The Miami Herald
January 7, 1999

Exile files drug complaint against Castro

             PARIS -- (AP) -- The daughter of an executed Cuban colonel filed a complaint
             against Fidel Castro in a French court Wednesday, accusing the Cuban leader of
             international drug-trafficking.

             Two men, represented by the same attorney, also filed two complaints charging
             Castro with crimes against humanity in the Investigating Magistrates Office of the
             Paris Court.

             Ileana de la Guardia, the exiled daughter of Cuban Col. Antonio de la Guardia,
             said she hoped to clear her father's name and have Castro charged with being
             involved in drug smuggling.

             Her father was convicted and executed by Cuba in 1989, along with three other
             military officers, for smuggling drugs into the United States.

             Cuban drug trafficking ``was a matter of state, organized by the highest echelons
             of power in the country,'' de la Guardia told reporters at the Palais de Justice. ``It's
             impossible that Fidel Castro was unaware of this.''

             French judicial officials who requested anonymity said a judge would automatically
             open an investigation because of the complaint -- and that could eventually lead to
             criminal charges against Castro.

             However, prosecutors would need to prove that some of the drugs that left Cuba
             were destined for France, which de la Guardia has claimed in her complaint.

             De la Guardia was represented by attorney Serge Lewisch, who also filed two
             other complaints Wednesday against Castro. One was on behalf of a French
             photographer, Pierre Golendorf, who spent 2 1/2 years in a Cuban jail, and Cuban
             artist Lazaro Jordana, jailed for four years for illegally leaving the country.

             Both men accuse Castro of crimes against humanity, including torture and murder.
             No further details about those cases were immediately available.

             However, French judicial officials said it was unlikely Castro would face charges
             of crimes against humanity because he enjoys immunity as a head of state.

             But they said the drug-trafficking charges could stand, since French law respects
             sovereign immunity only in cases directly linked to official duties.

             Col. Antonio de la Guardia was shot by a firing squad alongside Cuban war hero
             Maj. Gen. Arnaldo Ochoa, Maj. Amado Padron and Capt. Jorge Martinez. All
             confessed to the smuggling and asked for mercy based on their military records.


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