Purported spy visited Miami often as courier
By RICK JERVIS
Herald Staff Writer
The man claiming to be a Cuban spy was a small-time courier who traveled
Miami four days a month and made money by bringing back cash and gifts to
Cuba for exiles, according to his former landlord.
Percy Francisco Alvarado, who testified Thursday in Cuba that Cuban American
National Foundation officials paid him to detonate bombs around Havana, would
stay in a room in a Miami home and get visits from about 10 people a day.
They would bring radios, medicine or money. Alvarado, 49, would take them
back to their families in Cuba for a price, said Ricardo Dellano, owner of the home
in the 800 block of Northwest 32nd Avenue.
Alvarado had been shuttling between the home and his house in Miramar,
for about a year, staying for only four days at a time, Dellano said. The Miami
homeowner allowed Alvarado to stay in the room for free, with the condition that
he would deliver things back to Dellano's family.
Dellano last saw Alvarado four months ago, he said.
``People came here a lot, men and women,'' Dellano said. ``But he never
about the foundation or anti-revolution or Castro. He was like a courier.''
CANF officials Thursday vehemently discounted Alvarado's claims that he
infiltrated the foundation and received money to act as an undercover agent in
``Where's the evidence?'' CANF spokeswoman Ninoska Perez said from
Washington. ``We don't know who this person is. We've never heard of him. We
have repeatedly said we are not involved in those types of activities.''
Alvarado, a native of Guatemala, had lived in Cuba since 1960.
Recommended to Dellano through a friend, he would show up in Miami late
first Thursday of every month and stay through Monday, Dellano said.
In that span, people would come to see him throughout the day like clockwork,
many of them by appointments, he said.
``He scheduled them very carefully, never two at a time,'' Dellano said.
Alvarado would receive $50 to $500 from people to take back to families,
keeping some for himself, he said. Sometimes it was medicine, sometimes sandals.
When not meeting with people, Alvarado would go to the Opa-locka flea market
to buy VCRs or watches to sell back in Cuba.
Dressed in shorts and sandals, Alvarado was thrifty, eating home-cooked
and asking for rides to the flea market or airport because he couldn't afford cab
fare, Dellano said.
He would watch soccer on television and go to sleep early, he said.
Once, when news of the Havana bombings came on television, Alvarado
commented on how the ``damn terrorists'' were going to ruin his business.
``He didn't like to talk about politics,'' Dellano said. ``Soccer, women
a buck, that's all he talked about.''