Granma International
April 26, 2002

Conspiracy in Miami

‘Spy scandal’ to save the CANF

                   • ‘Special FBI Agent’ Héctor Pesquera helped free several terrorists
                   preparing an assassination attempt during the summit in Isla
                   Margarita, and was rewarded with a transfer to Florida, to direct the
                   conspiracy against the five Cubans accused of espionage

                   BY JEAN-GUY ALLARD (Special for Granma International)

                   WHEN the U.S. Coast Guard intercepted a yacht, La Esperanza, on
                   the waters near Puerto Rico one day in October 1997, it was
                   suspected that the craft was transporting drugs. Instead of narcotics,
                   what the agents found upon boarding the vessel was an arsenal.

                   Among the objects discovered in a secret compartment covered by a rug, they found
                   seven boxes of ammunition, military uniforms, six radios, a satellite telephone,
                   night vision glasses and two assault rifles with long-range capabilities worth more
                   than $7,000 each.

                   On board the ship, one of the four crewmen, visibly startled, screamed at the
                   officials: "These weapons are mine! The others know nothing about them.
                   I placed them there myself. They are weapons for the purpose of
                   assassinating Fidel Castro!" This statement was confirmed some time
                   later by the boat’s navigation data, indicating that the vessel was headed
                   to the Venezuelan island of Margarita where, in fact, Fidel Castro was
                   to attend the annual Ibero-American summit a few days later. For this
                   long journey, the powerful 47-foot yacht was equipped with special tanks
                   containing 2,000 gallons of additional fuel.

                   The declaration by Miami crewman Angel Alonso Alemán, whatever
                   his actual objective was, led the Coast Guard to file charges, taking
                   into account the dangerous materials found, and the gravity and
                   implications of the suspect’s "spontaneous" declaration.

                   The investigation would soon lead directly to the émigré organization
                   called the Cuban-American National Foundation (CANF), with very
                   strong political ties to every U.S. president and important leader,
                   both Democrat and Republican, since its creation under the Reagan

                   The four occupants of the boat, at the time of their arrest, were
                   identified as: Angel Alfonso Alemán, 57, manager of a textile firm in
                   Union City, New Jersey; Francisco Córdova, 50, commercial
                   fisherman from Marathon; Angel M. Hernández Rojo, 64, lumber
                   industrialist in Miami; and Juan Bautista Márquez, 61, retired sailor
                   from Miami.

                   Here is the history of Héctor Pesquera, "special agent" and FBI
                   station chief in Puerto Rico.

                   This man is the FBI’s perfect agent, just as one would imagine from a
                   U.S. TV police drama. Always elegant, he carries the image of
                   incorruptibility so commonly conveyed on the screen.

                   Commenting to the press on the suspect’s denials, Pesquera came
                   up with a phrase aching for the headlines: "Nobody goes fishing with
                   .50 caliber weapons!" affirmed the veteran investigator, who never
                   misses a "photo op." He swore that, without a doubt, there would be
                   several charges filed in court by the time the police finished up its
                   investigation. He added that "there may be foreign policy
                   implications," and so... he didn’t discount any possibility. "We will go
                   after the government very strongly and attack their hypocrisy. For
                   30 years they tried to kill Castro and now they say others can’t do
                   the very same thing they were doing."

                   In other words, Pesquera, smelling the politics of the case,
                   simultaneously saved this media show and indicated that he was
                   awaiting instructions from "above."


                   But soon the investigation revealed that Francisco "Pepe" Hernández, 61, the
                   president of the CANF, was the owner of two powerful arms found aboard La
                   Esperanza. Since the death of CANF founder Jorge Más Canosa, this character
                   is the best-known counterrevolutionary leader in Miami.

                   The investigators also determined that José Antonio "Toñin" Llama, age
                   66 and member of the CANF’s executive committee, turned out to be
                   the proud owner of the yacht.

                   They finally discovered that Alfredo Otero, 62, another activist of the
                   counterrevolutionary group, was in charge of communications for
                   this criminal operation.

                   To top it all off, a few weeks later, in January 1998, when one of the
                   four crew members of La Esperanza, was arrested yet again... only
                   to be charged by the Drug Enforcement Agency for bringing in 365
                   kilograms of cocaine, as part of a greater conspiracy involving
                   money laundering and the importation of 2,000 kilograms of

                   Of course, all those involved denied any wrongdoing through their
                   lawyers, who used every legal trick and declaration in the book to
                   "demonstrate" their clients’ innocence. Except for Alfonso, who tried
                   to clear his name by proudly showing press photos of himself with
                   then-President Clinton, Senator Robert Torricelli, Jorge Más Canosa...
                   and even Félix Rodriguez. (Rodriguez was one of the famous
                   Watergate "plumbers," a CIA agent, one of the main figures in the
                   Iran-contra scandal in Central America and collaborator with
                   arch-terrorist Luis Posada Carriles.) A chorus of protests, frenetically
                   led by Ninoska Pérez-Castellón, then propaganda chief of this clique
                   and mafia attorney for Alfonso, vehemently affirmed the innocence
                   of her client with surprising arguments: Since the CIA had attempted
                   to assassinate Fidel Castro so many times, how could the
                   prosecution accuse a poor innocent man like Alfonso of having done
                   the same?

                   Meanwhile, the mafia mobilized its people on a number of levels:
                   through protests, theatrical declarations and disinformation
                   campaigns, little by little, the case of La Esperanza mysteriously
                   shipwrecked in the tumultuous waters of the U.S. judicial apparatus.
                   Slowly but surely, the case dissolved with a helping hand from Héctor
                   Pesquera, who blatantly got the green light to get the La Esperanza
                   conspirators out of the quicksand.

                   An interesting detail: by pure coincidence, the name of Alfonso’s
                   mafia attorney is none other than Ricardo Pesquera, Special Agent
                   Héctor Pesquera’s cousin.

                   And while the case sadly hit rock bottom, Special Agent Héctor
                   Pesquera, in the middle of celebrating the acquittal at a morning
                   mass and party with the judges and criminals, received an opportune

                   FBI Director Louis Freeh sent him to Miami, with the title of "special
                   agent in charge" (SAC) for South Florida. What more could his friends
                   from the Hialeah cartel ask for?

                   A MORE THAN WELCOME SCANDAL

                   Héctor Pesquera was appointed on September 2nd.

                   On the 14th, the Florida media put out a spectacular news item. For
                   the first time since the emergence of the Cuban Revolution, a
                   network of "Castroist spies" was dismantled with the arrest of some
                   of its members. Press conference at the FBI headquarters. Héctor
                   Pesquera couldn’t have been happier.

                   The day of this media-charged theater, Pesquera was wearing a
                   couple of different hats: "special agent in charge" and political
                   spokesperson. In Miami’s banana republic, anything goes.

                   Of course, Pesquera got credit for this "spectacular operation,"
                   although he had just arrived under the protective wing of the
                   anti-Cuba mafia.

                   He proclaimed that they had been investigating the group since 1995
                   – observe the date – and that the arrests constituted a "significant
                   coup against the Cuban government," adding that it had been a
                   major defeat for "Castro’s spy forces."

                   And then the witch hunt was unleashed: "We’ve done this in order to
                   notify the public," Pesquera commented, publicly requesting that
                   people denounce all "suspected Cuban spies."

                   On radio stations tuned to anti-Cuba hysteria, the calls to denounce
                   one’s neighbor as a potential spy were intensely disseminated.
                   Ninoska Pérez-Castellón spearheaded the campaign with exemplary

                   In her radio program at WQBA-1140AM, would-be informers called
                   up in a frenzy to play society’s new game in this city now dizzy from
                   fanaticism. The CANF, conveniently putting La Esperanza on the
                   back burner, called upon politicians to whip up an investigation on the
                   infiltration of "Castro agents" in South Florida, and fan the flames of
                   anti-Cuba hysteria in general.

                   They spoke publicly of some 600 Cuban agents who had supposedly
                   infiltrated all spheres of Miami society. It doesn’t cost anything to
                   throw numbers around. Meanwhile, the mafia federation was more
                   than happy to cover up its tarnished image with this tyrannical
                   ultra-right wing campaign.

                   FREE REIN FOR THE MAFIA

                   The whole terrorist entourage logically interpreted the new situation
                   as one big permission slip to terrorize. From Nazario Sargent’s Alpha
                   66 to Rodolfo Frómeta’s F-4 Commandos, each one happily
                   conspired to organize new operations against Cuba or, simply, to
                   play one of their most privileged games: fundraising.

                   From arch-terrorist Orlando Bosch to his brain children, José Basulto
                   of Brothers to the Rescue and Ramón Saúl Sánchez of the
                   Democracy Movement, each one is open to new "patriotic" business.

                   Even though the terrorist activities of many of these fanatical
                   Cuban-American cells are geared towards Miami’s domestic
                   consumption, and are part of a greater marketing strategy involving
                   an infinite number of campaigns to raise money, some initiatives
                   actually bore fruit.

                   All of Miami remembers Luis Posada Carriles’ wave of terror in
                   Havana during the course of 1997, thanks to a number of Central
                   American mercenaries who planted bombs in the lobbies of hotels in
                   exchange for a few thousand dollars per explosion. And all of Miami
                   remembers how Posada Carriles, in an interview with The New York
                   Times, confessed to this and other operations under the direction of
                   the CANF, that is to say the same people publicly supported by
                   Héctor Pesquera.

                   And while the five Cuban patriots arrested by Pesquera would appear
                   before the court and be forced to confront Judge Joan Lenard’s
                   mafia-style justice, four of the terrorists subject to Cuba’s vigilance
                   network were preparing a terrorist attack of great magnitude.

                   Luis Posada Carriles, the most dangerous terrorist in the hemisphere
                   given the number and gravity of his crimes, Pedro Remón, Guillermo
                   Novo and Antonio Jiménez, all of whom reside in Miami, purchased
                   explosives and other materials, with the goal of assassinating the
                   leader of the Cuban Revolution during the 2000 Ibero-American
                   Summit in Panama.

                   All of them have ties to the CANF and its subsidiaries.

                   This terrorist plot involved placing a powerful bomb in the middle of
                   the massive Panamanian student assembly where Fidel was to give a

                   HOUSE POLITICS

                   Héctor Pesquera, who appears in public alongside individuals whom
                   his own organization labels as terrorists, avoided any direct
                   participation by his people in such activities.

                   While the FBI and other U.S. security agencies spend billions of dollars
                   to monitor terrorists who threaten the United States, they fraternize
                   with those trained by the CIA for terrorist activities against Cuba.

                   The reasons for this? First of all, this is a case of house politics.

                   In an article published in The Miami Herald a few weeks before
                   Pesquera’s arrival in that city, the official policy regarding anti-Cuba
                   terrorists was openly recognized. Under the title "Anti-Castro Seldom
                   Lead to Jail in the U.S.," journalist Juan O. Tamayo reported the
                   words of a senior federal prosecutor, who confirmed that for some
                   time the policy has been to gather information, demobilize and
                   dismantle the groups, rather than arresting them. The same
                   high-ranking official confessed later that the policy is designed to
                   protect informants and avoid court cases with scant prospects for
                   success, due to jurors who sympathize with the anti-Castro exiles
                   and the weakness of U.S. laws prohibiting acts of violence against
                   foreign governments.

                   Without a doubt, the presence of Miami regional office Special Agent
                   Héctor Pesquera at events organized by the CANF and other terrorist
                   mafia groups indicates complicity rather than tolerance.

                   So, anti-Cuba terrorists are not prosecuted, but those who try to
                   counteract such criminal plans are. The anti-Cuba terrorists are let off
                   because juries are sympathetic to them, and those who try to
                   counteract terrorism are tried because, given these biased juries, it’s
                   clear from the beginning that they’re going to be convicted. That is
                   the empire’s justice!

                   In the end, Cuban authorities were the ones who exposed Posada
                   Carriles’ assassination plot to Panamanian authorities and the general
                   public, at the start of the Ibero-American Summit, thus preventing a
                   massacre of incredible proportions.

                   And the four terrorists were arrested!


                   Immediately the terrorist Miami radio stations, among them Radio
                   Mambí WAQI-AM (710) and La Poderosa WWFE-AM (670)
                   commenced a fundraising campaign to help the four criminals jailed in
                   Panama, without the least concern for the terrorist nature of their

                   The main organizer of the campaign was Santiago Alvarez, a
                   businessman with a long history of violent activity.

                   Later, while the trial of the five Cubans began in Miami, in April 2001
                   Cuban Ministry of the Interior officials arrested three residents of
                   Miami-Dade County who – armed with AK-47 assault rifles, M-3 rifles
                   with silencers and three Makarov semi-automatic pistols – landed in
                   Cuba clandestinely. Ihosvani Suris, Santiago Padrón and Máximo
                   Padrera were the three men arrested.

                   Some weeks later, Cuban television aired a nice surprise for its
                   viewers on the Mesa Redonda: a video in which Ihosvani Suris, while
                   detained, was having a telephone conversation with Santiago
                   Alvarez, his boss in Miami.

                   A Miami terrorist protected by Héctor Pesquera’s FBI, Suris asked
                   whether he should follow through with the project of placing
                   explosives in Havana’s Tropicana cabaret, as Alvarez had directed.
                   Without knowing that his mercenary was detained, Alvarez
                   encouraged him to continue with the criminal plan.

                   Of course, even though this confession was public, Santiago Alvarez
                   was not questioned in any way by Pesquera’s agents.


                   It is inside this terrorist jungle, completely hostile to the five Cubans
                   accused in Miami, that Gerardo Hernández, René González, Ramón
                   Labañino, Antonio Guerrero and Fernando González were put on
                   trial, in violation of the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

                   It was in that city, the most retrograde in the United States, that
                   Elián González was kidnapped, and the organizers of the Latin
                   Grammys decided to move their awards ceremony to Los Angeles,
                   due to the lack of security and numerous acts of violence there.

                   It was a completely politicized trial, whose conclusion was clearly
                   determined by the highest authorities, at a time when the new
                   administration, presided over by George W. Bush, infiltrated and
                   blackmailed by the anti-Cuba mafia, blindly obeyed that faction’s
                   every desire.

                   Evidence was distorted through classified information procedures,
                   there were constant objections to requests made by the defense,
                   and the judge was clearly hostile. Witnesses were manipulated and
                   intimidated by the prosecution and the press, while the trial
                   developed as a theatrical farce, again for the same of the media, in
                   order to calm the anxiety of the mafia clique.

                   The fact that the five patriots risked their lives in Miami while carrying
                   out heroic work to counteract criminal terrorist plans, as their official
                   U.S. government files reveal, it did not interest Judge Lenard in the
                   slightest. She made that clear and repeatedly rejected the argument
                   that Cuba has the right to defend itself against gangs planning violent
                   acts against Cuba.

                   It was in no way convenient for the judge, the prosecution, the
                   police, or the highest authorities of the country to admit their
                   complete tolerance, particularly in Miami, of anti-Cuba terrorists,
                   because such an admission would justify the five patriots’ heroic

                   The only thing that concerned Joan Lenard was the entirely fabricated
                   "evidence" that one of the accused was implicated in the shooting
                   down of the light aircraft belonging to Brothers to the Rescue on
                   February 26, 1996, and the allegation that one of the five searched
                   for supposedly secret military information.

                   The whole process has received the clear support of the anti-Cuba
                   terrorist groups operating in Miami and the mafia cliques attempting
                   to legitimize their activities.

                   In June, after Judge Lenard’s verdict, Héctor Pesquera directed a
                   theatrical statement at the Cuban authorities during a press
                   conference: "Mr. Castro, sending your agents to the United States to
                   conduct intelligence operations against the citizens of this country will
                   not be tolerated. We will pursue you vigorously, and we will take you
                   and prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law."

                   In response to a journalists’ question, however, he refused to state
                   whether he would pursue the authors of the attacks in Miami with
                   the same enthusiasm.

                   Months later, New Times magazine asked Pesquera and Prosecutor
                   Guy Lewis if they considered the Havana attacks to be acts of
                   terrorism. Both refused to respond.

                   The terrorist groups publicly celebrated the conviction of the five
                   patriots; the CANF even held an event to congratulate the FBI for its
                   good work related to the trial. In addition to Special Agent Pesquera,
                   then Miami Chief of Police Raúl Martínez and CANF Director Joe
                   García were present.

                   When the Puerto Rico incident occurred in August 1997, Pesquera’s
                   "spontaneous" declarations that "there may be foreign policy
                   implications" and that he didn’t reject any possibility sounded a bit

                   Once again, from high up on the official latter.

                   In September 1998, the same things were said within hours of the
                   arrests of the "spy network." This time, however, it was from very
                   high up in the government.

                   In comments regarding the issue, State Department spokesperson
                   James P. Rubin was compelled to deny allegations that the operation
                   was carried out with the sole purpose of satisfying the
                   Cuban-Americans, after the Puerto Rico incident.

                   "There is no basis for such an allegation," he declared.

                   Now that the trial has ended and the sentences have been handed
                   down, it is clear that such "political implications" suspected by
                   Pesquera and the allegations denied by Rubin were the tip of a huge
                   iceberg of complicity and corruption.

                   Special Agent Pesquera is only one visible face of this dangerous