He was a member of the Alpha 66 terrorist group in Miami.

The commando did not last very long at all in Villa Clara. The Border Guard Troops in Isabel de Sagua took care of that.

A Border Troops boat sighted them in the afternoon and requested help from their command post, which immediately sent a speedboat. As it approached, the delinquents fired shots at the troops, who valiantly responded to the aggression.

During the intense exchange that followed, the raft carrying the bandits was damaged, and they took off toward Cayo Hutía. That is where Lieutenant Ernesto Valenciaga arrived, heading a group of young soldiers. In a few minutes, they located the mercenaries dispatched to Cuba by Santiago Alvarez.

"Don’t kill me! Don’t kill me! Don’t shoot, please!" begged Santiago Padrón, and burst into tears in fear.

Máximo Pradera barely managed to say, "Oh, man, Santiago’s really dropped us in it." Meanwhile, the tough guy of the bunch, Ihosvany Suirs de la Torre, kept repeating, "Don’t shoot, don’t shoot, I only came to make a social revolution."

As screened on television, it was this last one who spoke on the phone with Fernández-Magriña and got the order to "Lie low! And when you can, throw the three little cans into the Tropicana, and that’s done with."

It is criminals like these who Santiago Alvarez and his real bosses, Luis Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch, have used to do away with the Revolution. Just like in the 1960s, when bandits were used in an attempt to destroy the process begun on January 1, 1059, once again the dreams of the Miami mafia were stymied, when they tried to use Villa Clara as a base of operations for their crimes.

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