From Havana: Remains of Abducted Cuban Diplomat Found in Argentina
The remains of Nicomedes Galañena Crescencio Hernandez, a Cuban diplomat who disappeared on August 9, 1976, were found by a group of children in Argentina.
Judicial sources confirmed to the Argentinean Página/12 newspaper that the human remains found last June 11 in a rusted metal barrel across the aerodrome of San Fernando, and subsequently analyzed, have 99.99 percent likelihood of belonging to the Cuban diplomat.
Galañena Hernández and Jesús Cejas Arias, officials accredited to the Cuban embassy in Buenos Aires, were kidnapped by Argentinean military in the Belgrano neighborhood on that date, a few blocks from the embassy and taken to Automotores Orletti, an auto repair shop that was turned into a secret prison.
In 2011, 35 years after that event, the Cuban Granma newspaper ran an article based on declassified documents and participants in the event that revealed that the two Cubans were subjected to aggressive interrogations by members of the DINA, the secret police of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, CIA officer Michael Townley and Cuban-American Guillermo Novo Sampol, partner in crime of renowned terrorist Luis Posada Carriles.
As a result of subsequent research, it was learned that the youths were tortured with extreme violence and killed, without their captors succeeding in obtaining any information
Their bodies were placed in oil barrels, mixed with cement and lime, and dumped in an until-now unknown location.
This is not the first time that barrels with remains of victims tortured in Orletti are found. That place became the center of operations for the Operation Condor, a repressive system coordinated between the CIA and the military dictatorships that ruled South America, mainly in the 1970s.
In 1976, seven such barrels were found of the same type containing bodies and cement.
According to Página/12 in 1989 it was found that one of them was of Marcelo Gelman, son of poet Juan Gelman.
District Attorney Luis Angelini ordered the Policía Científica (crime investigators) to carry out an intensive search for more barrels in that location and to determine if these ones had been buried in the aerodrome for the last 36 years or were recently dumped there. (ACN)Cuban Diplomat
The above storyline from Havana takes an interesting twist when read in conjunction with the following summary of page 14 of the declassified CIA report “Argentina-Cuba: Castro Support for Local Subversion?,” Latin American Trends: Staff Notes, September 22, 1976:
In August 1976, government authorities captured two Chilean revolutionaries, both of whom quickly provided insights regarding Cuba’s role in Argentine terrorism. Patricio Biedma and Mario Espinosa both had extensive service in Argentina. Biedma claimed he led Chile’s Revolutionary Left Movement (MIR) (Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria) presence in Argentina, served as the MIR representative to the Junta de Coordinacion Revolucionaria (JCR), and was a combatant with Argentina’s People’s Revolutionary Army (ERP). Biedma claimed he met frequently with a Cuban diplomat in Buenos Aires who provided funds to the JCR, ERP, and Montoneros. Argentine targeting of the Cuban Embassy then led authorities to suspect that Havana used its diplomatic facility to provide a safe haven to senior ERP members who participated in the March 1971 coup. Espinosa himself claimed he had been trained in Cuba and then introduced to the ERP by a Cuban associate. [emphasis added]
Editor’s Note: In February 1974, four major leftist groups secretly met in in Mendoza, Argentina. The four groups: Argentina’s People’s Revolutionary Army (ERP) Bolivia’s National Liberation Army (ELN), Chile’s MIR, and Uruguay’s Tupamamoros agreed to form the Junta de Coordinacion Revolucionaria (JCR). The JCR believed that armed struggle was the only path to victory over so-called US imperialism. In 1974, the ERP provided the JCR with five million dollars from its kidnapping of an Exxon Corporation official. The funding, intended to foster joint operations and planning, enabled the ERP to become the dominant member of the Junta.