[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


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 Carriles’s 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.

Wasn’t 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 
Washington’s 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.

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

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