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Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Cuba demonstrates U.S. government, terrorist ties

No huge surprise in the second part of the headline; the U.S. government not only has ties with a long list of terrorists from Osama bin Laden to Luis Posada Carriles, the CIA actually helped create and finance many of them. Still, it's rare when the proof of such ties is made publicly available, and this is a different kind of case. Cuba presented evidence yesterday that the U.S. government was funneling money to Cuban "dissidents" through the U.S. Interests Section in Havana. That too wouldn't be that big a surprise, since the U.S. does so openly (though in contravention of Cuban law and probably U.S. law - the blockade/embargo - as well) through the National Endowment for "Democracy."

What is news is the source of the funds - Santiago Alvarez, who was sending several thousand dollars a month to various "dissident" (counterrevolutionary) groups in Cuba using Michael Parmly, the head of the U.S. Interests Section, as a go-between. We've mentioned Alvarez here before. First, he helped smuggle an illegal immigrant into this country. That itself is a crime, but what made it an even bigger crime is the name of the person smuggled in - Luis Posada Carriles, a convicted felon and known terrorist (and a wanted criminal, wanted in Venezuela for 73 counts of murder in connection with the mid-air bombing of a Cuban airliner in 1976). Second, Alvarez himself is a known terrorist, having participated in, among many others, the string of Havana hotel bombings which killed an Italian tourist, Fabio di Celmo.

And third, Alvarez is currently in prison! Why? Well, first he was serving an absurdly light sentence of 30 months for weapons possession. Why is that "absurdly light"? Because we're not talking about a concealed handgun. We're talking about one of the largest arsenals ever seized in the United States, a true terrorist arsenal. How big was it? He and his partner turned over 14 pounds of plastic explosives, 200 pounds of dynamite, 30 semiautomatic and automatic weapons, and a grenade launcher, among other things; how much more they're still hiding isn't known. That sentence has been served, but Alvarez is still in jail, serving 10 more months for refusing to cooperate with a U.S. government prosecution (a fake one, but still...) by testifying against Luis Posada Carriles (on the question of how Posada entered the country, not on terrorism, for which the U.S. government continues to refuse to extradite or prosecute Posada, as required by international law).

That is the man from whom the U.S. government is taking money and handing it to people in Cuba. In Washington today, a press conference will not only call for the extradition of Posada and the freedom of the Cuban Five (five men who were monitoring the actions of people like Alvarez in order to prevent future acts of terrorism and are now serving long sentences in the U.S.), but will also announce the filing of a FOIA request (pdf) demanding the U.S. government turn over all documents related to the transfer of funds to Cuba.

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