Aldereguia claims FBI framed him to get to WFC president
By Helga Silva
Ray of Pigs veteran Salvador Aldereguia-Ors has accused the FBI of fabricating alleged letters to a Cuban spy, which the agency claims were found in his briefcase, in an attempt to discredit his former boss, Guillermo Hernandez-Cartaya, president of WFC Corp.
"I had nothing to hide... then or now, but what the FBI has done is pushed me against the ceiling, framing me in order to get to Hernandez-Cartaya." Aldereguia said.
Aldereguia is facing charges of conspiring to alter a U.S. passport to help his long-time friend, Coral Gables financier Hernandez-Cartaya, flee the Ajman Arab Emirate. Hernandez-Cartaya also is charged in the passport case.
Aldereguia denied there were any letters to a Cuban spy in his briefcase when he was arrested March 3 at Miami International Airport as he was waiting to board a plane to Jamaica. Sources have said the briefcase contained letters with operational instructions sensitive to national security and addressed to an agent code-named "Samuel."
Aldereguia charged that the FBI never itemized a list of the briefcase contents to sign. Therefore, he said, "It's my word against theirs."
"What they did count was the money - that, they certainly counted before me, $649 and some change. But that is all."
The FBI denied his accusations.
Sources said the FBI knows who hand-delivered the letters to Aldereguia. The FBI, sources added, is investigating the possibility that Aldereguia is Samuel.
"I am not Samuel... I don't know such a Samuel and there were no such letters," Aldereguia has said.
According to sources, the letters also furnished "Samuel" with names of persons who would he helpful in setting up a business "front" in Miami and explained how to get visas to bring people into Miami who could help with the company.
Aldereguia, a former captain in Fidel Castro's rebel army who later broke with Castro and came to Miami vowing to help overthrow the premier, said the briefcase contained some 100 visa applications.
Some, he added, were applications for permits to leave the island temporarily; some were applications for permits to leave the island permanently and others were visa applications for exiles to visit their relatives in Cuba.
In addition, he said, he was carrying his official U.S. citizenship document, an old canceled passport, and his children's report cards. His current U.S. passport was in his coat pocket, he added.
FBI agents testified in court that they also found in the briefcase pictures of Hernandez-Cartaya, identical to one pasted on a passport belonging to Aldereguia.
"He [Hernandez-Cartaya] is my friend ... I am not going to soil his name or reputation," Aldercguia said. "If we had not been thrown together under the same charges, I would never make an issue of my friendship with him."
Aldereguia said he traveled to Jamaica numerous times beginning last year to arrange for visas to reunite Cuban families. Juan Carbonell, the Cuban consul in Jamaica, was an old-time friend from revolutionary days, he said, adding that he had lodged petitions for the freedom of key political prisoners in Cuba with Carbonell.
He said he ignored earlier FBI suggestions that he should register as
a foreign agent in connection to his trips to Jamaica because he had not
been instructed to do so by either the U.S. State or Justice departments.