Cuba Arrests Four Miami Cubans in “Terrorist” Plot

May 7, 2014 | Print Print |

Santiago Alvarez is considered one of the possible kingpins behind the terrorist plans. Photo: cafefuerte.com

HAVANA TIMES — Cuban authorities informed Wednesday on the arrest of four Cuban-Americans who had come to the island from Miami, accusing them of planning “terrorist acts” in the country, reported dpa news.

The four Cuban-Americans,  José Ortega Amador, Obdulio Rodríguez González, Raibel Pacheco Santos and Félix Monzón Álvarez were arrested on April 26, said the Ministry of Interior in a statement published today in the official press.

“The detainees recognized their intention to attack military installations with the aim of promoting violent actions,” said the ministry. According to the communiqué, three of the four accused had traveled to the island from mid-2013 to plan the attacks.

The Interior Ministry also linked the four with the leaders of the radical Cuban exile groups in the U.S., which in past decades have supported efforts to overthrow the Castro government by force.

US government officials have yet to comment on the detentions; nor have they confirmed if the four arrested are US citizens.

“We don’t have the details at this time,” said State Department spokesperson Jen Peski, who added that contact with the government of Raul Castro on the case is still forthcoming.

Hundreds of thousands of Cuban Americans travel each year to the island to visit relatives, despite restrictions involving the US embargo imposed on Cuba for decades.

President Barack Obama signed in 2009, a relaxation in the travel ban on Cuba, especially for Cuban Americans, which has boosted the flow of visitors between the two countries without diplomatic relations since 1961.

The travel ban still applies on ordinary individual US citizens who need special Treasury Department authorization to visit Cuba.

Washington and Havana are at odds ideologically since shortly after the triumph of Fidel Castro’s revolution in 1959. Traditionally Cuba accuses United States of promoting the overthrow of his government.

The White House in 1961 funded a notorious attempt to oust Fidel Castro with an invasion by Cuban exiles at the Bay of Pigs, on the southwest coast of Cuba. A further escalation a year and a half later brought a serious nuclear crisis in the Caribbean, waged between the United States and the Soviet Union in the framework of the Cold War.

Anti-Castro exiles have carried out numerous armed actions. In 1976 a group perpetrated a terrorist attack on a Cuban airliner that killed 73 people. Luis Posada Carriles, a former CIA operative who resides in Miami, is widely considered responsible for the bombing.

The MININT claimed that the masterminds in Miami of the attacks to be carried out by the four detainees in Cuba are are Santiago Alvarez Fernandez Magriña, Osvaldo Mitat y Manuel Alzugaray, linked to Posada Carriles.


What's your opinion?

  • Moses Patterson

    Lacking a commitment to transparency and due process, we will never fully know what evidence that the Castros have to support these allegations. A closed summary trial is likely to follow after months on incarceration without having formal charges filed. If the allegations are true, these Cubans should be punished. While the Castro regime is despicable, it is equally despicable to work toward regime change using terrorism tactics.

    • Griffin

      If a small band of rebels attacks a military installation of a dictatorship, it’s called terrorism.

      OK, so what do you call the Moncada Barracks assault lead by Fidel Castro?

      • Terry Downey

        Liberation…of course. That attack was an attempt at liberating Cuba from the clutches of an American supported dictatorship that was committed to doing the US government’s bidding with zero concern for the Cuban people. It’s a much different situation today, especially because the Cuban goverment is independantly guiding Cuba’s future without the need to cowtow to American interests, demands, and interferrence. Most importantly, American sponsored terrorism is no longer tolerated in Cuba.

        • Griffin

          Ok, so you support the right of the Cuban people to take up arms and attack the dictator’s military bases.

          The Castro regime is a dictatorship, they use military and police repression to maintain their hold on power. These 4 men are Cubans… so do they have the right to take up arms against the dictatorship? Presumably, their goal is the liberation of Cuba from the Communist dictatorship of the Castro brothers. You’re all for liberation, right?

          Assuming the 3 Cubans in Miami really are the “masterminds” of the plot, they too are Cuban, operating on their own and without US government involvement or support. While in the past, the CIA did support & direct armed actions against the Castro regime, they haven’t done so in a long time. Quite the contrary, the US government today would not support any kind of armed action against the Castro regime.

          Personally, I do not support armed actions against Cuba, including (alleged) terrorist plots like this one, or military invasions like the Bay of Pigs, which only served to strengthen Castro’s rule.

          By the way: It’s important for you to understand the factual context of the relationship of the Batista dictatorship and the US government. First of all, the US did not put him into office. They would have preferred and elected president, as several of the previous governments of Cuba were elected in the rough and corrupt Cuban electoral system. But once Batista had seized power in a bloodless coup, the US figured they could work with him, so long as he was open to US business interests. Batista served his own interests, which was making money, and he didn’t much care who he worked with to do it.

          Interestingly, Batista’s supporters included US corporations, Cuban businessmen & large landowners, the Mafia, the PSP, (the Cuban Communist party) and the trade unions. Yes, one of the reasons the Communists didn’t join the M26 was because they considered Castro a bourgeois adventurer and not a real Communist. Ironic, isn’t it?

          • Terry Downey

            I stand by what I wrote, which is different than what you want to believe I wrote. And you’re attempting to split hairs over Batista’s relationship with America. The point is…America was in bed with him and supporting a brutal dictator while knowingly turning a blind-eye to the suffering of the Cuban people.

          • Griffin

            You state as a principle a justification you grant to one side, but deny to the other. That is not a true principle, it’s a cynical justification for your political bias.

            You too support a brutal dictator while knowingly turning a blind-eye to the suffering of the Cuban people. I condemn equally the dictatorships of Batista and Castro.

          • Terry Downey

            Comparing Castro to Bastista is like comparing oranges to rotten apples. There’s no credible comparison possible that can lump the Castros into Batista’s infamous camp of total neglect and repression.

            “Before the 1959 revolution”

            75% of rural dwellings were huts made from palm trees.

            More than 50% had no toilets of any kind.

            85% had no inside running water.

            91% had no electricity.

            There was only 1 doctor per 2,000 people in rural areas.

            More than one-third of the rural population had intestinal parasites.

            Only 4% of Cuban peasants ate meat regularly; only 1% ate fish, less than 2% eggs, 3% bread, 11% milk; none ate green vegetables.

            The average annual income among peasants was $91 (1956), less than 1/3 of the national income per person.

            45% of the rural population was illiterate; 44% had never attended a school.

            25% of the labor force was chronically unemployed.

            1 million people were illiterate (in a population of about 5.5 million).

            27% of urban children, not to speak of 61% of rural children, were not attending school.

            Racial discrimination was widespread.

            The public school system had deteriorated badly.

            Corruption was endemic; anyone could be bought, from a Supreme Court judge to a cop.

            Police brutality and torture were common.

            I challenge anybody to post accurate and quantitative data that parallels these same issues, both disproving
            and discrediting the incredible social, educational, and healthcare advancements made possible by the Cuban government and the Cuban people when comparing pre-revolutionary Cuba with the Cuba we know today. Not even close.

          • Griffin

            I do not dispute your statistics on Cuba before the revolution. However, one cannot blame Batista for creating those conditions. Four hundred years of Spanish colonial rule established very harsh social, economic and racial divides in Cuba.

            In the 50 years from independence to the Batista coup in 1952, Cuba had made considerable improvements in the standard of living, including a growing middle class. About one third of the population were rural poor, and the vast majority of them lived as you described. Cuba was developing, but unequally. There was also a growing US domination of the economy, which many Cubans resented, even those who benefited from the better paid jobs in US owned businesses.

            Batista did not create those conditions, but he accepted them as is. He was of mixed race and came from a poor rural family himself, ironically not far from where Fidel & Raul were born to an upper middle class white landowner. Batista didn’t do much for the poor, but he was far from the worst dictator in Latin America. His repression of the growing rebellion against him was disorganized and haphazard. If Batista really was a brutal as the propaganda says, Castro would have been shot after Moncada, not given a comfortable cell where he was allowed to write letters to journalists and received visitors. Batista was a softie, more interested in stuffing his pockets than fighting for his hold on power.

            During the rebellion against Batista, Fidel declared his intention to overthrow the dictator and restore the liberal democratic Cuban constitution of 1940. Do you know who wrote the 1940 constitution? Fulgencio Batista. The same. Fidel also promised to hold free and fair democratic elections. He broke that promise, indeed he never had any intention of honouring it.

            The Cuban Revolution did much to improve the material standard of living of the poorest Cubans. Nobody disputes that. The question is whether or not those improvements justify the political oppression and the denial of human rights and freedoms for all Cubans. There are many older Cubans who were very poor before the Revolution and became it’s most committed supporters. I don’t agree with their position, but I do understand it and respect their point of view.

            Many other Cubans do not accept they should have been forced to surrender all their rights and freedoms to obtain meagre rations of low quality food and an education loaded with propaganda which won’t bring a job that pays better than driving a cab.

            I do not respect the point of view of non-Cubans who insist the Cubans are lucky to live under the Castro dictatorship and they should just shut up and not disturb the tourists with their tedious complaints about human rights abuses.

            So to return to the central argument: you support the right of the Cuban people to take up arms against a right wing dictator, but you do not support the right of the Cuban people to take up arms against a left wing dictator. You don’t even support the right of the Cuban people to protest peacefully against the Castro dictatorship. Your position is ideologically biased, intellectually weak, historically ignorant and morally hypocritical.

          • Terry Downey

            You wrote a very good post, until you came to your last paragraph where you, once again, have attempted to tell me what I think and what I support. Instead of “telling me” what I support, perhaps try “asking me” what I support. You might be surprised and much better enlightened. As a prime example, where have I ever written that I don’t support the Cuban people to protest peacefully? I never have. You need to get a grip. You need to stop making things up to entertain yourself.

          • Griffin

            Ok, if you support the rights if the Cuban people to peacefully protest, do you support the Ladies in White and the other dissident groups? Do you condemn the Cuban government for sending repudiation mobs and police to harass, beat & arrest the protestors? Do you also condemn the denial of freedoms and the violations of human right which the Castro regime has inflicted on the Cuban people for 55 years?

            If so, then I humbly withdraw my previous comments. If not, my point stands.

          • Terry Downey

            Absolutely, yes. We’re not that far apart on many issues, but I do have a much different vision regarding the evolution of transitional change.

          • Griffin

            In that case, I withdraw that comment. I am glad to read that you support peaceful Cuban dissidents, such as the Ladies in White who have been repeatedly abused by the Castro regime, including just yesterday, on Mother’s Day:

            Detenidas más de una veintena de Damas de Blanco en el Día de las Madres

            http://www.diariodecuba.com/derechos-humanos/1399847614_8535.html

          • Moses Patterson

            How is it you can see the suffering of the Cuban people at the hands of the Batista dictatorship from 55 years ago and yet fail to see the Cuban suffering caused by the Castro dictatorship today? Is your anti-US bias the real issue here?

  • Henry Delforn

    … Santiago Álvarez. This guy has long been labeled in the Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald as a “Miami businessman,” Álvarez is a terrorist with a long history of financing terrorist Luis Posada Carriles’s murderous plots and fugitive escapes from justice. Here are a few facts about the terrorist Álvarez: In 2001, he bought 8 assault rifles in Miami and thousands of rounds of ammunition. The weapons were later found on four men arrested in Cuba. Álvarez ordered them to blow up the Tropicana nightclub in Havana with C-4 explosives, threatening hundreds of people. In 2000, he was involved in the plot to try to assassinate Fidel Castro in Panama, led by Posada Carriles. Posada and three others were convicted and jailed, but after they were pardoned by pro-U.S. Panama president Mireya Moscoso, Álvarez flew three of the men into Miami on his plane. Together with Osvaldo Mitat, he personally sneaked Posada Carriles into Miami on a boat in March 2005. Posada runs loose in Miami, continuing to collaborate with his terrorist accomplices. Álvarez and Mitat were caught with massive weapons caches in 2005, yet they received a very light sentence. First George Bush and now Barack Obama harbor known terrorists in Miami, but keep the Cuban Five heroes imprisoned! Disgusting!!

    • Griffin

      Luis Posada Carriles is 86 years old, infirm and isolated. The FBI keeps him & his few remaining friends under very close watch. If they were organizing a plot, the FBI would know about it & they would shut it down. Allowing radical groups to launch terrorist plots against Cuba does not help US foreign policy.

      It is a travesty of justice that Posada Carriles has not faced trail for his role in bombings in Cuba or the airline bombing. A motion filed in court by his lawyers during his trial for perjury on his immigration application reveals why the US is reluctant to extradite him:

      “A footnote in a document filed by Posada’s lead defense attorney on January 28, 2010, is quite revealing about the kind of classified information that Posada Carriles threatens to expose in the course of the trial. His attorney, Arturo Hernández, argues in that motion, “The Defendant’s CIA relationship, stemming from his work against the Castro regime through his anti-communist activities in Venezuela and Central America, are relevant and admissible to his defense.” The motion furthermore alleges that the US government had been complicit in bomb-setting in Cuba and asked the court to compel the government to declassify all information that shows the “involvement, knowledge, acquiescence and complicity [of the U.S. Government] in sabotage or bombings in Cuba.” Also, the motion requests disclosure of “[t]raining, instructions, memos or other documents reflecting orders to the Defendant to maintain secrecy and not disclose his relationship or information regarding his activities on behalf of the U.S. Government or any of its Agencies.”

      Posada Carriles knows some details about CIA operations in Latin America which would be terribly embarrassing to the USA should the facts get out.

  • Griffin

    It would be useful to see the full evidence against these men published openly, and that they should receive a fair trial in a transparent and impartial legal system. Unfortunately, the Castro regime does not provide for such things. Already we can see that the regime is politicizing the case by trying to connect the plot to Luis Posada Carriles.

    • Dan

      ” they should receive a fair trial in a transparent and impartial legal system.” Oh, you mean like the accused terrorists at Guantanamo get ? Do you think they do water-boarding in ” brutal” Cuba ?

      • Griffin

        I do not defend Posada Carriles. He should receive a fair and impartial trial for the full range of crimes he is accused of. Period.

        The US government is proceeding with trials of those detainees at Gitmo who are qualified to receive them. Most of the detainees have already been released. Only a few terrorists were waterboarded by the US, and they don’t do it anymore.

        • http://www.havanatimes.org/ Circles Robinson

          Griffin, please stick to the post at hand.

          • Griffin

            Interesting. The previous comment from Dan introduced the topic of torture, to which I responded. I alone get told to stick to the topic.

            For some reason you chose to edit out the link to evidence of torture in Cuba which I provided.

            Are there some things about Cuba would do not want to talk about?

  • Me

    God Bless Santiago for all his hard work toward a communist free Cuba.Andy

  • Vahe Demirjian

    Guess the most violent anti-Castro fanatics have not given up on violence as a means of getting the Cuban regime to change its ways. If Luis Posada ever dies, the wife of Ramon Labanino may disrupt the funeral by pushing Posada’s body away and the US Supreme Court may want to deport Labanino and Guerrero to North Korea or Iran just because they were spying on US bases in Florida and the Dominican Republic.

  • Okasis

    Good thing we do not have to state our nationality when we post. I do know that many writing here are US or Canadian, no Cuban. That tilts the playing field a bit. One way or another…

    Of course, it is reasonable for US Citizens to support the exporting of weapons and acts of violence to other countries. That is our primary money crop these days. I ran out of fingers to count the Countries we have invaded or destabilized, in this Century. The 1900s would require a calculator!

    As for a fair trial, with all the evidence displayed up front – since when has that been true in the US? Not in my lifetime! Especially for the Poor, Blacks, Indians, or other minorities. Daily we hear of cops shooting young Black men in the back, for some presumed threat. What is free and fair about that. Since 2001, Muslims have jumped to the head of the list, altho Communist Countries that no longer exist, are making a come-back.

    While Cuba may not be high on the list of favorite retirement locations for some people, it is certainly not the ogre described by the McCarthyites who frequently post here. When we do something about the increasing Electoral and Judicial offenses here in the US, then perhaps it will be fitting to preach Democracy to others. I am still waiting to live in one myself.

  • Adela

    Yankees: leave Cuba alone. Cuba has the right to self-determination. Yankees: stop all hostilities against Cuba and Latin America. Viva Cuba socialista!

    • Griffin

      Do you support the right of the Cuban people to self-determination? For the past 55 years, it was the exclusive privilege of the Castro brothers.

      Viva Cuba Libertad!