As Castro arrival nears, Dominicans expel Miami man
By JUAN O. TAMAYO
Herald Staff Writer
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- In the wake of reported plots to kill
Fidel Castro during a Caribbean summit here, Dominican officials Wednesday
expelled a Cuban exile who is from Miami and paid special attention to others
Local radio and television have carried several reports of ultra-tight
because of published reports about exile plots to kill the Cuban president during
the summit, which begins today.
Immigration officials at Santo Domingo's international airport were seen
the names of Cuban-born arrivals against a one-page typed list of exiles
considered worthy of special monitoring.
One Miami exile on the list, Fernando Canto, flew back to South Florida
Wednesday after Dominican officials refused him permission to stay longer in La
Romana, a resort town east of Santo Domingo.
Canto charged that two Havana security agents and a Dominican police lieutenant
had interrogated him for 2 1/2 hours this weekend when he flew from Miami to La
Romana to visit a factory he owns there.
He was eventually allowed to enter the country but was ordered to leave
Wednesday even though he is a legal resident of the Dominican Republic because
of his businesses here, Canto told reporters Wednesday in La Romana.
Contacted before the Canto case became known, the head of the country's
confirmed that security agents at airports have a list of exile ``activists in the
anti-Castro cause'' but said no one would be blocked from entering.
``This is simply vigilance. No one has been turned back, and no one has
arrested. But it is logical that we take precautions and monitor some people,'' said
Gen. Sigfrido Pared Perez, head of the National Investigations Directorate.
Dominican radio reported that two Cuban airplanes landed Wednesday carrying
several bomb-sniffing dogs and about 100 Cuban security agents, and metal
detectors were deployed at the seaside hotel where the summit will be held.
But security at the airport appeared only slightly less lax than usual,
barely touching the suitcases of two Cuban Americans who arrived Tuesday.
Castro and 16 other Caribbean heads of government will meet today through
Saturday to discuss a number of regional issues, but the Cuban president is
expected to stay on another two days.
The Herald reported on Aug. 9 that Luis Posada Carriles, a Cuban exile
implicated in several terror attacks, and three Miami exiles were plotting to
assassinate Castro during the summit. And last month, the U.S. Embassy in the
Santo Domingo warned of possible terrorist threats to airliners flying between the
Dominican Republic and Cuba.
Pro- and anti-Castro groups that have been girding for weeks for Castro's
visit to the Dominican Republic clashed Wednesday in a brief melee while several
policemen stood nearby. Members of the minuscule Force of the Revolution, a
communist party, attacked a group of Cuban exiles who tried to talk to the media
in downtown Santo Domingo.
Force members also plastered posters of Castro for several blocks around
Jaragua hotel, where Castro and the other leaders will stay and meet.
``Leader of America, welcome to the Dominican Republic,'' say some of the
Meanwhile, Cuban exiles living here have been holding news conferences
sending faxes to reporters saying that Cubans lack the freedoms that Dominicans
enjoy -- a free press and a multiparty democracy among them.
``We want to show Dominicans who don't understand that he is the problem,''
Mario Rivadulla, journalist and former president of the Association of Cubans in
the Dominican Republic.
But the bulk of the people preparing for Castro's visit in fact were Ministry
Public Works crews ordered to tidy up the capital city of Santo Domingo and the
towns that Castro will visit after the summit.
Workers have trimmed trees, filled potholes, replaced burned-out street
lights and picked up some of the garbage along the route from the airport to the
Dominican newspapers reported the crews also gave a new coat of paint to
house in the northwest coastal city of Montecristi where Jose Marti, hero of the
Cuban war of independence from Spain, stayed in 1895.
Castro is expected to visit Montecristi and Bani, a town 40 miles west
Domingo, after the summit ends, although his exact schedule is being kept secret
for security reasons.