Miami Five arrests were result of conspiracy

Campaign News | Monday, 11 September 2006

FBI and the Miami mafia worked together, says Cuban newspaper

BY LAZARO BARREDO MEDINA of Granma International

OVER the last eight years, more and more evidence has appeared proving that what occurred on that Saturday, September 12, 1998 in Miami had more to do with a conspiracy between Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents and the anti-Cuban terrorist mafia, than with protecting the national security of the United States.

The Miami media acknowledged the following Monday, the 14th, that many experts could not understand why the FBI had made the arrests over the weekend of those individuals who were monitoring counterrevolutionary groups, because it was precisely the FBI that was one of the beneficiaries of the information that these individuals were collecting on violent actions by those groups.

The commentary published on September 15, 1998 in The Miami Herald, said that the FBI had known about what these people were doing within the Miami groups for a long time, and added, "On Monday (September 14), many in Little Havana were speculating that the raid was Washington’s way of balancing the scales of justice against the seven Cuban exiles who the month before had been accused of trying to assassinate Fidel Castro."

In a press conference days later, Héctor Pesquera, recently named FBI bureau chief in Miami, admitted that these arrests had generated contradictions with some of his superiors, who did not support the action, and added that this case "never would have made it to the courts" if he had not directly urged Louis Freeh, then director of that agency, to approve the arrests.

Evidently, something abnormal was occurring...


The wave of attacks on Cuban hotels in 1997, and subsequent statements by the notorious murderer Luis Posada Carriles to The New York Times, cast doubt on the U.S. intelligence and counterintelligence agencies.

"I’m not bothered by the CIA or the FBI," Posada told the Times.

The daily noted that documents in Washington declassified by the National Security Archive back up Posada’s insinuation that the FBI and the CIA had detailed knowledge of his operations against the Cuban government since the early 1970s.

The Times also revealed the testimony of businessman Antonio (Tony) Jorge Alvarez, resident in South Carolina, who was president of the WRB Enterprises company in Guatemala and had contacts in that country with Posada Carriles and other Cuban-born terrorists. Risking his life, this businessman supplied information to the FBI in 1997 about preparations for an attempt on the life of the Cuban president during the Ibero-American Summit in Isla Margarita, Venezuela, and about the series of bombings of hotels on the island, but the FBI showed little interest in those revelations.

Days before the aforementioned Summit in Isla Margarita, the U.S. Coast Guard stopped a boat with four men on board in Puerto Rico and found two .50 caliber special Barret rifles with telescopic sights, while the group’s leader, Cuban-American Angel Alfonso Alemán, told the Coast Guard - as though it were a credential for impunity - that they were on a mission to kill President Fidel Castro on Isla Margarita.

The head of the FBI in Puerto Rico at that time was Héctor Pesquera, who six months after that arrest was designated head of the agency’s office in Miami.

Pesquera was already working for the FBI in the early 1980s in Tampa, and had been head of its office in Puerto Rico since 1995, where he became known for arresting Puerto Rican independence activists.

Subsequent investigations confirmed that the boat was the property of José A. Llama, a leader of the Cuban-American National Foundation (CANF) -Llama has spoken out publicly recently about the work of the Foundation’s paramilitary group in leading, financing and logistics for all of these terrorist plans - and that one of the .50 caliber rifles belonged to José Francisco "Pepe" Hernández, president of the CANF, whom Pesquera did not even call in for questioning, after meeting with those sent from Miami and exchanging opinions with the defense lawyer for those terrorists, a close relative of his, Ricardo Pesquera.

These events caused a huge stir in the United States in 1998. In Miami, the press admitted that "authorities are showing themselves to be soft in response to anti-Castro actions."

"Amid reports that Cuban exile leaders financed bombings in Havana, conspirators, cops and prosecutors agree that anti-Castro plotting in South Florida is not only common but almost tolerated," wrote Juan A. Tamayo, a Miami Herald columnist.

That article by Tamayo, published on July 23, 1993, continued: "‘From long ago, there's been a policy . . . to gather intelligence and demobilize these people, to disrupt rather than arrest,’ said one former senior federal prosecutor" (a few months later, this opinion would be confirmed when the self-confessed terrorists arrested aboard La Esperanza yacht were acquitted).

"The police and FBI agents always watched us, but basically they leave us alone," affirmed César Roig, a former member of Comandos L.

One of the most interesting things in this article, published two months before the Cuban patriots were arrested, were statements by Kendall Coffey as to the marked partiality for holding an "anti-Castro" trial in that city. Coffey was a former U.S. Attorney in Miami, and later would be one of the lawyers for the kidnappers of the Cuban child Elián González.

In the article, Coffey admitted, "Over the years we have stepped up to the plate on a number of cases, but it's very tough to get a jury in South Florida to convict people who are portrayed as freedom fighters."

The designation itself of Pesquera indicates a response to mafia influences and extreme right-wing forces in the United States. When he arrived in Miami, he held meetings with counterrevolutionary leaders and reaffirmed his commitment to them (which was demonstrated the entire time that he was bureau chief in Miami).

In a statement published on July 28, 1998, Pesquera emphasized that "despite the stream of reports about terrorist attacks by anti-Castro exiles, I am not planning to give greater priority to investigating such actions." One word to the wise is enough...


The terrorist mafia in Mafia in 1998 was in crisis. The death of Jorge Mas Canosa increased internal struggles and that crisis was accentuated by events in Puerto Rico that directly involved the CANF, along with another public investigation into a consignment of weapons and explosives stored in a ship anchored in a Miami river and belonging to Cuban terrorists (an operation that the FBI carried out thanks to information supplied by the Cuban patriots).

Likewise, despite the colossal intensification of the war of aggression against Cuba that was unleashed after the provocation of February 24, 1996 and the establishment of the Helms-Burton Act, U.S. policy began to crack in the face of Cuba’s reality.

Worried about the possibility of changes to the Cuba policy, then-U.S. Senator Bob Graham of Florida, at the urging of the most recalcitrant anti-Cuban groups, asked the Pentagon for a special report on Cuba, hoping for new justifications for intensifying the aggression. However, that backfired, because the study, produced by several U.S. institutions and political and military individuals, concluded that the island posed no threat to the U.S. national security.

The mafia suffered another setback during that time, when so-called "drug czar" Barry McCaffey stated that Cuba had no ties to drug trafficking. They were so upset by those statements that Congressman Lincoln Díaz-Balart went as far as to accuse the four-star general of being a "communist" in the media.

In mid-1998, cooperation between the FBI and Cuban authorities deepened when FBI agents traveled to Havana and received an important packet of information, with photos, documents and videotapes, of at least 48 terrorists based in Miami, material given to them precisely by the patriots who would later be arrested and whose evidence was disallowed in court because it was classified as "secret" by the U.S. government.

The best-known defeat suffered by the extreme right was when, in a vote of 72 for and 24 against, the Senate opposed Jesse Helms and passed an amendment that proposed lifting the blockade on food and medicine. Likewise, in the Capitol, progress was being made on opposition to the unconstitutional measure that prohibits and penalizes travel by U.S. citizens to Cuba.

In was in this context that the terrorist mafia urgently needed a pretext for stopping that movement favoring change in Cuba policy, and for that they found a source of support in the FBI bureau chief in Miami, while in Washington, the "godfathers" of the extreme right were making contact at the highest level to bring pressure to arrest the Cuban patriots, which occurred during the early morning of September 12, 1998.

What is unusual is that while the FBI chief in Miami was using his resources to arrest and create a file against five people who were trying to prevent terrorist actions that were hurting both their own people and U.S. citizens, at that same moment, 12 of the 19 individuals who were presumed three years later to have carried out the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington were moving about freely, maintaining their contacts and training in south Florida.

The FBI in Miami never obtained a single clue about these terrorists... They were too busy with the Cuban issue.

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