On July 22, 2006, the Cuban-American National Foundation (CANF) celebrated its 25th anniversary at the Hotel Biltmore in Coral Gables. However, the most powerful US-based extreme rightist Cuban organization, shaken by a new scandal, could not enjoy that party appropriately.
In fact, a month earlier, on June 22, 2006, Jose Antonio Llama, a former CANF director, revealed publicly what everyone knew for a long time: the CANF is a terrorist organization. Llama acknowledged that he, along with members of the organization´s hierarchy, had set up a paramilitary group to carry out attacks on Cuba and to assassinate its president, Fidel Castro .
According to “ToÃ±in”, as his friends call him, the CANF had a cargo helicopter, ten ultra-light remote-controlled planes, seven boats, a Midnight Express speedboat and an unlimited amount of explosives. “We were impatient about the survival of the Castro regime after the demise of the Soviet Union and the socialist system. We wanted to speed up democratization in Cuba using any means to achieve it,” he said .
The 75-year-old former director explained, without omitting a detail, his terrorist career. For example, he underlined that the plot to assassinate Fidel Castro, planned in 1997 with four of his accomplices, during the Ibero-American Summit on Isla Margarita, Venezuela, was frustrated due to the interference of Puerto Rican authorities when they were on his boat La Esperanza. He and his acolytes were tried and acquitted in December 1999 due toâ€¦ lack of evidence .
After the trial, Llama distanced himself from the CANF, as the organization refused to pay for the legal expenses resulting from his trial and that of his partners. The revelations of this personage came to light as a result of a financial conflict with the Florida-based extremist organization. In fact, Llama accuses the CANF leaders of having embezzled 1.4 million dollars that he himself had contributed to set up the paramilitary wing. “Where are the boats and planes that I financed with my money? Where did they go? Who has the original titles?”, he complained .
Llama says that the project to organize terrorist attacks on Cuba was worked out at the CANF annual congress in June 1992. Businessman Miguel Angel Martinez presented the idea, saying that “much more than lobbying in Washington” had to be done to overthrow the Cuban government. Two presidents of the organization, Jose “Pepe” Hernandez and Jorge Mas Canosa, were appointed by other members to set up the terrorist faction. “We began to meet and consider everything we needed to buy”, he recalled .
According to Llama, other Cuban exiles joined the paramilitary faction, including Elpidio NuÃ±ez, Horacio Garcia and Luis ZuÃ±iga, who abandoned the CANF in 2001 to found the Council for the Liberty of Cuba (CLC), Erelio PeÃ±a, Raul Martinez, Fernando Ojeda, Domingo Sadurni, Arnaldo Monzon Plasencia and Angel Alfonso Aleman .
The explosives were acquired through businessman Raul Lopez, who had participated in terrorist activities against Cuba in the 1960s. He owned a company authorized to buy explosives to open drainage canals for the sugar industry in South Florida, so he could supply dynamite to the criminal group .
Jose “Pepin” Pujol, 76, a close friend of the famous terrorist Luis Posada Carriles´, had been in charge of buying the boats since 1993. “The title of the [boat] Pelican was on my name. The procedure was that I searched for the boats, ToÃ±in made the down payment and Elpidio NuÃ±ez was the guarantor,” he pointed out .
Pujol is currently accused of having facilitated Posada Carriles´ entry in the United States on board of the boat Santrina, on March 18, 2005. He enjoyed the complicity of Ernesto Abreu, Santiago Alvarez, Gilberto Abascal and Ruben Lopez Castro .
Luis Posada Carriles was a former CIA agent as revealed by documents declassified by the Agency. He worked officially for this service from March 26, 1965 to July 11, 1967. He is responsible, among other attacks, for the explosion of a Cuban airliner, killing 73 people on October 6, 1976 .
On July 12, 1998, he told The New York Times that he had organized many terrorist attacks, including the bloody wave that hit Cuba´s tourist industry in 1997. He noted that former CANF President Jorge Mas Canosa funded his criminal activities directly: “Jorge controlled everything. Whenever I needed money, I asked for 5,000 dollars, 10,000, 15,000â€¦” In total, the CANF supplied more than 200,000 dollars to the worst criminal in the American continent .
On the other hand, Posada Carriles, who is currently in prison in El Paso, Texas, said that Washington, including its top officials, like then Vice President George H. W. Bush, knew about all his terrorist activities,. He justified his actions underlying that he carried them out in defense of US national security. His lawyer, Eduardo Soto, told reporters that his client had shown “absolute loyalty to the United States and that he would never try to damage that country or its people” .
US immigration services do not share this opinion and said that Posada Carriles was a “threat to national security”. “Due to his long history of criminal actions and violence that imply innocent civilians, his release would represent a danger to the security of both the community and the nation,” says the official document. The US government refuses, however, to try him on charges of terrorism or to extradite him to Venezuela or Cuba .
Since Llama made his laud statements, US judicial authorities have made no comments. Neither the FBI nor the Miami police have opened an investigation into the existence of that paramilitary group, aimed at carrying out attacks on the Cuban people. The impunity Cuban-born terrorists enjoy is mainly explained by their relations with high spheres of power.
For example, Luis ZuÃ±iga Rey, one of the personages that Llama accused of terrorism, is a close friend of US President George W. Bush´s. On October 10, 2003, he was invited to the White House, where Bush gave him a warm hug that was broadcast on television. Two years earlier, on October 10, 2001, Mel Martinez, who is a senator at present but was a top US government official at the time, participated in the creation of the Council for the Liberty of Cuba during a meeting at the Hotel Biltmore, in Coral Gables. So, just one month after the Sept. 11 attacks, the US administration offered support to terrorists .
On February 17, 2006, extreme right groups of Cuban origin that promote terrorist violence against Cuba gave a press conference. In a common declaration, they announced the creation of a committee to support “insurrection in Cuba”. “We are convinced that the only way to finish with the tyranny is to fight it and many Cubans in the island with whom we will work in a secret and discreet way understand it,” says the declaration, signed by eight organization that were already involved in terrorism against Cuba – Movimiento de RecuperaciÃ³n Revolucionaria (MRR), Congreso Nacional Cubano, Comandos F-4, Comando Nazario Sargen, Fundacion Caribe, Junta Militar, Municipio Bayamo, Cubanos Combatientes No Afiliados .
Rodolfo Frometa, the chief of Comandos F-4, clearly showed the way to follow: “Fidel Castro is the worst terrorist in this continent and he has to be overthrown with bombs. What means can be used against Fidel Castro other than the weapons?” None of the participants has been summoned by justice, although the common declaration openly violates the US Neutrality Act .
On April 20, 2006, Roberto Ferro, a 61-year-old Cuban exile, was arrested by the FBI in San Bernardino, California, and charged with illegal possession of a huge arsenal of more than 1,000 firearms and explosives hidden in his house. Ferro told authorities that he was a member of the Miami-based terrorist organization Alpha 66, which had financed the purchase of the weapons. He was tried only for illegal possession of weapons and not in compliance with the new antiterrorist laws. However, the Cuban exile is a reoffender, as he had been sentenced to two years in prison for possession of five pounds of C-4, a very powerful explosive .
Regarding Alpha 66, it has never been questioned, because its director, Ernesto Diaz Rodriguez, is a close friend of President Bush´s. In fact, he was invited to the White House on May 20, 2003, along with another ten representatives of the Florida-based Cuban extreme right wing. On June 2, 2005, George W. Bush even sent a thank-you letter to Alpha 66 for its support. On the other hand, the organization has a military camp in Florida that is tolerated by authorities .
Nearly 3,478 Cubans have been killed as a result of the terrorism orchestrated by the Florida-based extreme right wing, in complicity with the United States. The victims of terrorism have little value for Washington if they result from actions carried out by the allies – official or not – of the Bush administration. That was the opinion of John Bolton, the US ambassador to the United Nations, when referring to Israel´s attacks on Lebanon.
Asked about the civilian victims, Bolton underlined that those responsible for civilian losses cannot be condemned the same way if they are Israelis. “I think it would be a mistake to ascribe moral equivalence to civilians who die as the direct result of malicious terrorist acts and the deaths of civilians that are a tragic and unfortunate consequence of military actions dictated by self-defense. In our moral and legal system, there is a huge difference between different acts according to the intentions that motivate them and there is no comparison between the act of taking civilian targets deliberately [â€¦] the very unfortunate consequence of self-defense,” he stated .
The very famous Cuban “dissidents”, including Oswaldo Paya, Vladimiro Roca and Martha Beatriz Roque, have a very close relationship with the CANF, which is legally a mafia association linked to a terrorist organization. So far, Cuban justice has shown endless patience with them, given their permanent relations with Florida-based criminal groups, because any other country in the world would have acted vigorously and severely .
 Wilfredo Cancio Isla, “Revelan un plan para atentar contra Castro”, El Nuevo Herald, June 22, 2006.
 Oscar Corral, “Friend Refuses to Say How Posada Arrived in Miami”, The Miami Herald, July 13, 2006.
 Alfonso Cardy & Oscar Corral, “Posada´s CIA Ties Uncovered in Papers”, The Miami Herald, June 26, 2006.
 Ann Louise Bardach & Larry Rohter, “Key Cuba Foe Claims Exiles´ Backing”, The New York Times, July 12, 1998.
 Wilfredo Cancio Isla, “Posada afirma que Washington conocÃa sus labores clandestinas”, El Nuevo Herald, June 24, 2006.
 Wilfredo Cancio Isla, “Washington califica a Posada de peligro para la seguridad”, El Nuevo Herald, March 30, 2006.
 Jean-Guy Allard, “EscÃ¡ndalo entre terroristas en Miami”, Granma, June 23, 2006.
 Wilfredo Cancio Isla, “Buscan ayudar a la insurrecciÃ³n contra Castro”, El Nuevo Herald, February 18, 2006.
 Wilfredo Cancio Isla, “Hallan arsenal en casa de exiliado cubano”, El Nuevo Herald, April 20, 2006; Wilfredo Cancio Isla, “Alpha 66 rechaza vÃnculos con el preso en California”, El Nuevo Herald, April 21, 2006.
 Agence France Presse, “Bolton: pas d’Ã©quivalence morale dans les pertes civiles”, July 17, 2006.
 Cuban-American National Foundation, “Message from Vladimiro Roca”, “Message from Raul Rivero”, “Message from Oswaldo Paya SardiÃ±as”, “Message from Marta Beatriz Roque Cabello”, www.canfnet.org (website consulted on March 10, 2005).