[Ppnews] Cuban Five - History Repeats Itself
Political Prisoner News
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Tue Oct 13 11:56:39 EDT 2009
October 13, 2009
The Untold Story of the Cuban Five
History Repeats Itself
By RICARDO ALARCÓN de QUESADA
Just a couple of days after the Clinton White
House encounter with García Márquez, US diplomats
in Havana approached Cuban authorities. We had a
number of discussions specially focused on what
the US had found about terrorist plots against
civilian aircrafts and the warning that the FAA
felt obliged to issue. In the course of those
exchanges the US asked formally for a high level
FBI delegation to come to Havana with a view
toward receiving from their counterparts our
intelligence concerning the ongoing terrorist
campaign. In preparation for that visit an
Assistant Secretary of State, John Hamilton,
communicated that this time they would like to
emphasize the seriousness of the United States
offer to investigate any evidence that [Cuba] might have.
The meetings were held in Havana on June 16-17,
1998. The US team was given copious information,
both documentary and testimonies. The material
handed over included the investigations related
to 31 terrorist acts, having taken place between
1990 and 1998, including detailed information on
the financing of the most dangerous actions
carried out by Luis Posada Carriless network.
The information included lists and photographs of
weapons, explosives and other material seized in
each case. Additionally, 51 pages with evidence
concerning how the money was routed to various
groups for terrorist acts on the island. The FBI
also received tapes recording 14 phone
conversations in which Posada Carriles referred
to violent attacks against Cuba. Specific data
was provided on how to locate the notorious
murderer, such as his home addresses, places he
frequented, and his car number plates in El
Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala and Panama.
The FBI took the files of 40 Cuban-born
terrorists, most living in Miami, and the clues
to find each individual. The US delegation
brought back with them three 2-gramme samples of
explosive substances from the bombs deactivated
before they could have exploded in the Melia
Cohiba Hotel on April 30, 1997 and in a tourist
van on October 19, 1997, as well as the explosive
device confiscated from two Guatemalans on March 4, 1998.
The FBI was also given 5 video and 8 audio
cassettes and their transcripts with statements
by the Central Americans who had been arrested
for placing bombs in hotels. There they talked
about their links to Cuban gangs and in particular to Posada Carriles.
The US side acknowledged the value of the
information and made a commitment to reply as soon as possible.
We never got a word back. Nobody knows for sure
what the FBI did with the evidence and the
thorough information they received in Havana.
They certainly did not use it to arrest any of
the criminals or to open any investigations.
Wasnt the State Department any more worried with
the information it had gathered on its own
concerning terrorist attacks against commercial
airlines? What happened with their preoccupation
with the lives and security of passengers, including American passengers?
Is that the way to take immediate steps on a
problem worthy of the full attention of his
Government, of which they would urgently take
care as solemnly promised at the White House? Or
to emphasize the seriousness of the United States?
It may be assumed that the FBI shared the
information they got with their pals in Miami.
If facts have any meaning this must have been the
case. On September 12, 1998, almost three months
after the visit to Havana, we learnt through the
media about the detention of Gerardo, Ramón,
Antonio, Fernando and René and that Mr. Pesquera,
the FBI chief in Miami, was, on that Saturday
morning, visiting with Ileana Ros Lehtinen and
Lincoln Díaz-Balart the Batista-Miami
Congresspersons to inform them of the incarceration of the five Cubans.
History repeated itself. In 1996 President
Clinton gave instructions to stop Brothers to the
Rescue air provocations, but when his orders
reached Miami, the local mob conspired to do
exactly the opposite. In 1998 the very same
President appeared to be willing to put an end to
terrorist attacks against Cuba and also against
Americans but when his intentions were learnt
in Miami, the FBI there blew them out.
Mr. Pesquera has recognized in a press interview
that his main difficulty was in getting
Washingtons authorization to apprehend the Five.
It should have been very hard, indeed. Was not
Washington supposed to be on the other side of
the fence in the fight against terrorism?
But Mr. Pesquera and his cronies, won. They
proved being able to ignore law and decency, and
to ridicule again the US Commander in Chief. Remember Elian?
Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada is president of the Cuban National Assembly.
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
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