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The Dirty War on Cuba

by Stan Goff


A key figure in the nefarious network of terrorism, drug trafficking, and the illegal war against Nicaragua has been identified in a Miami Herald investigation as the central figure in 11 bombing attempts against the Cuban tourist industry this year. The two month investigation revealed that Salvadoran Raul Ernesto Cruz Leon, detained by Cuban police in connection with six of the bombings, was trained by Luis Posada Carriles, a former CIA employee who is living in El Salvador. South Florida Cuban exile groups were shown to have collected at least $15,000 to help finance the bombings, and Posada has been established as the key link between those groups and the Salvadoran group that carried out the bombings. The Salvadorans are led by Francisco Chavez, whose father, Ricardo, was involved with Posada in CIA sponsored drug-and-gun operations and a Latin American terrorist-sabotage team.

Luis Posada Carriles is untouchable in El Salvador, according to sources interviewed by the Herald who have knowledge of the Chavez-Carriles relationship. The Chavez family is known to be powerful, closely connected to Salvadoran military officers, and violent. Posada is under their protection. He fled to El Salvador several years ago after escaping from a Venezuelan prison, where he was serving a sentence for his participation in the October 1976 bombing of a Cubana Airlines jet in which 73 civilians were killed.

The organization that took credit for the bombing, and to which Posada belonged, was CORU, a terrorist alliance employed by the fascist governments of Argentina and Chile.

Posada had established his contacts in the Argentine government when he worked for the Argentine Anti-Communist Alliance, a paramilitary death squad, in the mid-1970s. CORU was strongly implicated in the assassination of Orlando Letelier in September 1976, when Posada was indicted as a conspirator. CORU was founded at a 1976 meeting in the Dominican Republic, primarily to provide "external support" for the Argentine and Chilean governments, with the understanding that those governments would reciprocate with support for anti-Castro Cuban exiles.

Guillermo Novo, another soon-to-be-indicted Letelier assassin, attended that meeting. Novo was a Cuban exile who, according to a South Florida drug task force, was the most significant drug kingpin in the state. He oversaw the import of up to 30 percent of all the heroin then coming into the United States, and 80 percent of all the cocaine. Throughout its tenure, CORU was financed almost exclusively by drug money. Also at the founding of CORU was co-organizer with Posada, Orlando Bosch, who was accused along with Posada of participating in the plot to assassinate Fidel Castro in 1971 while Castro was visiting Chile. Bosch and Posada had worked together in Cuba in the 1960s, attacking sugar mills and fishing boats. They were organized into the Cuban S-Force, a CIA-supported effort to conduct sabotage against Cuba.

Posada"s first known operation against Cuba was the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion, in which he was covertly infiltrated into Cuba days before the actual invasion as an advance agent.

He was dropped by a boat, piloted by his friend and later Watergate burglar, Eugenio Martinez.

They were Bay of Pigs veterans from which many of the anti-Communist and pro-fascist secret units were fashioned that became involved in Latin American politics for the next three and a half decades. Posada was a member of Operation 40, a CIA sponsored Cuban exile "counter-intelligence" group, which included such covert operations luminaries as Felix Rodriguez, Eugenio Martinez, Guillermo Novo, Ricardo Chavez (father of Francisco), and of course Luis Posada Carriles. Operation 40 was shut down in the early 70s, after investigations revealed that an air transport, loaded with several kilos of cocaine and heroin, and which had crashed in Southern California, was on an Operation 40 mission.

Posada would later be involved in Southern Air Transport operations, the CIA front for narcotics-financed Contra supply missions to aid in the Reagan administration"s illegal war against Nicaragua. He and fellow Operation 40 and Cuban S-Force veteran, Felix Rodriguez, became key figures in the network of drug sales, money laundering, and arms transfers that provided logistical support to the Contras, partly because of their strong relationships with former Somoza associates who headed up the Contra effort under CIA direction. Posada was indirectly working for the CIA during the Contra war, even as he was an official fugitive from Venezuelan justice for his part in the civilian airliner bombing. Ricardo Chavez, (whose son plotted the recent Cuban hotel bombings) , was also hired to be part of the Contra support apparatus, directly by former CIA case officer, Tom Clines.

Bombings against ten Cuban hotels and one restaurant occurred between April and September this year, killing an Italian tourist and wounding six others. When President Fidel Castro made the claim that it was the work of anti-socialist exiles, he was largely pooh-poohed by the US mainstream press as an aging paranoid. The Miami Herald reporters who investigated this story are to be congratulated on their honesty and determination to be an exception to the Castro-as-official-enemy school of journalism.

The renewed assault against Cuba by right-wing exiles may be linked to the recent steady growth of the Cuban economy (in spite of the Torricelli Act and the Helms-Burton Act), the refusal of many nations to play along with US economic bullying, and the role the tourist industry has played in bypassing some of the fiscal obstacles created by the embargo.

Moreover, the long standing relationship between these actors and the Central Intelligence Agency, combined with the CIA"s past record regarding Cuba, should render official denials of CIA complicity in these actions hardly credible.

Certainly the number of coincidences between the past activities of both Posada and the CIA and this last episode present challenges to the law of probability.

The captains of the "new global economy" are not well-disposed toward the continued viability after decades of attacks on a socialist society ninety miles off the flank of their mother ship. Who better to do their dirty work than the veterans of so many dirty wars?


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