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Miami-Dade Reversal — A Cuban Terrorist Payback To Bush Family?

by Peter Dale Scott

Stri­dent broad­casts from a vio­lent­ly anti-Cas­tro radio sta­tion influ­enced the Mia­mi-Dade Can­vass­ing Board­’s deci­sion to reverse itself and vote to stop recount­ing bal­lots. The radio sta­tion’s found­ing was spon­sored by the Rea­gan-Bush admin­is­tra­tion. PNS cor­re­spon­dent Peter Dale Scott is author of Deep Pol­i­tics and the Death of JFK and co-author of Cocaine Pol­i­tics. Scot­t’s web­site is http://socrates.berkeley.edu/~pdscott.

If Gov. George W. Bush wins the pres­i­den­cy because votes in Mia­mi-Dade Coun­ty were not recount­ed, con­sid­er it a pay­back for past favors grant­ed Cuban ter­ror­ists by George Bush Sr.

When the Mia­mi-Dade Can­vass­ing Board reversed itself and vot­ed to stop recount­ing bal­lots, at least one of the three mem­bers said his deci­sion was influ­enced by the vehe­ment protests of Radio Mam­bi.

This stri­dent­ly anti-Com­mu­nist sta­tion is an arm of the vio­lent­ly anti-Cas­tro Cuban Amer­i­can Nation­al Foun­da­tion (CANF), found­ed in 1981 by a for­mer CIA ter­ror­ist, Jorge Mas Canosa, with the encour­age­ment (some say, at the behest) of the new­ly elect­ed Rea­gan-Bush admin­is­tra­tion.

Author Gae­ton Fonzi, who has deep roots in the Mia­mi Cuban com­mu­ni­ty, has writ­ten that the CANF was “secret­ly seed­ed” by the “pub­lic diplo­ma­cy” pro­gram set up at the time by CIA Direc­tor William Casey “as cov­er for a covert domes­tic pro­pa­gan­da effort.”

Cer­tain­ly the Rea­gan-Bush admin­is­tra­tion show­ered fed­er­al funds on Radio Mar­ti, which beams anti-Cas­tro pro­pa­gan­da into Cuba. As pres­i­dent, Bush estab­lished TV Mar­ti and shield­ed it against the crit­i­cism that no one in Cuba could see it.

Mas Canosa was chair­man of the advi­so­ry board on broad­casts to Cuba, and kept tight con­trol over the activ­i­ties of the two sta­tions.

But from the out­set the CANF was involved in more than pro­pa­gan­da. It quick­ly became a haven for for­mer CIA ter­ror­ists, many of them known to Mas Canosa from the era when he him­self plot­ted to blow up a Cuban ship for the CIA.

For exam­ple, Mas Canosa appoint­ed the broth­ers Guiller­mo and Igna­cio Novo to the CAN­F’s “Infor­ma­tion Com­mis­sion.” The two were impli­cat­ed, though ulti­mate­ly not con­vict­ed, in the Sep­tem­ber, 1976 assas­si­na­tion of for­mer Chilean Ambas­sador Orlan­do Lete­lier. At that time, George Bush was direc­tor of the CIA.

For weeks after the killing, the U.S. press ran sto­ries that (as the New York Times put it) the FBI and CIA “had vir­tu­al­ly ruled out the idea that Mr. Lete­lier was killed by agents of the Chilean mil­i­tary jun­ta.” Instead, they were report­ed­ly inves­ti­gat­ing “the pos­si­bil­i­ty that Mr. Lete­lier had been assas­si­nat­ed by Chilean left-wing extrem­ists.” George Bush was said to have told Kissinger per­son­al­ly that oper­a­tives of the Chilean jun­ta “did not take part in Lete­lier’s killing.”

But recent­ly released CIA doc­u­ments reveal that a month before Lete­lier’s mur­der the U.S. Gov­ern­ment was con­cerned about infor­ma­tion indi­cat­ing the Chilean jun­ta was con­tem­plat­ing an assas­si­na­tion inside the Unit­ed States.

Two days after the mur­der, Bush received the fol­low­ing mes­sage from his Spe­cial Assis­tant:

“(Name obscured) tells me that his peo­ple have not­ed a strong sim­i­lar­i­ty between Lete­lier killing and the sort of thing that goes on all the time in Mia­mi with­in the Cuban exile com­mu­ni­ty. . . . (and) spec­u­lates that, if Chilean Govt did order Lete­lier’s killing, it may have hired Cuban thugs to do it.”

Only under the suc­ceed­ing Carter admin­is­tra­tion were four Mia­mi Cubans con­vict­ed of the mur­der. Two (includ­ing Guiller­mo Novo) were cleared in 1981 after an appeal and sec­ond tri­al.

At the core of the CANF ter­ror­ist con­nec­tion was Mas Canosa’s per­son­al friend­ship with two oth­er Cubans who had worked for the CIA, Luis Posa­da and Felix Rodriguez. In 1985 Rodriguez was report­ing per­son­al­ly to Vice Pres­i­dent Bush’s office about his logis­ti­cal sup­port for the Con­tras from a base in El Sal­vador.

That same year, Mas Canosa helped Posa­da escape from a Venezue­lan prison and relo­cate in El Sal­vador as part of the Rodriguez Con­tra sup­ply oper­a­tion. (Sev­en years lat­er, at a $1,000-a-plate fund-rais­ing din­ner, Pres­i­dent Bush said, “I salute Jorge Mas.”)

Since then Posa­da has been arrest­ed a num­ber of times for attempts to mur­der Fidel Castro–most recent­ly dur­ing Novem­ber’s Ibero-Amer­i­can Sum­mit in Pana­ma, where he was arrest­ed with three oth­er Cuban exiles includ­ing Guiller­mo Novo.

The CANF has issued a press release deny­ing pub­lished reports from Pana­ma that the Foun­da­tion is pay­ing the expens­es of the attor­ney rep­re­sent­ing the four men. But Posa­da has spo­ken and writ­ten of CANF sup­port for past ter­ror­ist attacks, as once doc­u­ment­ed in the New York Times.

Jose Anto­nio Lla­ma, a mem­ber of the CANF exec­u­tive board, was indict­ed as the prin­ci­pal orga­niz­er of the attempt­ed mur­der of Cas­tro at the 1997 Sum­mit. Although Lla­ma was ulti­mate­ly acquit­ted, observers not­ed that his indict­ment sig­naled that the U.S. gov­ern­ment would no longer tol­er­ate anti-Cas­tro ter­ror­ism by Mia­mi Cuban extrem­ists.

One of the defense attor­neys in that case, Juan Masi­ni-Sol­er, com­ment­ed: “If it was Ronald Rea­gan or George Bush in the White House, they’d be giv­ing these peo­ple the Medal of Free­dom. And here, now, they’re indict­ing them.”

It remains to be seen whether Gov. Bush, if he is elect­ed Pres­i­dent, will adopt the anti-Cas­tro poli­cies of his father.


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