Sunday, April 30, 2006

May Day to Be Celebrated Across Cuba

Periodico 26

Huge May Day Celebrations Planned for Havana

By JUAN VARELA PEREZ - juan.pvp@granma.cip.cu -

Millions of workers and their families will celebrate May Day throughout the villages, communities, towns and cities of Cuba.

Every year, May Day serves as a reaffirmation of the Cuban revolution and the fighting spirit, discipline and enthusiasm that characterizes the nation.

Under the banner of United in Defense of the Socialist Homeland, massive and colourful marches, parades and celebrations are being planned in every corner of the island in response to the call set forth by the Trade Union of Cuban Workers (CTC).

In preparation of celebrations, a plenary meeting with political, administrative, union and youth leaders from the provinces of City of Havana and Havana, and leaders from the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR) and the Ministry of the Interior was held in Havana.

Esteban Lazo, a member of the Political Bureau, said that there are many reasons to celebrate this historic day including the work of the Cuban Revolution and advances in healthcare, education and other sectors, reported AIN news agency.

Lazo pointed out that the US is about to announce new threats against Cuba and that this constitutes another reason to demonstrate the unity of the country and the support of its leaders. He said that people must keep in mind that cherished values are at stake including the ideals that many Cubans have fought and died for over the long history of Cuba. The meeting was also chaired by Pedro Saez, first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba in Havana; and Pedro Ross, general secretary of the CTC.

CUBA: Confronting 'real capitalism’

Green Left Weekly

Stuart Munckton

Ricardo Alarcon, president of Cuba’s National Assembly and one the revolution’s central leaders, gave a wide-ranging interview to Nestor Kohan and Luciano Alzaga, which was published on the Rebelion website on April 18. The interview covered many key global issues and controversial questions, from Washington’s “war on terror”, to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s call for the construction of a “new socialism for the 21st century”, to Cuba’s relationship with other governments and social movements in the region.

The interview began with Alarcon answering questions relating to the practice of US President George Bush’s administration in transferring prisoners it has captured as part of its “war on terror” to third countries where torture is legal, and the exposure of some European countries’ complicity. Alarcon commented that “the West is presented as virginal when it comes to the issue of torture. That’s not true! Torture has been ordinarily and systematically inflicted in the United States.” He argued that what is new is that the Bush administration now “openly acknowledges torture and turns it into a doctrine, which most likely upset many within the establishment”.

Alarcon pointed out that when Bush, in one of his State of the Union speeches, acknowledged the practice of his government in carrying out extrajudicial executions as part of the “war on terror”, this was not met with any condemnation by European or US politicians or media outlets. He made the admission “before the US Congress, and he received an ovation, not a protest”.

Alarcon argued that the US is “a nation whose foundations and origins lie in genocide. It is a profoundly racist society.” He pointed out that “Bush first referred to this topic when he was in Panama City, of all places, closer than any other to the School of the Americas where for many years Latin American torturers were trained. And who trained them? Yankee officers.”

“In those [Latin American] countries where [US-backed] dictators kept secret prisons, torture was practised under US advice and guidance, and it took place under neo-conservative, liberal democratic, moderate democratic, conservative republican and moderate republican governments. They have been doing it forever.”

Alarcon pointed to the response of the US government to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina that hit New Orleans last year. Thousands of poor citizens — mostly African Americans — were abandoned, highlighting both the deep-seated racism in US society and the “logical outcome of today’s neoliberalism”. He contrasted Cuba’s response in similar situations: “Cuban society is planned differently. Nobody expects a municipal, provincial or national authority to detach itself from the problem. We have a Civil Defense system that Americans don’t have.”

Alarcon argued that this is a product of different social systems, saying “capitalism nurtures selfishness and individualism and converts you to it. Socialism has to be the opposite. It is when a hurricane is coming that both perspectives collide.”

'Progressive governments’

Kohan and Alzaga probed Alarcon about the relationship between revolutionary Cuba and other governments in the region that provide diplomatic support for Cuba and are often considered to be “progressive” due to a greater willingness to act independently of Washington, on the one hand, and social movements that oppose the internal policies of those governments, on the other. In particular, Alarcon was quizzed as to why, at the Summit of the Americas meeting last November where US plans to impose the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) were defeated, did the Cuban delegation, including Alarcon, only attend those protests that were officially supported by the Argentinean government of Nestor Kirchner.

Alarcon responded by pointing out that at the two protests he attended during the summit, there were both supporters and critics of the Argentinean government present. He said that while he “respects” the social movements that participated in the protest outside the summit, ultimately the FTAA was defeated inside the summit as a result of the alliance that Venezuela’s Chavez was able to form with other governments such as those of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, which are led by presidents considered to be progressive. The FTAA was not stopped “by the piqueteros [unemployed activists], the Cuban communists or the trade unionists, but five Latin American governments, any differences with them notwithstanding”. It was the willingness of these countries to act independently of Washington that upset the Bush administration the most, rather than the protests outside, he argued.

Acknowledging that, threatened by US imperialism, the Cuban government needs to develop the widest possible diplomatic relations, Kohan and Alzaga asked Alarcon if this stops Cuban mass organisations from developing links with and acting in solidarity with social movements against government policy inside such countries. The Cuban government has close links with the governments of Argentina and Brazil, for example, but social movements in both countries are protesting their own government’s anti-people policies.

Alarcon explained that the Cuban government applies the principle of non-interference in other nations, and therefore doesn’t take a formal position either for or against polices of either friendly governments or social movements. “We have tried to remain respectful to everyone. Some governments frankly deserve respect, as do some movements’ autonomy.” He pointed out that Cuba hosts conferences featuring social movements from the region where governments that Cuba has close diplomatic ties to are “vilified”. He did acknowledge, though, that “it’s true that there’s a kind of 'self-censorship’ pretty much addressed in our media. It has to do with a style, a way of working, that’s just one of the negative remnants of the Soviet model.”

However Alarcon argued that the question goes deeper than just the potential contradiction between diplomacy and international solidarity, to one of revolutionary strategy today. He said: “I don’t think Cuba’s isolation is the issue here. I believe the point now is to help articulate actions and agreements to contribute to independence and alternative integration in this region ... Venezuela is the focal point now due to its significance for the reactivation of and chances for a movement not only solidly rooted in society but potentially capable of interacting with governments.”

Alarcon argued that the era of armed struggle as a strategy had passed and that the relationship of forces, with the coming to power of governments willing to take positions independent of imperialism, has changed in a positive direction. As well as the development of the Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela, he highlighted the victory in Bolivia’s presidential elections of the indigenous leader Evo Morales. Alarcon argued that for Bolivia, “it is not only the first time a president who stands for indigenous people’s interests won the elections, but also the first victory of the social movements”.

Alarcon pointed out that in the 1960s, Cuba was alone in Latin America in voicing anti-imperialist policies, but now, more countries are expressing opposition. This creates the potential for a broad front against imperialism, even where there are differences.

Asked about the explicit project of some governments, such as in Argentina and Brazil, to strengthen “national capitalism” in their own countries, Alarcon commented: “I agree with whoever believes it’s not possible to construct a national capitalism.” Alarcon defended the arguments made by historic leaders of the Cuban Revolution such as Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, that in a world dominated by imperialism it is not possible for countries oppressed by imperialism to develop along capitalist lines. However, he pointed out that there have been some examples, such as in Brazil, where a national bourgeoisie has been willing to assert its interests against imperialism and it is important to take advantage of this contradiction to attempt to advance anti-imperialist policies.

21st century socialism

Alarcon argued that socialism remains the solution, but each attempt to build socialism can be different. “It seems to me that Chavez provides the right contribution through his formulation of 21st century socialism, which is not just any kind of socialism, for its features are similar to Venezuela’s. Empirical data documents Venezuela’s economic growth, mainly in the private economy. In revolutionary, Bolivarian Venezuela, there’s room for, and it’s used by, the domestic bourgeoisie. They’re out for Chavez’s blood, but at the same time doing business, investing and making profits in the meantime ... A Marxist or a revolutionary has to do at all times whatever it takes to advance revolution, even if the ultimate outcome is a classless society.”

According to Alarcon, “Today, in times of neoliberal globalisation, an objective possibility exists to bring together everything that opposes real capitalism, which may include capitalist sectors affected by capitalism as it is nowadays”.

“The so-called real socialism had problems with some socialists; the term 'real socialism’ itself was some bureaucrats’ response to criticism. They said that real socialism is what we’ve got here ... Consequently, you were not a socialist if you didn’t endorse the socialism that 'really’ existed.”

Alarcon argued: “There are forces that are not anti-capitalist, at least not in our books, but are now acting against the existing capitalism — present-day capitalism, the only one there is. Thus, I think you must devise tactics to march alongside all those people insofar as it is possible, keeping in mind that any projects to revive national capitalisms are unrealistic.” He pointed out that “now we have a chance to draft a much more flexible speech, like the Declaration of Porto Alegre, a minimum, all-encompassing platform capable of adding people to the struggle against the truly existing capitalism. That’s where socialism will start taking shape.”

The full version of the interview is a must-read for those who want to understand the current perspectives of the Cuban government for the struggle against imperialism and a revolutionary socialist strategy. The interview has been translated by Walter Lippmann, the moderator of CubaNews, and the transcript can be found on his website at www.walterlippmann.com

From Green Left Weekly, May 3, 2006.

Is the moon full? The nuts are out in droves! Auuuuu!

From: Alex Hernandez
Date: Sunday April 30, 2006 9:13 AM
To: JG
Subject: (no subject)

If Castro is so great why are you here in Miami, you should be next to your country people strugglin for their revolution, instead of being here in the USA talkin [bleep], Cubans like yourself are a big joke to us, real cubans.. We laugh at your [bleep] because we find it funny...jejejejejejeje... you won't last in cuba, your [bleep] would straved..hahahaha another [bleep] wannabe commie.. you probably don't know nothing about communism history or cuban history is very obvious, you don't by readin your blog hahahaha.. your blog is [bleep] like you [bleep].

From: !Ya No Mas!
Date: Sunday April 30, 2006 9:21 AM
To: JG
Subject: Hate Email or Dumb Email?

Jajajaj My friend is right.. [bleep]you're a poser wannabe commie, you probably don't know [bleep] about cuban history or communism ideologies is very obvious by reading your lame blog..Abajo Fidel [bleep] ...If you like Castro's ideas so much, you should move there and support your people..you're probably fat, bald,divorce,jobless, and livin with your parents..hahahaha get a life dude, really you're not cuban, you're a POSER!!!

--------------------------------

Note: Cuba Journal does not publish, obscene or vulgar escoria language.

Miami Ultra Right Watch: 2006 First Quarter

Source: Federal Election Commission, Washington, D.C.

04/24/2006

In our continuing series of what national politicians or wanabe's are receiving funds from the extremists of South Florida, we bring you this detail information.

The data is separated by commas and is as follow: Name of candidate, date of the disbursement of funds, amount received.

GARY L ACKERMAN, 2/17/2006,3000.00
GARY L ACKERMAN,2/17/2006, 1000.00
LAMAR ALEXANDER,3/6/2006, 5000.00
LAMAR ALEXANDER, 3/15/2006, 5000.00
DAN BOREN,3/31/2006,1000.00
CONRAD BURNS,2/10/2006,1000.00
CONRAD BURNS,2/10/2006, 2000.00
STEVE CHABOT,3/31/2006,1000.00
BEN CHANDLER, 3/31/2006, 1000.00
MIKE CONAWAY, 3/10/2006,1000.00
HENRY R CUELLAR,1/23/2006,4000.00
DAVID VITTER, 3/21/2006, 1000.00
ARTUR GENESTRE DAVIS, 2/20/2006,1000.00
ELIZABETH DOLE, 3/10/2006,1000.00
ELIOT ENGEL,2/23/2006,3000.00
JOHN ENSIGN,2/24/2006,2000.00
JOHN ENSIGN, 2/24/2006, 3000.00
TOM FEENEY, 1/2/2006, 2000.00
MIKE FITZPATRICK, 2/6/2006, 2000.00
MIKE FITZPATRICK, 2/6/2006, 1000.00
JOHN GARD, 3/21/2006, 1000.00
GEOFF DAVIS, 3/10/2006, 1000.00
JIM JORDAN,3/27/2006,1000.00
JO BONNER,3/10/2006,1000.00
JON KYL,1/19/2006,1000.00
PATRICK J KENNEDY,3/21/2006,4000.00
STEVE KING,3/31/2006,1000.00
RANDY KUHL,3/31/2006,1000.00
JEFF LAMBERTI,3/10/2006,1000.00
TOM LATHAM,3/10/2006,1000.00
JOSEPH I LIEBERMAN,3/27/2006,5000.00
CONNIE MACK,2/21/2006,1000.00
CAROLYN MALONEY,3/31/2006,1000.00
MARK KENNEDY,3/10/2006,1000.00
CATHY MCMORRIS,1/25/2006,1000.00
CATHY MCMORRIS ,1/25/2006,3000.00
CHARLIE JR MELANCON,2/20/2006,1000.00
ROBERT MENENDEZ,1/9/2006,4000.00
MIKE MCINTYRE,3/15/2006,4000.00
NATHAN DEAL,3/10/2006,1500.00
FRANK PALLONE,3/27/2006,1000.00
BILL PASCRELL,2/20/2006,2000.00
DEBORAH PRYCE,1/23/2006,2000.00
RICHARD BURR,3/6/2006,1000.00
ADAM SCHIFF,3/6/2006,2000.00
ADAM SCHIFF,3/6/2006,2000.00
JOE SCHWARZ,3/31/2006,1000.00
ROB SIMMONS,3/31/2006,1000.00
ALBIO SIRES,3/27/2006,5000.00
SHEILA SORENSEN,3/10/2006,1000.00
TED POE,2/8/2006,3000.00
TOM DELAY,2/3/2006,5000.00
JIM WALSH,3/21/2006,1000.00
ED WHITFIELD,3/31/2006,1500.00
ED WHITFIELD,3/31/2006,500.00

To be continued.

Hate Email or Dumb Email?

From: Mr. Rubio (66.50.159.157)
Date: Sunday, April 30, 2006 2:52 AM
To: Me
Subject: Just a question -Nutcracker Gonzalez
Attach: animated-mohammed.gif (18.6 KB)

how much is the beast paying you to continue with the blah blah blah that is now turning 47 years?. It is a shame that you are able to have this blog opened when in my homeland of cuba people such as Coco Fariñas is sent to prison for writing a letter to your impostor, ilegal ,thief, assasin Comandante ,for just wanting to have access to the net. People like you , bring shame to our heritage . You are not cuban american as you proclaim. You are a disgrace to the cuban race. You are full of [bleep] all over. Go back to cuba to [bleep] the anciano [bleep] and dirty underwear, fool.

I doubt your name is real or that you live in South florida home of the Miami Cuban Mafia Cartel. Anyway , just keep in mind you are now officially under my surveillance. Expect a surprise very soon.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Ferro: U.S. Backed His Plan to Raid Cuba

Los Angeles Times

By Lance Pugmire, Times Staff Writer
April 28, 2006

The Upland man accused of selling guns illegally from his home said in a jailhouse interview Thursday that some of the weapons were covertly supplied to him by the U.S. government, intended for an attempt to overthrow Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

Police say felon Robert Ferro had 1,571 firearms and some hand grenades stashed inside secret compartments and hidden rooms he built inside the sprawling foothill estate. He was arrested last week after a search of his home in connection with another case uncovered the weapons.

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But in an interview Thursday, Ferro, 61, contended that some of the high-powered weapons — including assault rifles, silencer-equipped handguns and Uzis — were supplied to him by the U.S. government. He said the weapons were supposed to be used in an attempt to oust Castro that would have coincided with U.S. Navy operations being conducted in the Caribbean Sea.

"Obviously, now it will not take place," Ferro said. "Those guns I had were very sophisticated weapons. It was for a fight. I was just trying to mimic what President Bush has done in Iraq, bring freedom to the country.

"I was born [in Cuba]. I want to free them. I love freedom. I love [the U.S.], and I want the same thing for my country."

U.S. military officials acknowledged that 6,500 sailors on several ships and the Virginia-based carrier George Washington are participating in an exercise with at least eight other navies in international waters in the Caribbean. Although the exercise will come as close as 12 miles to Cuba's territorial waters, military officials said it would primarily be hundreds of miles away from the island nation.

One military official said the idea of a U.S. invasion of Cuba "sounds like it's coming from a guy living in a mental time warp, stuck back in the Bay of Pigs. This is 2006, not 1961."

Pentagon spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Jeffrey D. Gordon said, "Clearly, these allegations [by Ferro] have no merit and have no basis in fact."

Ferro was arrested last week by officers with L.A. IMPACT, a Southern California multi-agency task force, as they investigated his connection to Frank Fidel Beltran, 36, a fugitive arrested in late March while living in a Rancho Cucamonga rental home owned by Ferro.

Beltran was wanted on suspicion of shooting a Glendora police officer in the hand after the officer responded to a domestic dispute between Beltran and his wife. A few weeks later, Beltran shot his wife eight times at a San Dimas intersection after pursuing her in his vehicle, a Los Angeles County sheriff's official said. The woman remains hospitalized, and the gun has not been found, authorities said.

According to police, Beltran is an associate of a Pomona street gang. When he was arrested, authorities said, he had two guns, including a silencer-equipped handgun, similar to weapons found in Ferro's home.

The U.S. attorney's office has charged Ferro with one count of possessing unregistered firearms, but Thom Mrozek, spokesman for the office, said additional charges, including harboring a fugitive, could be added before his scheduled May 10 arraignment in U.S. District Court in Riverside.

Investigators say the Ferro-Beltran link leads them to believe Ferro was selling the guns for profit on the street. The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is tracing the guns, but that could take months, bureau spokesman John D'Angelo said Thursday.

During the jailhouse interview, Ferro denied law enforcement assertions that he was a friend of Beltran and that he had provided him and others with weapons. He said Beltran "did some work for him" a few times and moved into the Ferro-owned home without his approval while Beltran's brother did some repair work on the property.

Ferro, who says he's a member of a Miami-based group, Alpha 66, that advocates the overthrow of Castro's regime, said Thursday that about 50 other U.S. citizens were scheduled to accompany him to Cuba, with further assistance coming from people inside Cuba.

FBI spokeswoman Laura Einmiller said her office was investigating the possibility that other anti-Castro sympathizers connected to Ferro had stashed weapons in their homes.

"Mr. Ferro's motives, and all aspects of what Mr. Ferro's statements have been — whether or not he was planning violent acts — are under investigation," she said. "No one else has been arrested in this matter."

Alpha 66 leader Ernesto Diaz said last week that Ferro was not a member of the group.

In the 1990s, Ferro was sentenced to two years in prison for possessing 5 pounds of the putty-like explosive C-4. In a 1991 raid, police said Ferro, then a licensed gun dealer, was arrested at the Upland home, where deputies seized an illegal assault rifle and semiautomatic shotgun. About 300 legal firearms were not confiscated.

Prosecutors in the 1990s case said Ferro was an Alpha 66 member training Mexicans at a Pomona chicken ranch he owned for a Castro overthrow attempt.

A Glimpse into the Mind of a Terrorist

Counterpunch

April 11, 2006

Posada Carriles, Orlando Bosch and the Downing of Cubana Flight 455

By JOSÉ PERTIERRA

Last week in Miami, Luis Posada Carriles´s accomplice in the downing of the Cuban passenger plane that was blown out of the sky with 73 innocent people on board on October 6, 1976 was interviewed by Juan Manuel Cao of Channel 41 in Miami. His name is Orlando Bosch.

I quote verbatim excerpts from the television interview

Juan Manuel Cao: Did you down that plane in 1976?

Orlando Bosch: If I tell you that I was involved, I will be inculpating myself . . . . and if I tell you that did not participate in that action, you would say that I am lying. I am therefore not going to answer one thing or the other.

Juan Manuel Cao: In that action 76 persons were killed (the correct figure is 73, including a pregnant passenger)?

Orlando Bosch: No chico, in a war such as us cubans who love liberty wage against the tyrant, you have to down planes, you have to sink ships, you have to be prepared to attack anything that is within your reach.

Juan Manuel Cao: But don´t you feel a little bit for those who were killed there, for their families?

Orlando Bosch: . . . Who was on board that plane? Four members of the Communist Party, five north Koreans, five Guyanese, (JP: there were really 11 Guyanese passengers) . . . concho chico, four member of the Communist Party chico!!! Who was there? Our enemies . . .

Juan Manuel Cao: ¿And the fencers? The young people on board?

Orlando Bosch: I was in Caracas. I saw the young girls on television. There were six of them. After the end of the competition, the leader of the six dedicated their triumph to the tyrant etc etc. She gave a speech filled with praise for the tyrant. We had already agreed in Santo Domingo, that every one who comes from Cuba to glorify the tyrant had to run the same risks as those men and women that fight alongside the tyranny.

Juan Manuel Cao: If you ran into the family members who were killed in that plane, wouldn't you think it difficult . . . ?

Orlando Bosch: No, because in the end those who were there had to know that they were cooperating with the tyranny in Cuba.

Bosch´s answers to those five questions give us a glimpse into the mind of the kind of terrorist that the United States government harbors and protects in Miami: terrorists that for the last forty-seven years have waged a bloody and ruthless war against the Cuban people.

What happened to Cubana de Aviación 455 almost thirty years ago is no secret. We need simply examine the CIA's own declassified cables. At the time, this was the worst act of aviation terrorism in history, and the first time that a civilian airliner was blown up by terrorists.

More than three months before CU-455 was blown out of the sky over Barbados on that sunny Wednesday afternoon of October 6, 1976, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) informed Washington that a Cuban exile extremist group planned to place a bomb on a Cubana de Aviación flight.

The State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research reported to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger that a CIA source had overheard Luis Posada Carriles say less than a month prior to the bombing that "we are going hit a Cuban airliner."

Neither Washington nor the CIA alerted Cuban authorities to the terrorist threat against their planes.

The bombing was carried out by Luis Posada Carriles, Orlando Bosch, Hernán Ricardo and Freddy Lugo. Final preparations for the terrorist act began with the arrival of Orlando Bosch in Caracas on September 8, 1976. Bosch is a Cuban-born terrorist who was the acknowledged leader of an organization called Coordinación de Organizaciones Revolucionarias Unidas (CORU).

According to the FBI, CORU was an umbrella group of Cuban exile organizations that was formed to "plan, finance and carry out terrorist operations and attacks against Cuba." (FBI cable dated June 29, 1976).

When Bosch arrived in Caracas on the 8th of September of that year, Posada Carriles was there to greet and make available to him his right hand man: trusted confidante Hernán Ricardo, who has admitted under oath to be a CIA operative. In 1976, Ricardo was also an employee of Luis Posada Carriles at a private intelligence firm that the latter founded and ran in Caracas: Investigaciones Comerciales e Industriales (ICI). Ricardo says that Posada Carriles introduced him to Orlando Bosch at the ICI offices in Caracas.

To help him with the special operation that Bosch and Posada planned for him, Ricardo in turn recruited Freddy Lugo. A Venezuelan citizen, Lugo has also admitted under oath to be a CIA operative.

We know that the foursome of Posada, Bosch, Ricardo and Lugo met together at least four times to plan the downing of the plan.

At the meetings, the terrorists agreed upon the coded words they would use to describe the success of the operation. The plane would be known as the "bus", and the passengers would be called the "dogs." "The rest is up to you," Posada told Lugo and Ricardo.

The C-4 explosives were carried on board the aircraft by Ricardo and Lugo in a tube of toothpaste and in a camera.

Freddy Lugo and Hernán Ricardo boarded the CU-455 flight in Trinidad at 12:15 PM bound for Barbados. Ricardo traveled under a forged passport using a false name. They sat in the middle of the plane. During the flight, they placed the C-4 explosives in two separate places in the plane: the rear bathroom and underneath the seat belonging to Freddy Lugo. Lugo and Ricardo got off the plane during its brief stopover at Seawell Airport in Barbados. They later admitted under oath that they had each received special training in explosives from the CIA.

Aboard CU-455 were 73 persons. 57 of the passengers were Cubans. 11 of them were Guyanese medical students in Cuba. The remaining five passengers were Koreans. Those on board averaged only 30 years of age.

Traveling with the group were 24 members of the Cuban fencing team, many of them teen-agers, fresh from gold medal victories at the Youth Fencing Championship in Caracas. They proudly wore their gold medals on board the aircraft. One of the young fencers, Nancy Uranga, was only twenty-three years old and pregnant. She wasn't supposed to be on board. That spot on the fencing team belonged to a pretty little twelve-year old fencer, unusually tall for her age, named María González. María had planned to participate in the Caribbean Games, and was on the tarmac at Havana's José Martí Airport ready to board the plane that would take the team to the Games, when one of her coaches gave her the bad news that international amateur rules prevented twelve year olds from competing. María reportedly was devastated, and she went to her home in Havana's neighborhood called La Víbora, and cried for three days, refusing to watch the games on Cuban television because it hurt her so much not to be there. Nancy Uranga was summoned to the Airport and took María´s place on the ill fated trip to the Caribbean Games.

The fencing team was a roaring success at the Games. They won gold, silver and bronze medals. They were to return home on October 6, 1976. The athletes proudly wore their medals dangling over their clothes, as they boarded the aircraft. Cubana de Aviación 455 stopped first in Trinidad at 11:03 AM, and then touched down again in Barbados at 12:25 PM.

Nine minutes after take-off from Barbados, the bombs exploded and the plane caught fire. The passengers on board then lived the most horrifying ten minutes of their lives, as the plane turned into a scorching coffin.

The cockpit voice-recorder captured the last terrifying moments of the flight at 1:24 PM: "Seawell! Seawell! CU-455 Seawell. . . ! We have an explosion on board. . . . . We have a fire on board."

The pilot, Wilfredo Pérez (affectionately known as "Felo"), asked Seawell Airport for permission to return and land, but the plane and its passengers were already doomed.

As the plane approached the shore, it was rapidly losing altitude and control. "Hit the water, Felo, Hit the Water," said the co-pilot.

Rather than crashing into the white sands of the beach called Paradise and killing the beachgoers, Felo courageously banked the plane toward the water where it crashed in a ball of fire one mile north of Deep Water Bay.

Pieces of bodies were slowly recovered from the sea. Most of them too grotesquely disfigured to be identified by their family members. There were no survivors.

After deplaning, Lugo and Ricardo hurriedly left Seawell Airport in Barbados and checked into a local hotel under assumed names.

From the hotel, Hernán Ricardo called his bosses in Venezuela: Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada Carriles. Unable to find Posada at his desk, he left a message with Posada´s secretary. He then called Caracas again and asked a mutual friend, Marinés Vega, to deliver the following message to Posada:

"We are in a desperate situation, the bus was fully loaded with dogs . . . they should send someone I can recognize . . . I will be waiting in a soda fountain near the embassy just in case something happens and I need to ask for asylum there."

Ricardo was able to communicate with Bosch who allegedly said to him: "my friend we have a problem here in Caracas. An aircraft is never blown up in midair . . .", implying that the plan had been for the bomb to explode while the plane was on the ground before take-off.

Sensing how hot things were getting for them in Barbados, Lugo and Ricardo boarded a return flight to Trinidad on British West Indies Airlines that very evening. On the flight, Ricardo said to his buddy: "Damn it, Lugo, I'm desperate and feel like crying. I had never killed anyone before."

In Port of Spain, the terrorists checked into the Holiday Inn with false identities and made more desperate calls to Caracas, trying to reach Posada Carriles.

Their nervous demeanor at the airport and at the hotel, as well as their conversations in the taxis they took in Barbados and later in Trinidad, led the police to zero in on them as the primary suspects in the bombing. They were arrested and interrogated by detectives from the Trinidad police department.

Both confessed to Commissioner Dannis Ramdwar who took their written depositions. Lugo and Ricardo each admitted to being CIA operatives. Ricardo described in detail how he could detonate C-4 explosives and pointed to a pencil on Ramdwar´s desk that was similar to the timer he used to detonate the explosive on board the plane. Ricardo also told the police in Trinidad that he worked for Luis Posada Carriles. He told Ramdwar that the head of CORU was Orlando Bosch and drew for the police an organizational chart of CORU and said that the terrorist organization was also known as Condor.

Upon hearing of the confessions of Lugo and Ricardo, the police in Caracas moved in and arrested Posada and Bosch. They also obtained a warrant and searched the offices of Posada Carriles where they confiscated weapons and sophisticated electronic monitoring equipment. The police also found a schedule of Cubana flights in Posada´s Caracas office.

In one of the very first reports on the October 6, 1976, downing of Cubana Flight 455, the FBI Venezuelan bureau cables that a confidential source has identified Luis Posada and Orlando Bosch as responsible for the bombing. "The source all but admitted that Posada and Bosch had engineered the bombing of the airline," according to the report.

During the television interview three days ago in Miami, Bosch talked about an agreement reached between terrorists in Santo Domingo in June of 1976.

The FBI itself tells us about that secret agreement. According to an FBI report, Orlando Bosch, Luis Posada Carriles and other terrorists formed an umbrella terrorist organization called CORU at a meeting in the Dominican Republic. The FBI report details how at that meeting in the Dominican Republic, CORU planned a series of bombing attacks against Cuban entities, as well as the murder of Communists in the Western Hemisphere. On page 6, the report relates in great detail how Orlando Bosch was met in Caracas on September 8, 1976, by Luis Posada and other anti-Castro exiles and a deal was struck as to what kind of activities he could organize on Venezuelan soil.

After the arrests of Lugo, Ricardo, Bosch and Posada, Trinidad, Barbados, Guyana and Cuba ceded jurisdiction over the downing of the passenger plane to Venezuela, and all four were prosecuted in Caracas for murder.

Prosecuting terrorists has a price. The Judge who issued the initial arrest warrants for the four terrorists, Delia Estava Moreno, received several death threats and attempts at blackmail as reprisals for her conduct. As a result, she was forced to recuse herself. The presiding judge of the military court, Retired General Elio Garcia Barrios, also received death threats and in 1983, his son and chauffeur were murdered during a Mafia-style hit intended to even the score and intimidate those who dared legally prosecute the murderers.

Eventually, Lugo and Ricardo were convicted, but before the Court could reach a verdict regarding his case, Luis Posada Carriles escaped from the prison at San Juan de los Moros in the State of Guárico where he had been confined after two unsuccessful escape attempts.

Posada escaped with the help of at least $50,000 from a right wing extremist group in Miami.

Fifteen days after his escape from jail, Posada was smuggled out of Venezuela bound for Aruba on a shrimp boat. He spent a week in Aruba and was then flown by private plane to Costa Rica and then San Salvador. He immediately started working alongside Felix Rodriguez, a high ranking CIA member, at the Ilopango Airbase. Posada´s job in San Salvador was to supply the Nicaraguan Contras with arms and supplies obtained through the sale of narcotics. This Operation became a scandal known as Iran-Contra. Felix Rodriguez was the CIA's point man in Central America for the Iran-Contra scandal, hired for the job by an old friend from the CIA Donald Gregg who was Vice-President Bush's National Security Advisor. According to Anna Louise Bardach who interviewed Posada while she was a reporter for the New York Times, "Posada noted with a certain pride that George Bush had headed the CIA from November 1975 to January 1977"-a period that covered some of the most violent crimes committed by Cuban exiles and Operation Condor: including the Letelier assassination and the downing of the passenger plane.

Posada spent the next several years in Central America working for the security services of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. But in the early 90s he turned his attention once again to Cuba which was struggle to jump start a tourist industry in order to offset a dramatic economic downturn after the demise of the Soviet Bloc. From his lair in Central America he recruited Salvadoran and Guatemalan mercenaries to smuggle explosives to Cuba, and in 1997 bombs began to blow in the finest hotels and restaurants of Havana-killing an Italian tourist named Fabio DiCelmo and wounding several others.

Cuba learned that the campaign of terror against its tourist industry was being financed by Miami exile organizations and orchestrated by Luis Posada Carriles in Central America. Faced with the FBI´s refusal to reign in the terrorists in Miami, Cuba sent some very brave men to penetrate these terrorist organizations and gather information with the purpose of asking President Clinton to intervene and order the Feds to arrest the terrorists.

After gathering enough evidence to determine the source of the terror campaign, on May 1, 1998 Fidel Castro sent a personal emissary to Washington with a handwritten message to President Clinton: the emissary was none other than Nobel Prize for Literature Gabriel García Márquez. President Clinton was out of town for several days in California, and after waiting him out at the Hotel Washington for several days, García Márquez finally met with White House Chief of Staff Mac McLarty and gave him the letter. García Márquez recounts McLarty´s reaction to the letter and quotes McLarty as saying to him: "We have enemies in common: terrorists".

In the wake of the Garcia Marquez visit, the U.S. sent an FBI team to Cuba a month later to discuss collaboration with Cuba on a "War On Terror". Cuba handed over to the FBI tapes of 14 telephone conversations of Luis Posada Carriles with details on the series of bombs that had exploded in Cuba in the 90s. Cuba also gave the FBI Luis Posada Carriles´ addresses in El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Panama. Also tapes of conversations with Central American detainees in Cuba who admitted Posada is their boss. All together, Cuba turned over 60 sets of documents with information about 40 terrorists based in Miami, including their addresses, and evidence of their ties to terror.

Cuba then waited . . . and waited . . . and waited. Cuba waited for the FBI to start arresting terrorists. But instead the FBI arrested on September 12, 1998, the men now known as the Cuban Five: the men who had come to Miami to penetrate the Miami exile terrorist organizations.

According to El Nuevo Herald, the first persons that were notified of the arrests of the Cuban Five were Cong. Lincoln Diaz Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Miami.

The Five were charged with 62 counts of violating federal laws. Their arrests illustrates Washington's double standard when it comes to its so-called war on terror: a war that the U.S. government chooses to fight a la carte, distinguishing between terrorists it likes and those it doesn't.

The Five were placed in solitary confinement for the next 17 months, until the start of their trial. They were convicted of several charges and received the maximum sentences possible. Gerardo Hernandez received a double life sentence and Antonio Guerrero and Ramon Labañino on life sentence each. Fernando Gonzalez and René Gonzalez, got 19 and 15 years respectively.

They were sent to maximum security prisons across this country, and two of them have been denied visits from their wives for the past seven years in violation of U.S. laws and international law.

On August 9, 2005, a 3 judge panel of the Court of Appeals published a 93 page decision that reversed the convictions and sentences, ruling that the Five did not receive a fair trial in Miami and acknowledging evidence produced by the defense at trial that revealed terrorist actions by Miami exile groups against Cuba. The Court of Appeals even cited in a footnote the role of Luis Posada Carriles and correctly referred to him as a terrorist. The tree-judge panel found that "a perfect storm" of prejudice prevented the Cuban Five from having a fair trial in Miami.

The Bush Administration, through its Solicitor General, made a formal appeal to all 12 judges of the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta, and out of apparent deference to the unusual request from the Department of Justice the Court of Appeals nullified the three-judge panel decision and agreed to hear the case en banc.

Attorney Leonard Weinglass who represents Antonio Guerrero said recently: "The Five were not prosecuted because they violated American law, but because their work exposed those who were. By infiltrating the terror network that is allowed to exist in Florida they demonstrated the hypocrisy of America's claimed opposition to terrorism."

As the Five were being prosecuted in Miami, the campaign of terror against Cuba continued. In November 2000, Posada Carriles was arrested in Panama along with three accomplices before they could carry out the plan to blow up an auditorium filled with students at the University of Panamá where Cuban President Fidel Castro was to speak. The four were convicted by a Panamanian Court, but on August 26, 2004, in one of her last acts as President, Mireya Moscoso pardons them in violation of Panamanian law. The three accomplices, all Cuban-Americans, go to Miami to be welcomed home. Posada Carriles who is neither a U.S. citizen nor a lawful permanent resident, goes underground in Honduras and begins to scheme a plan to go to the home of terrorism: Miami.

In March of 2005 he shows up in Miami and applies for asylum. For weeks he lives openly in that city, even going shopping at the mall. Before he is detained by anyone, Venezuela requests his preventive detention for the purpose of extraditing him to Venezuela to stand trial for 73 counts of first degree murder relating to the downing of the passenger plane in 1976.

Rather than exercising an extradition detainer on him, the Department of Homeland Security instead did nothing. It wasn't until Posada called a bizarre press conference in Miami on May 16, 2005 where he openly boasted that the DHS wasn't even looking for him, that government officials felt they had no choice but to detain him. He was detained immediately after the press conference and gingerly escorted in a golf cart with no handcuffs to a waiting helicopter.

Posada was charged with illegal entry into the United States and thus began the legal charade designed to divert attention from the extradition request that remains unattended by the Department of Justice.

As relief from deportation, Posada first claimed he was still a permanent resident of the U.S. In the alternative, he asked for asylum and protection from removal under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). Although it is true that he had been a permanent resident in the 60s, Posada long ago abandoned that status. After all, he has spent the last almost forty years living and killing abroad. Because of his long curriculum of terror, as a matter of law he does not qualify for asylum. That left him only with the possibility CAT relief.

It was then that we witnessed one of the sorriest episodes of legal maneuvering ever by Department of Homeland Security attorneys. Those handling the immigration matter of Posada Carriles at the Immigration Court in El Paso, Texas set the table for Posada to win CAT relief.

Posada called only one witness in his immigration case. A so-called expert on Venezuela who testified that in his expert opinion, Posada would be tortured if returned to Caracas. The witness testified that Venezuela tortures prisoners and that Posada would be surely tortured if sent back. That witness was none other than Joaquín Chaffardet, friend, business partner and lawyer of Luis Posada Carriles in Venezuela. Chaffardet had also been Posada´s boss at the DISIP in the early 1970s, a man that Posada has been close to for the past forty years. The DHS never even cross-examined this guy! Its attorney never even raised the possibility that Chaffardet was not an objective, disinterested witness-but instead was biased in favor of his friend, partner and client. Other than Chaffardet´s questionable testimony, no other evidence in support of the theory that Posada would be tortured in Venezuela was presented.

DHS´s tactic worked. Immigration Judge William Abbott credited Chaffardet´s testimony as credible and found a "clear probability" that Posada would be tortured if returned to Venezuela. Judge Abbott ordered his removal from the United States, but not to Venezuela or Cuba because he would be tortured there. DHS declined to appeal the decision, and began a quest to find a third country that would take him. A few months earlier the DHS had appealed an Immigration Judge´s decision to grant CAT relief to two Venezuelan officers. In that appeal, the same DHS attorney who litigated the Posada case argued that there is no evidence that Venezuela tortures prisoners. Now in the Posada case, DHS took a decidedly different position. Why? You figure it out.

More than six months have passed since the immigration decision. Since it has thus far refused to slap an extradition detainer on him (as Venezuela has requested numerous times), the U.S. government has to either release Posada or declare him a threat to the community. In a letter to Posada dated March 22, 2006, DHS decided to continue to detain him on immigration charges. The letter told Posada that he has a "long history of criminal activity and violence in which innocent civilians were killed." His release from detention concludes ICE in its letter to Posada, "would pose a danger to both the community and the national security of the United States."

In support of its interim decision to continue to detain him, ICE cites Venezuela's pending extradition case against Posada and the fact that Posada fled from a Venezuelan prison while his trial for the downing of a passenger plane in 1976 was pending. "Your past also includes your escape from a Venezuelan prison which was accomplished after several attempts utilizing threats of force, explosives and subterfuge," says ICE in its Decision.

ICE goes on to cite Posada's own statements to link him to the "planning and coordination of a series of hotel and restaurant bombings that occurred in Cuba . . . in 1997." These bombings resulted in the murder of an Italian tourist and the wounding of several others. ICE also cites Posada's conviction in Panama for "crimes against national security," in reference to his attempt to assassinate Cuban President Fidel Castro in 2000 with C- 4 explosives as President Castro was to speak to an auditorium with full of students.

So finally the US government recognizes that Posada is a bad guy! Without actually saying the dreaded word, the letter from ICE virtually calls him a terrorist. The law forced the United States to make this admission. Although it's clear that Washington doesn't want to extradite him to Venezuela, it is not prudent to release him. The only way that he can continue to be detained without an extradition detainer is with a government finding that he is a danger to the community.

But the extradition case is not going to go away. It's there, very much alive. Unless Posada has a heart attack and dies in prison, the law is eventually going to force the US government to proceed with the extradition case. A lot of people think that Judge Abbott´s finding that Posada may not be deported to Venezuela is a ruling on Venezuela's extradition request. That is not the case. Extradition rulings trump immigration decisions.

Moreover, even if Secretary of State Rice decides in her discretion not to extradite Posada, the treaties and conventions signed by the US government in the past obligate this country to prosecute him for downing of the plane in the United States-where noooooooooooo prisoners are ever tortured: right?

Listen to the language of the Montreal Convention on Civil Aviation.

Article 7

The Contracting State in the territory of which the alleged offender is found shall, if it does not extradite him, be obliged, without exception whatsoever and whether or not the offence was committed in its territory, to submit the case to its competent authorities for the purpose of prosecution. Those authorities shall take their decision in the same manner as in the case of any ordinary offence of a serious nature under the law of that State.

The Montreal Convention´s Article 7 gives the US no discretion. It must either extradite or prosecute Posada Carriles for 73 counts of first degree murder in relation to the downing of the airliner. Deporting him to a third country is not an option and neither is releasing him to the community.

The story of CU-455 cries out to be told to the American people. If the American people hear the true story of how those 73 people were murdered in cold blood by terrorists whom the United States prefers to shelter rather than prosecute, they'll not stand for it.

Few people in this country know that Orlando Bosch was released from immigration custody by President George Bush Sr. in 1990, and that he now sits on the dais whenever President Bush Jr. delivers speeches in Miami. Bosch´s lawyer, who happens to be Fulgencio Batista´s grandson, was appointed four years ago by Jeb Bush to Florida's Supreme Court.

The fate of the Cuban Five is in the hands of 12 judges, but the judges must be put under the microscope of public opinion. Despite your best efforts, Americans still don´t know who the Five are or why they went to Miami. It's important that you continue to make sure that their story is told: that the U.S. prosecutes and condemns anti-terrorists, yet shelters and protects terrorists.

It's up to the American people to put a stop to impunity, and it's up to you to make sure the American people learn the truth about these cases and this government.

It's up to you to bring the truth to the American people about Cuba and about Venezuela.

The US government conducts a hypocritical war on terror, while it shelters and rewards the terrorists it prefers. Washington lectures other governments about human rights, while it blockades Cuba, using hunger as a foreign policy tool, in order to try and starve 11 million people into submission.

We cannot sit idly by while the U.S. government blockades and invades countries that have never attacked it, tortures prisoners and takes their pictures as if the victims were curiosity pieces rather than human beings, as it spies on Americans without a warrant, and tramples the civil rights of its citizens with a law whose authors dared title "Patriotic."

In 2002, Washington helped organize a failed coup against a democratically elected government in Venezuela in order to prop up a typical puppet government in Caracas. Thanks to the Venezuelan people, the coup failed and President Chávez was restored to office.

The blockade against Cuba didn't work and neither did the coup in Venezuela. Cuba and Venezuela are now stronger than ever.

The Bush Administration's policies at home and abroad have woken a sleeping and silent giant throughout this continent. And, yes: America is one continent and not two as some U.S. textbooks would have us believe.

We are in the midst of a new social movement that is shaking this continent to its core. On the 30th anniversary of Operation Condor's bloodiest year, we are witness that the people Latin America have taken back their countries from the grip of terror. Argentina, Uruguay, Venezuela, Brazil, Chile and Bolivia have governments that respond to the needs of their own people, rather than to the interests of US corporations. Other countries in will soon join them. This is an election year in America. The people of Latin America are taking back their governments.

It's high time that the people of the United States did the same.

José Pertierra is an attorney, practicing in Washington, D.C. He represents the Venezuelan government in the case of Luis Posada Carriles.

Bolivia, Cuba, Venezuela in trade talks

Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Saturday, April 29, 2006 · Last updated 3:34 a.m. PT

By ANITA SNOW
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER

HAVANA -- Bolivian President Evo Morales joined Fidel Castro of Cuba and Hugo Chavez of Venezuela in Havana for Saturday's endorsement of a socialist trade initiative aimed at providing an alternative to U.S.-backed free trade efforts in Latin America.

Morales on Saturday planned to officially include his Andean nation in the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas - a pact that leftists Castro and Chavez signed a year ago.

So far, only Venezuela and Cuba are signatories to the pact known by its Spanish acronym as ALBA, which also translates to mean "dawn." It also been referred to as the "people's trade agreement."

The pact calls for shared trade and cooperation agreements among Latin American nations in lieu of Washington's unsuccessful Free Trade Area of the Americas, or FTAA, which Chavez and Castro said was a U.S. attempt to "annex" the region.

Saturday's ceremony will mark a deepening political and economic alliance among communist Cuba and left-leaning Venezuela and Bolivia as the three countries work toward their own idea for regional integration without U.S. influence.

Castro warmly greeted Morales in the afternoon, then both met Chavez in the evening.

By late Friday evening, Cuban authorities had released no details about Saturday's signing ceremony, including when and where it would be held.

The trade pact is named for the 19th century South American revolutionary Simon Bolivar, who led independence wars in the present day nations of Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador.

The agreement will allow Bolivia, Cuba and Venezuela to trade some products with zero tariffs and strengthen already close ties among the three nations, whose leaders are known for their strong opposition to U.S. policy.

"We don't want to be rich, but we do want to live well, with dignity, as brothers, so there is no misery, so there is no poverty, so people are not excluded - that is among our fundamental objectives," Chavez said of the trade pact in Caracas on Friday, before leaving for Havana.

Chavez and Morales have warned in recent days that their countries could withdraw from the Andean Community if fellow trade-bloc members Colombia, Peru and Ecuador go through with free-trade pacts with the United States.

Chavez said in his Caracas speech Friday that Venezuela and Cuba would happily buy all the soybeans that Bolivia produces. Colombia - previously a key soybean market for Bolivia - recently signed a free trade pact with the United States and can now get soybeans at much lower prices, the Venezuelan president said.

Since a U.S.-backed FTAA fell apart last year, Washington has signed nine free trade agreements with Latin American countries. Ecuador is currently in negotiations.

"Listen, as long as the free trade pact (with the United States) threatens the small and medium-sized soy producers in Bolivia, ALBA will save them," Chavez said. "We'll take them by the hand and say, 'Come with us, we'll buy your soy beans, look at the difference.' "

Before leaving La Paz for Havana on Friday, Bolivian Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca said his government hoped that new commerce with Cuba and Venezuela would make up for any lost trade with the United States and the Andean Community.

ALBA isn't just about trade. Heavily political in nature, it also calls for cooperation programs among nations, such as the Operation Miracle program Cuba and Venezuela devised to offer free eye surgery to needy people from other Latin American nations.

----

Associated Press writer Chris Toothaker in Caracas contributed to this report.

Bush's Hypocrisy: Cuban Terrorists

www.opednews.com

April 26, 2006

by Robert Parry

Like an aging rock star singing a beloved oldie, George W. Bush can count on cheers whenever he delivers a favorite line from the Bush Doctrine enunciated after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks: Any country that harbors a terrorist is equally guilty as the terrorist.

Bush got a round of applause at an Indianapolis speech on March 24, 2006, when he declared “one of the lessons learned after September the 11th is that we must hold people to account for harboring terrorists. If you harbor a terrorist, if you feed a terrorist, if you house a terrorist, you’re as equally guilty as the terrorist.”

Similarly, Vice President Dick Cheney roused an American Israeli Political Action Committee crowd on March 7, 2006, when he declared that “since the day our country was attacked, we have applied the Bush Doctrine: Any person or government that supports, protects, or harbors terrorists is complicit in the murder of the innocent, and will be held to account.”

But like much else from the post-9/11 period – when frightened Americans put their faith in Bush’s tough talk – this supposedly clear-cut rule applies differently when a Bush ally is implicated in terrorism and the Bushes are the ones doing the harboring.

While the anti-harboring principle is cited when invading Afghanistan and Iraq, the Bush administration continues to turn a blind eye to the presence of right-wing Cuban terrorists living in the United States.

This double standard was underscored again in early April when a Spanish-language Miami television station interviewed notorious Cuban terrorist Orlando Bosch, who offered a detailed justification for the 1976 mid-air bombing of a Cubana Airlines flight that killed 73 people, including the young members of the Cuban national fencing team.

As usual, Bosch refused to admit guilt, but his chilling defense of the bombing – and the strong evidence that has swirled around his role – leave little doubt of his complicity, even as he lives in Miami as a free man.

Another Cuban exile, Luis Posada Carriles, also has been tied to the bombing, but the Bush administration has so far rebuffed Venezuela’s extradition request for him, since he sneaked into the United States in 2005.

Bush Family Ties

But there’s really nothing new about these two terrorists – and other violent right-wing extremists – getting protection from the Bush family.

For three decades, both Bosch and Posada have been under the Bush family’s wing, starting with former President George H.W. Bush (who was CIA director when the airline bombing occurred in 1976) and including Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and President George W. Bush.

The evidence points to one conclusion: the Bushes regard terrorism – defined as killing civilians for a political reason – as justified in cases when their interests match those of the terrorists. Moral clarity against terrorism only applies when the Bush side disagrees with the terrorists.

This hypocrisy often has been aided and abetted by the U.S. news media, which intuitively understands the double standard and largely ignores cases in which the terrorism is connected to U.S. government officials.

The stunning TV interview with Bosch on Miami’s Channel 41 was cited in articles on the Internet by José Pertierra, a lawyer for the Venezuelan government. But Bosch’s comments have received almost no attention from the mainstream U.S. press. [For Pertierra’s story, see Counterpunch, April 11, 2006]

Reporter Juan Manuel Cao interviewed Bosch, who had been jailed for illegally entering the United States but was paroled in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush at the behest of his eldest son Jeb, then an aspiring Florida politician.

“Did you down that plane in 1976?” Cao asked Bosch.

“If I tell you that I was involved, I will be inculpating myself,” Bosch answered, “and if I tell you that I did not participate in that action, you would say that I am lying. I am therefore not going to answer one thing or the other.”

But when Cao asked Bosch to comment on the civilians who died when the plane crashed off the coast of Barbados, Bosch responded, “In a war such as us Cubans who love liberty wage against the tyrant [Fidel Castro], you have to down planes, you have to sink ships, you have to be prepared to attack anything that is within your reach.”

“But don’t you feel a little bit for those who were killed there, for their families?” Cao asked.

“Who was on board that plane?” Bosch responded. “Four members of the Communist Party, five North Koreans, five Guyanese.” [Officials tallies actually put the Guyanese dead at 11.]

Bosch added, “Four members of the Communist Party, chico! Who was there? Our enemies…”

“And the fencers?” Cao asked about Cuba’s amateur fencing team that had just won gold, silver and bronze medals at a youth fencing competition in Caracas. “The young people on board?”

Bosch replied, “I was in Caracas. I saw the young girls on television. There were six of them. After the end of the competition, the leader of the six dedicated their triumph to the tyrant. … She gave a speech filled with praise for the tyrant.

“We had already agreed in Santo Domingo, that everyone who comes from Cuba to glorify the tyrant had to run the same risks as those men and women that fight alongside the tyranny.” [The comment about Santo Domingo was an apparent reference to a strategy meeting by a right-wing terrorist organization, CORU, which took place in the Dominican Republic in 1976.]

“If you ran into the family members who were killed in that plane, wouldn’t you think it difficult?” Cao asked.

“No, because in the end those who were there had to know that they were cooperating with the tyranny in Cuba,” Bosch answered.

In an article about Bosch’s remarks, lawyer Pertierra said the answers “give us a glimpse into the mind of the kind of terrorist that the United States government harbors and protects in Miami; terrorists that for the last 47 years have waged a bloody and ruthless war against the Cuban people.”

The Posada Case

Not only did the first Bush administration free Bosch from jail a decade and a half ago, the second Bush administration has now pushed Venezuela’s extradition request for his alleged co-conspirator, Posada, onto the back burner.

The downed Cubana Airlines flight originated in Caracas where Venezuelan authorities allege the terrorist plot was hatched. However, U.S. officials have resisted returning Posada to Venezuela because its current government of President Hugo Chavez is seen as friendly to Castro’s communist government in Cuba.

At a U.S. immigration hearing in 2005, Posada’s defense attorney put on a Posada friend as a witness who alleged that Venezuela’s government practices torture. Bush administration lawyers didn’t challenge the claim, leading the immigration judge to bar Posada’s deportation to Venezuela.

Theoretically, the Bush administration could still extradite Posada to Venezuela to face the 73 murder counts, but it is essentially ignoring Venezuela’s extradition request, instead holding Posada on minor immigration charges of entering the United States illegally.

In September 2005, Venezuela’s Ambassador Bernardo Alvarez called the 77-year-old Posada “the Osama Bin Laden of Latin America” and accused the Bush administration of applying “a cynical double standard” in its War on Terror.

“The United States presents itself as a leader against terrorism, invades countries, restricts the civil rights of Americans in order to fight terrorism, but when it is about its own terrorists, it denies that they be tried,” Alvarez said.

Alvarez also denied that Venezuela practices torture. “There isn’t a shred of evidence that Posada would be tortured in Venezuela,” Alvarez said, adding that the claim is particularly ironic given widespread press accounts that the Bush administration has abused prisoners at the U.S. military base in Guatanamo Bay, Cuba.

Secret History

Declassified U.S. documents show that after the Cubana Airlines plane was blown out of the sky on Oct. 6, 1976, the CIA, then under the direction of George H.W. Bush, quickly identified Posada and Bosch as the masterminds of the Cubana Airlines bombing.

But in fall 1976, Bush’s boss, President Gerald Ford, was in a tight election battle with Democrat Jimmy Carter and the Ford administration wanted to keep intelligence scandals out of the newspapers. So Bush and other officials kept the lid on the investigations. [For details, see Robert Parry’s Secrecy & Privilege.]

Still, inside the U.S. government, the facts were known. According to a secret CIA cable dated Oct. 14, 1976, intelligence sources in Venezuela relayed information about the Cubana Airlines bombing that tied in anti-communist Cuban extremists Bosch, who had been visiting Venezuela, and Posada, who then served as a senior officer in Venezuela’s intelligence agency, DISIP.

The Oct. 14 cable said Bosch arrived in Venezuela in late September 1976 under the protection of Venezuelan President Carlos Andres Perez, a close Washington ally who assigned his intelligence adviser Orlando Garcia “to protect and assist Bosch during his stay in Venezuela.”

On his arrival, Bosch was met by Garcia and Posada, according to the report. Later, a fundraising dinner was held in Bosch’s honor during which Bosch requested cash from the Venezuelan government in exchange for assurances that Cuban exiles wouldn’t demonstrate during Andres Perez’s planned trip to the United Nations.

“A few days following the fund-raising dinner, Posada was overheard to say that, ‘we are going to hit a Cuban airplane,’ and that ‘Orlando has the details,’” the CIA report said.

“Following the 6 October Cubana Airline crash off the coast of Barbados, Bosch, Garcia and Posada agreed that it would be best for Bosch to leave Venezuela. Therefore, on 9 October, Posada and Garcia escorted Bosch to the Colombian border, where he crossed into Colombian territory.”

The CIA report was sent to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, as well as to the FBI and other U.S. intelligence agencies, according to markings on the cable.

A Round-up

In South America, investigators began rounding up suspects in the bombing.

Two Cuban exiles, Hernan Ricardo and Freddy Lugo, who had left the Cubana plane in Barbados, confessed that they had planted the bomb. They named Bosch and Posada as the architects of the attack.

A search of Posada’s apartment in Venezuela turned up Cubana Airlines timetables and other incriminating documents.

Posada and Bosch were charged in Venezuela for the Cubana Airlines bombing, but the men denied the accusations. The case soon became a political tug-of-war, since the suspects were in possession of sensitive Venezuelan government secrets that could embarrass President Andres Perez. The case lingered for almost a decade.

After the Reagan-Bush administration took power in Washington in 1981, the momentum for fully unraveling the mysteries of anti-communist terrorist plots dissipated. The Cold War trumped any concern about right-wing terrorism.

In 1985, Posada escaped from a Venezuelan prison, reportedly with the help of Cuban exiles. In his autobiography, Posada thanked Miami-based Cuban activist Jorge Mas Canosa for providing the $25,000 that was used to bribe guards who allowed Posada to walk out of prison.

Another Cuban exile who aided Posada was former CIA officer Felix Rodriguez, who was close to then-Vice President George H.W. Bush and who was overseeing secret supply shipments to the Nicaraguan contra rebels, a pet project of President Reagan.

After fleeing Venezuela, Posada joined Rodriguez in Central America and was assigned the job of paymaster for pilots in the contra-supply operation.

When one of the contra-supply planes was shot down inside Nicaragua in October 1986, Posada was responsible for alerting U.S. officials to the crisis and then shutting down the operation’s safe houses in El Salvador.

Even after the exposure of Posada’s role in the contra-supply operation, the U.S. government made no effort to bring the accused terrorist to justice.

By the late 1980s, Orlando Bosch also was out of Venezuela’s jails and back in Miami. But Bosch, who had been implicated in about 30 violent attacks, was facing possible deportation by U.S. officials who warned that Washington couldn’t credibly lecture other countries about terrorism while protecting a terrorist like Bosch.

But Bosch got lucky. Jeb Bush, then an aspiring Florida politician, led a lobbying drive to prevent the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service from expelling Bosch. In 1990, the lobbying paid dividends when Jeb's dad, President George H.W. Bush, blocked proceedings against Bosch, letting the unapologetic terrorist stay in the United States.

In 1992, also during George H.W. Bush’s presidency, the FBI interviewed Posada about the Iran-Contra scandal for 6 ½ hours at the U.S. Embassy in Honduras.

Posada filled in some blanks about the role of Bush’s vice presidential office in the secret contra operation. According to a 31-page summary of the FBI interview, Posada said Bush’s national security adviser, Donald Gregg, was in frequent contact with Felix Rodriguez.

“Posada … recalls that Rodriguez was always calling Gregg,” the FBI summary said. “Posada knows this because he’s the one who paid Rodriguez’ phone bill.” After the interview, the FBI agents let Posada walk out of the embassy to freedom. [For details, see Parry’s Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & Project Truth.]

More Attacks

Posada soon returned to his anti-Castro plotting.

In 1994, Posada set out to kill Castro during a trip to Cartagena, Colombia. Posada and five cohorts reached Cartagena, but the plan flopped when security cordons prevented the would-be assassins from getting a clean shot at Castro, according to a Miami Herald account. [Miami Herald, June 7, 1998]

The Herald also described Posada’s role in a lethal 1997 bombing campaign against popular hotels and restaurants inside Cuba that killed an Italian tourist. The story cited documentary evidence that Posada arranged payments to conspirators from accounts in the United States.

“This afternoon you will receive via Western Union four transfers of $800 each … from New Jersey,” said one fax signed by SOLO, a Posada alias.

Posada landed back in jail in 2000 after Cuban intelligence uncovered a plot to assassinate Castro by planting a bomb at a meeting the Cuban leader planned with university students in Panama.

Panamanian authorities arrested Posada and other alleged co-conspirators in November 2000. In April 2004, they were sentenced to eight or nine years in prison for endangering public safety.

Four months after the sentencing, however, lame-duck Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso – who lives in Key Biscayne, Florida, and has close ties to the Cuban-American community and to George W. Bush’s administration – pardoned the convicts.

Despite press reports saying Moscoso had been in contact with U.S. officials about the pardons, the State Department denied that it pressured Moscoso to release the Cuban exiles. After the pardons and just two months before Election 2004, three of Posada’s co-conspirators – Guillermo Novo Sampol, Pedro Remon and Gaspar Jimenez – arrived in Miami to a hero’s welcome, flashing victory signs at their supporters.

While the terrorists celebrated, U.S. authorities watched the men – also implicated in bombings in New York, New Jersey and Florida – alight on U.S. soil. As Washington Post writer Marcela Sanchez noted in a September 2004 article about the Panamanian pardons, “there is something terribly wrong when the United States, after Sept. 11 (2001), fails to condemn the pardoning of terrorists and instead allows them to walk free on U.S. streets.” [Washington Post, Sept. 3, 2004]

Posada reportedly sneaked into the United States in early 2005 and his presence was an open secret in Miami for weeks before U.S. authorities did anything. The New York Times summed up Bush’s dilemma if Posada decided to seek U.S. asylum.

“A grant of asylum could invite charges that the Bush administration is compromising its principle that no nation should harbor suspected terrorists,” the Times wrote. “But to turn Mr. Posada away could provoke political wrath in the conservative Cuban-American communities of South Florida, deep sources of support and campaign money for President Bush and his brother, Jeb.” [NYT, May 9, 2005]

Only after Posada called a news conference to announce his presence was the Bush administration shamed into arresting him. But even then, the administration balked at sending Posada back to Venezuela where the Chavez government – unlike some of its predecessors – would be eager to prosecute him.

Now, Bosch’s stunning defense of a terrorist attack that killed 73 people drives home the point again that the Bush administration has two standards for terrorists – one for its allies and one for its enemies. Suddenly harboring terrorists isn't quite the heinous crime that it is when President Bush and Vice President Cheney are denouncing it to applause from American audiences.

###

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, can be ordered at secrecyandprivilege.com. It's also available at Amazon.com, as is his 1999 book, Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth.'

Friday, April 28, 2006

2005: What politicians received funds from the Miami Ultra Right?

Source: Federal Election Commission, Washington, D.C.

January 30, 2006

The data, separated by commas, is as follow:

Name of the politician, office sought, amount received, and date.

John J Barrow, U.S. House Georgia District 12, $1000.00, 09/23/2005
John J Barrow, U.S. House Georgia District 12, $1000.00, 12/19/2005
Bill Nelson, U.S. Senate from Florida, $1000.00, 09/30/2005
Bill Nelson, U.S. Senate from Florida, $3000.00, 12/19/2005
Bob Etheridge, U.S. House North Carolina District 2, $1000.00, 09/23/2005
Bob Ney, U.S. House Ohio District 18, $1000.00, 11/04/2005
Henry Bonilla, U.S. House Texas District 23, $160.00, 07/08/2005
G.K Butterfield, U.S. House North Carolina District 1, $1000.00, 11/04/2005
G.K Butterfield, U.S. House North Carolina District 1, $3000.00, 11/30/2005
John Campbell, U.S. House California District 48, $1000.00, 09/06/2005
Ben Chandler, U.S. House Kentucky District 6, $2000.00, 06/31/2005
Chet Edwards, U.S. House Texas District 17, $1000.00, 09/23/2005
Eliot Engel, U.S. House New York District 17, $1000.00, 09/27/2005
John Ensign, U.S. Senate from Nevada, $3000.00, 10/20/2005
Mike Fitzpatrick, U.S. House Pennsylvania District 8, $1000.00, 11/04/2005
Virginia Fox, U.S. House North Carolina District 5, 1000.00, 12/13/2005
Trent Franks, U.S. House Arizona District 2, $1000.00, 09/06/2005
Alcee Hastings, U.S. House Florida District 23, $1000.00, 12/13/2005
Brian Higgins, U.S. House New York District 27, $1000.00, 12/19/2005
Bob Inglis, U.S. House South Carolina District 4, $1000.00, 07/21/2005
John Salazar, U.S. House Colorado District 3, $4000.00, 12/16/2005
Kendrick Meek, U.S. House Florida District 17, $1000.00, 11/30/2005
Randy Kuhl, U.S. House New York District 29, $1000.00, 11/04/2005
Steven LaTourette, U.S. House Ohio District 14, $1000.00, 12/13/2005
Lee Terry, U.S. House Nebraska District 2, $1000.00, 11/14/2005
Lesley Miller, U.S. House Florida District 11, $1000.00, 09/30/2005
Jim Marshall, U.S. House, Georgia District 3, $1,000.00, 09/23/2005
Thaddeus McCotter, U.S. House Michigan District 11, $1000.00, 12/28/2005
Cathy McMorris, U.S. House Washington District 5, $1000.00, 07/21/2005
Cathy McMorris, U.S. House Washington District 5, $1000.00, 09/23/2005
Charlie Melancon Jr, U.S. House Louisiana District 3, $1000.00, 07/21/2005
Charlie Melancon Jr, U.S. House Louisiana District 3, $1000.00, 12/19/2005
Bob Menendez, U.S. House New Jersey District 13, $1000.00, 09/13/2005
Solomon Ortiz, U.S. House Texas District 27, $1000.00, 07/21/2005
Solomon Ortiz, U.S. House Texas District 27, $1000.00, 11/30/2005
Frank Pallone, U.S. House New Jersey District 6, $1000.00, $2000.00, 07/21/2005
Tom Price, U.S. House Georgia District 6, $1000.00, 09/23/2005
Dennis Rehberg, U.S. House Montana District 1, $2500, 09/06/2005
Dave Reichert, U.S. House Washington District 5, $1000.00, 12/13/2005
Adam Schiff, U.S. House California District 29, $1000.00, 11/30/2005
Jean Schmidt, U.S. House Ohio District 2, $1000.00, 11/14/2005
Schultz Debbie Wasserman, U.S. House Florida District 20, $4000.00, 10/17/2005
Joe Schwarz, U.S. House Michigan District 7, $1000.00, 07/21/2005
Joe Schwarz, U.S. House Michigan District 7, $1000.00, 11/14/2005
Brad Sherman, U.S. House California District 27, $1000.00, 09/23/2005
John M Shimkus, U.S. House Illinois District 19, $1000.00, 12/13/2005
Michael E Sodrel, U.S. House Indiana District 9, $1000.00, 11/14/2005
Ted Poe, U.S. House Texas District 2, $2000.00, 07/21/2005
David Wu, U.S. House Oregon District 1, $1000.00, 09/27/2005

Senator Bill Nelson goes to Miami begging for more money!

He already got $4,000 last year. He wants more!

The Associated Press
Posted April 28, 2006, 3:41 PM EDT

MIAMI -- U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson announced legislation Friday to keep Cuba from oil drilling in the waters between the Caribbean island nation and the Florida Keys.

The Democratic senator's bill would block the renewal of a 1977 international agreement allowing Cuba to conduct commercial activity near the Keys -- unless Cuba would agree not to put oil rigs in the Florida Straits close to the low-lying island chain off Florida's southern tip.

"At risk are the Florida Keys and the state's tourism economy, not to mention the $8 billion that Congress is investing to restore the Everglades," Nelson in a statement.

The 1977 Maritime Boundary Agreement dividing control of the 90 miles of sea between Cuba and the Keys must be renewed every two years, and was last renewed in 2004.

Nelson's legislation would also deny visas to executives of foreign oil companies who continue drilling off Cuba's northern coast.

A message left for the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, D.C., was not immediately returned.

In a February meeting in Mexico with U.S. energy executives, Cuban officials announced plans to double their drilling capacity and explore for oil offshore. Since the discovery of oil deposits off its coast two years ago,

Cuba has signed exploration deals with Canadian, Chinese, Indian and Norwegian firms.

Nelson has joined Mel Martinez, Florida's Republican senator, in opposing efforts to allow oil and gas drilling off the state's Gulf coast, saying drilling could interfere with military training and poses environmental risks that could threaten beaches vital to Florida's tourism industry.

A Martinez spokesman said he could not immediately comment Friday.

U.S. Rep. John Peterson, R-Pa., who last year co-sponsored legislation that would have removed drilling moratoriums in parts of the Gulf of Mexico, called Nelson's bill an "attempt to control the national energy policy of Cuba."

Other countries already drill just as close to the coasts of other states, Peterson said.

"If Mr. Nelson was serious about preventing foreign nations from producing energy off our coasts, his bill would seek to obstruct the Canadian drilling program as well -- which has set up shop off Maine in the east, Washington state in the West, and Lake Erie in the north," Peterson said in a statement.

U.S. companies are prohibited from doing business with Cuba under a 45-year-old trade embargo.

Castro has been around since the Roman Empire

Chess Base

By Adolivio Capece

27.04.2006. The second edition of the International Chess Week in Frascati, the nice town near Rome, Italy. Frascati is very well known all over the world: it was founded by Romans as Castrum Frascati. There are many important historical buildings, such as the Villa Aldobrandini, Villa Piccolomini and Villa Torlonia.

It is also remembered for the special guests, this year Anatoly Karpov and Alexandra Kosteniuk.

Castrum is Latin for Castro.

New York director hopes to warm U.S.-Cuba relations with musical in Havana

The Brandon Sun

Friday, April 28th, 2006

HAVANA (AP) - A theatre director from New York opened a show in Cuba that makes a point some might find as old-fashioned as the Cold War: that young people in love can overcome all obstacles, even if one is American and the other Cuban.

Habana Carnaval, or Havana Carnival, which opened Thursday night, is a dramatic musical telling the story of a young American woman, a young Cuban man, and a budding love threatened by circumstances created by the rocky relationship between their two countries.

Musical director Tony Giordano selected both American and Cuban performers for the show, which will run on the Communist-run island just for a week before Giordano hopes to have it travel internationally.

"Can you imagine what would happen if we were back and forth more often?" Giordano said of U.S. travel restrictions that keep most Americans from visiting Cuba. He spoke during a break in rehearsals for opening night.

"I'd give anything to show this show to all the people in America and I'd give anything for more talented people in America to come and do this," he added.

Giordano said American diplomats from the U.S. Interests Section in Havana were invited to attend the show's opening at Havana's Teatro Nacional, a rare production of a stage show or a musical in Cuba directed by an American.

Although the two countries have not had diplomatic relations for more than four decades, both keep "interests sections" in each other's capitals, under the mantle of the Swiss Embassy, to handle visas and other consular affairs.

The United States also maintains a trade and financial embargo against the island in an effort to force a change in Fidel Castro's government. Restrictions have been tightened under the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush.

"I'm not interested in politics, I'm basically a philosopher," Giordano said.

Individual people, he said, are so much more important.

"I came to give Cuba a gift," said Giordano, adding that the Cubans he has met have given him so much more. "These people," he said, "have such heart!"

Cuban-American Frank Gonzalez certified to run against Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart

www.politicalgateway.com

Frank Officially Certified As 2006 Candidate

2006-04-25

For immediate release. (Contact: Gonzalez for Congress Campaign, www.electfrank.org, 786-287-7491)

The Florida Department of State's Division of Elections issued a certification on April 21 declaring that Frank Gonzalez collected the 3,014 minimum signatures he needed in 2006 to qualify as a candidate for U.S. House of Representatives in Florida's District 21, held for 14 years by Bush Republican Lincoln Diaz-Balart, 52.

Most federal candidates in other districts chose, in effect, to buy their way instantly onto the 2006 ballot by paying nearly $10,000 to the state government.

"It's a win-win situation with goodies for everyone except Florida voters like me who are beyond disgusted from decades of the same garbage in politics. This is a law that basically states its contempt for voters right to their faces", said Gonzalez.

Instead, he qualified for the second time by what he said is the only honorable method--collecting signatures personally from random district voters, between January 12th and March 5th, as a Miami Herald story reported on February 6th. He said eliminating petitioning regulations would have helped both of his own campaign efforts as well as those by the grassroots effort currently underway to recall Miami-Dade County Commissioner, Natasha Seijas. He has also filed a formal complaint with the Division of Elections against his opponent's method of qualifying by petition on the grounds that they violated petitioning rules.

In his 2004 race, Gonzalez received nearly 55,000 votes, 27.2%, as a fiscally disciplined yet widely socially tolerant Libertarian. Despite his lack of money, volunteers, name recognition and major party backing, he fared better than the only previous challenger, a Democrat in 1998 who received just 25.2%.

For 2006, he decided to join the mainstream by running as a Democrat. Though he maintains the same underlying philosophy, he believes this common-ground strategy will unify the 57% non-Republican district voters, as well as appealing to a fair number of equally socially tolerant Republicans who signed his petition.

Miami-Dade County makes up 80% of District 21 while Broward County makes up the rest. Unlike in 2004, he made sure to collect signatures from both counties according to these percentages. Voters who live in Pembroke Pines, Miramar, Miami Lakes, Hialeah, Miami Springs, Virginia Gardens, Doral, Sweetwater, Westchester, Fontainbleu, Kendall, Pinecrest, Palmetto Bay and Richmond Heights were eligible to sign and are still eligible to participate in the election.

Though Gonzalez did most of the work himself in order to maximize his contact with the public, he thanked activists Julio Linares, James Valle, Stacy Richter, Camilo Gutierrez and Pat McCabe, as well as 2004 veterans, Patricia Lecusay and Jed Schlackman, for helping him complete the huge task. He estimates the average age of these volunteers at a young 34--his own age too.

Here are the final results:

Estimated total signatures collected: 5,500+. Total screened signatures submitted: 4,024. Total signatures verified: 3,430. Validity rate of signatures submitted: 85.24%.

Voters can learn more at www.electfrank.org or 786-287-7491

-------------------------------------------

You may want to check Walter Lippmann's Cuba before the Revolution of 1959: An Exchange of views (March 2005). It discusses Frank Gonzalez.

Is Alpha 66 a Terrorist Organization?

Source: http://www.poptel.org.uk

Alpha 66 says it carried out bomb attacks

THE Cuban exile terrorist group, Alpha 66, has claimed responsibility for the bomb attacks which hit three Cuban hotels and a tour agency offices this summer.

The daily Granma said declarations by the radical Miami based Alpha 66 "put in ridicule" US demands that Cuba prove its claims that U.S. based groups were behind the bombings.

"Our cells in Cuba" were responsible, said Nazario Sargen, secretary general of Alpha 66. "All the violence that's happening in Cuba has something to do with our contacts."

There were three explosions in different locations in Havana. Two on July 12 in the Nacional and Capri hotels in Havana caused minor injuries to three people, and one in the Melia Cohiba hotel on August 4, followed an attack on the offices of the state run Havanatur travel agency in Nassau on the same day.

In April and May two other devices were found in hotel rooms and defused before they could cause damage.

The Cuban government says it has evidence that links the bombings to terrorist groups in the United States and it accuses the United States of sponsoring measures to cripple the economy that go beyond the U.S.-imposed economic embargo.

In June, after two devices were found in hotel rooms, the FBI launched an investigation into the possible US origins of the explosive known as C-4 which was used in all the attacks. The investigation was dropped mysteriously after proving inconclusive. C-4 is a plastic explosive manufactured in the United States and exported to many developing countries.

"What's the difference," asked a Cuban official, "between openly attempting to destroy our economy and covertly using terrorism to accomplish the same end?" But the Unites States denied the accusations.

The Miami Herald, taking advantage of these events and guided by their Cuban "expert" pointed at inner dissatisfaction and possible involvement of renegade military who, in their opinion, were unhappy and provided not only the explosives but access to the hotel lobbies.

In recent years, Cuba has accused the United States of plotting biological war, allowing anti-Castro exiles to plan terrorism from U.S. territory and of illegally waging war against its economy.

If President Clinton wants anti-terrorism to remain a solid pillar of U.S. policy, he should be consistent. He should crack down on anti-Castro exiles in the United States who plan terrorism. The United States has never even apologised for the terrorism it conducted. Instead, each year the State Department routinely places Cuba on its terrorist nation list, even though the evidence points the other way.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

PASTORS FOR PEACE WINS LEGAL BATTLE AGAINST ALPHA 66

Source:
www.blythe.org

San Diego, July 13, 1998 (RHC)-- The U.S. religious/solidarity
organization Pastors for Peace has won a legal claim in the
State of California against a right-wing, extremist Cuban-
American group known as Alpha 66. Several members of the
group -- including Alpha 66 leaders -- attacked participants
of a humanitarian aid caravan near San Diego in May last year.
One vehicle, driven by members of the right-wing group,
attempted to force the caravan off an interstate highway,
repeatedly crashing into a Pastors for Peace vehicle, loaded
with supplies and eight passengers.

In a decision handed down by the Superior Court of California,
it was ruled that Alpha 66 members could not harass or
threaten Pastors for Peace, nor could they come within 50
yards of the religious organization's members or vehicles.

The court decision comes at the same time that the 8th U.S.-
Cuba Friendshipment Caravan, organized by Pastors for Peace,
is on the road. The material aid caravan is scheduled to
arrive in Texas later this week and will cross the border into
Mexico on July 20th. More than 500 tons of supplies,
including busses and several mobile libraries, will then be
shipped to Cuba from the port of Tampico.

China Eyeing Cuba Offshore Oil

www.newsmax.com

Thursday, April 27, 2006 10:38 p.m. EDT

China and a host of other oil-hungry nations will be tapping into huge offshore oil deposits a mere 50 miles from the United States while this nation is forced to endure rising gas prices as a result of record high demand for oil fueled by such countries as China and India.

According to Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, the U.S. energy sector has been "hamstrung" from seeking additional oil resources while at the same time allowing "the likes of China, Canada, Brazil, Spain, France and others to freely seek energy opportunities 50 miles off our coast without competition from state-of-the-art technologies and expertise of our own U.S. gas and oil industries."

In a speech on the Senate floor, Craig said that a February 2005 U.S. Geological Survey report described "a possible deposit in the North Cuba Basin estimated at 4.6 billion barrels of oil, and possibly as much as 9.3 billion barrels." He then reminded his colleagues "that estimates for Alaska National Wildlife Refuge range from 4 billion to 10 billion barrels."

So, he said, "The question must be asked: 'What is the U.S. doing while foreign companies and countries are exploring right off the U.S. coast in the North Cuba Basin, which is adjacent to the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf and contiguous with this country's Exclusive Economic Zone?' Well, I can firmly tell my colleagues that we are doing absolutely nothing. Not one single U.S. company is exploring in these potentially beneficial waters that extend to within 50 miles off the coast of Florida. So, we sit here watching China exploit a valuable resource within eyesight of the U.S. coast. I say -- not on my watch."

Craig added that he is "certain the American public would be shocked, as this country is trying to reduce our dependency on Middle East oil, that countries like China are realizing this energy resource."

China, which he said is the world's second-largest user of petroleum products "is using this area off our coast, and in Cuban national waters, as a strategic commodities reserve. It is doing this by acquiring exclusive rights in the emerging Cuban offshore oil sector -- thereby forever closing the door on those resources to the U.S. industry and drastically impacting our foreign policy in the region."

According to the Bush administration's "National Security Strategy," China is "expanding trade, but acting as if they can somehow lock up energy supplies around the world or seek to direct markets rather than opening them up."

A shocking report aired on the Lou Dobbs show Thursday night revealed that Cuba has not only allowed China to drill but also to service an old Soviet refinery in Cuba while U.S. companies are locked out of the game. The Dobbs report also revealed that Venezuela's Castroite president, Hugo Chavez, has offered Chinese oil firms operating rights in his country.

Craig wants to introduce legislation that will allow the United States to operate in these waters off our southern coast, adding that we cannot allow China to lock up a potentially lucrative oil supply for life in our own backyard.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Poema de una Maestra Cubana

NIURKA O. GÓMEZ PÉREZ es una maestra en la Escuela Primaria Eloy Alfaro Delgado, en el Vedado, La Habana, Cuba.

"Si yo pudiera"

Si yo pudiera pedir
Que la gente no muriera
La familia no sufriría
Y que felices vivieran.

Si yo pudiera pedir
Armonía en este mundo
Que sientan amor profundo
Como amigo
Como hermano
Y que se dieran las manos.

Si yo pudiera pedir
Que se acabara la guerra
Que halla paz en la tierra
Y con tranquilidad vivir.

Si yo pudiera ayudar
A los pobres de la tierra
Eliminaría las guerras
Y a los enfermos salvar.

Si yo pudiera ayudar
Los niños no sufrirían
Ni tampoco morirían
Sanamente reirían.

Si yo pudiera ayudar
El mundo lo cambiaría
Los pueblos no sufrirían
Porque ese es mi gran afán.

Si yo pudiera ayudar
Todo me lo quitaría
Las manos me llenaría
Brindando un trozo de pan.