As U.S. And Cuba Explore a Renewal Of Diplomacy, What Becomes Of Victor Gerena, Other Notorious Fugitives? 2

(Courtesy:  Hartford Courant)

(Courtesy: Hartford Courant)

By Edmund H. Mahony, Hartford Courant

There is probably no one with a greater interest than Victor M. Gerena in the talks underway between the U.S. and Cuba about re-establishing diplomatic relations.

In 1983, he and other members of a group of Puerto Rican nationalists — a group armed, advised and financed by the Cuban government — stole $7 million from a West Hartford armored car depot in what was then the biggest cash robbery in U.S. history.

The Cubans sneaked Gerena into Mexico City. They stashed him in a safe house, lightened the color of his hair and gave him a phony diplomatic identity. Eventually, they put him and much of the money on a plane to Havana, where Gerena disappeared into the shadowy community of murderers, bombers, robbers and hijackers Cuba has sheltered from prosecution in the U.S and other countries since the 1960s.

For decades, the U.S. fugitives hiding in Cuba have been of little interest to anyone beyond a handful of journalists, law enforcement agencies and the families of their victims. But as President Obama presses an effort to reopen embassies and lift credit and trade restrictions, the fugitives have been discovered by critics and are emerging as a potential impediment to normalization.

Last week, Obama said he intends to remove Cuba from the government’s list of nations that sponsor terrorism, effectively opening Havana to commercial lenders. Cuba has been on the list for 30 years, with Iran, Syria and Sudan. The last time the state department reviewed the list, in 2013, it decided against Cuba’s removal because of its continued willingness to provide safe haven to fugitives wanted on terror charges.

Congress has 45 days to challenge the decision to remove Cuba from the list and opponents were lining up last week within Congress and among law enforcement agencies, Cuban exiles and families of victims killed by fugitives who have lived comfortably in Cuba for decades

“In the midst of our global war on terrorism, simply put, how can Obama and this administration remove a state that sponsors terrorists from the State Sponsor of Terror list?” said Joseph Connor, whose father died in a 1975 bomb attack at Fraunces Tavern in New York by a Puerto Rican nationalist group supported by Cuba. “This action shows Obama’s utter disregard for Americans like my father, who was murdered by Castro’s clients and it tells the world we condone terrorism.”

Others want return of the fugitives to be a condition of normalization or, at a minimum, that the fugitives be used to leverage other concessions.

Article continues here:  Terrorist Victor Gerena

The Laughable Duplicity of “Former” Cuban Spy Arturo Lopez-Levy 9

Former Spy Arturo López-Levy, now believed to be in his 8th year as a doctorate candidate.....

“Former” Spy Arturo López-Levy

By Chris Simmons

The Huffington Post disgraced itself again yesterday with another propaganda piece by admitted “former” Directorate of Intelligence (DI) officer, Arturo Lopez-Levy. His feature, Why Senator Rubio’s Lies Matter,” condemned the Senator for a lack of ethics. Lopez-Levy attacked Rubio for having lied when he claimed his family fled the left-wing dictatorship of Fidel Castro when in reality they fled the right-wing dictatorship of General Fulgencio Batista. The “former” spy said this deception “shined a spotlight on the senator’s moral character.” Lopez-Levy then proceeded to make the outrageous claim that conservative Cuban-Americans (including Rubio) are former Batista supporters.

As ludicrous as Lopez-Levy’s statements are, the real hypocrisy is the layers of lies in which he has encased his own persona. The real name of this perpetual doctoral candidate (now believed to be in his 8th year of studies) is Arturo Lopez-Callejas. After all, this is the name he lived by for over 30 years in Cuba. The faux scholar also now denies his spy career, although he acknowledged his patriotic service to Fidel in his book, Raul Castro and the New Cuba: A Close-Up View of Change.

He also – innocently I’m sure – forgot to tell readers he is Raul Castro’s nephew-in-law. More specifically, he is the first cousin of Castro’s son-in-law, Brigadier General Luis Alberto Rodriguez Primo Lopez-Callejas. Rodriguez leads the Enterprise Administration Group (GAESA), placing him in command of Cuba’s entire tourism industry. According to the Miami Herald, “Rodriguez, married to Castro’s oldest daughter, Deborah Castro Espín, is widely viewed as one of the most powerful and ambitious men in Cuba — smart, arrogant, frugal and a highly effective administrator of GAESA.”  Herald reporter Juan Tamayo also noted that Deborah Castro’s brother is Alejandro Castro Espín, Castro’s chief intelligence advisor.

So to recap, the man who lies about his true name, his career, his family ties, and the privileged life he led in Cuba now has the cojones to question the integrity of another person?  Seriously????

Updated High-Frequency (HF) Broadcast Schedule for Cuban Spies Worldwide 1

numbers stationsCuban “Numbers Station” HM01 with new start/end of transmissions: 

By Bulgarian DX Blog    

xx54-xx18 broadcasts 24 minutes; xx18-xx28 open carrier/dead air;

xx28-xx48 broadcasts 20 minutes; xx48-xx54 change of frequencies.

0454-0548 on  5855 secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Sun/Mon/Wed/Fri0

454-0548 on 12120 secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Sun/Mon/Wed/Fri, not active

0454-0548 on 11462 secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Tue/Thu/Sat

0454-0548 on 14375 secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Tue/Thu/Sat, not active

0554-0648 on 10345 secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Sun/Mon/Wed/Fri

0554-0648 on ????? secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Tue/Thu/Sat, ex 9330

0654-0748 on  9330 secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Sun/Mon/Wed/Fri

0654-0748 on 13435 secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Tue/Thu/Sat

0754-0848 on  9065 secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Sun/Mon/Wed/Fri

0754-0848 on 11635 secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Tue/Thu/Sat

0854-0948 on  9240 secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Sun/Mon/Wed/Fri

0854-0948 on 11462 secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Tue/Thu/Sat

0854-0948 on 12120 secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Tue/Thu/Sat, not active

0954-1048 on  5855 secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Sun/Mon/Wed/Fri

0954-1048 on  9155 secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Sun/Mon/Wed/Fri

0954-1048 on 11635 secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Tue/Thu/Sat

0954-1048 on 12180 secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Tue/Thu/Sat, not active

1554-1648 on 11435 secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Daily

1654-1748 on 11530 secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Daily

1754-1848 on 11635 secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Daily

2054-2148 on 11635 secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Sun/Mon/Wed/Fri

2054-2148 on 16180 secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Tue/Thu/Sat

2154-2248 on 10715 secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Sun/Mon/Wed/Fri

2154-2248 on 17480 secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Tue/Thu/Sat

2254-2348 on 11530 secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Sun/Mon/Wed/Fri

2254-2348 on 17540 secret/hidden tx Bauta?-Cuba Spanish Tue/Thu/Sat

Editor’s Note:  According to reliable defectors and émigrés, most Cuban spies have moved from HF to internet-based communications. Those still on HF (or morse code in some cases) are technology dinosaurs whom Havana is unwilling or unable to move into the 21st Century.

Cuba Welcomes Removal From U.S. List of States Sponsoring Terrorism 2

DI Officer Josefina Vidal

DI Officer Josefina Vidal

By Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times

Cuba welcomed President Obama’s decision to remove the island nation from the list of states that sponsor terrorism — a list on which “Cuba never should have been included,” a senior Cuban official said.

Josefina Vidal, head of the North American section of the Cuban Foreign Ministry and Havana’s leader of negotiations to renew diplomatic ties with the United States, praised Obama’s “just decision” and said Cuba condemns rather than supports terrorism.

“Cuba rejects and condemns all acts of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, as well as any action that has as its objective the encouraging, supporting, financing or covering up terrorist acts,” Vidal said in a statement released late Tuesday.

She said her nation had been the victim of terrorism rather than its promoter. She was alluding to efforts by U.S. and Cuban opponents of the Castro governments to overthrow or destabilize the regime, including the U.S.-backed attempted invasion at the Bay of Pigs in April 1961, which she said claimed the lives of hundreds of Cubans.

“The government of Cuba recognizes the just decision taken by the president of the United States to eliminate Cuba from a list on which it never should have been included,” Vidal said.

Cuba’s position on the list of state sponsors of terrorism, with Iran, North Korea and others, had been a major obstacle in the improving of diplomatic relations between Washington and Havana, announced by Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro in December.

The Castro governments consistently demanded their nation be removed from the list — along with insisting that the U.S. embargo on Cuba be lifted, something that only Congress can do.

Editor’s Note:  Directorate of Intelligence (DI) officer Josefina Vidal left the US in May 2003 as part of the expulsion of 16 Cuban diplomat spies. However, she and another DI spouse were not “officially” declared Persona Non Grata since the expulsion of their husbands made their departure a fait accompli.

Additionally, Cuba’s decades-long support to terrorist groups is irrefutable and well documented. In fact — from 1959 until September 11, 2001 — Cuban supported groups conducted more attacks and killed more Americans than any other terrorist groups in the United States.

Obama Says Would Move Fast to Take Cuba Off Terrorism Sponsor List 5

Obama(Reuters) – President Barack Obama vowed on Tuesday to act quickly once he receives a State Department recommendation on whether to remove Cuba from the U.S. list of terrorism-sponsoring countries, a remaining obstacle to the restoration of relations between Washington and Havana.

With just days to go before a hemispheric summit in Panama where Obama will come face-to-face with Cuban President Raul Castro, he offered no clear sign of how he was leaning or the timeframe for his decision. He ordered the review immediately after announcing a diplomatic breakthrough with Havana on Dec. 17.

Obama, in a Reuters interview in early March, said he hoped the United States would be able to open an embassy in Cuba by the time of the April 10-11 Summit of the Americas, and U.S. officials have since said the review was being expedited.

But the lack of a decision so far on taking Cuba off the terrorism blacklist – something Havana has steadfastly demanded – has raised strong doubts about whether the review will be finished in time to make further strides toward normalization before the summit.

“As soon as I get a recommendation, I’ll be in a position to act on it,” Obama said in an interview with National Public Radio.

Obama gave no sense of where the administration is heading on the issue but made clear that his decision would be based not on “whether they engage in repressive or authoritarian activities in their own country” but on the “current activities of the Cuban government” with regard to terrorism.

Cuba was added to the list of terrorism sponsors in 1982, when it was aiding Marxist insurgencies. But it is currently aiding a peace process with Colombia’s left-wing FARC guerrillas.

“I think there’s a real opportunity here, and we are going to continue to make – move forward on it,” Obama said. “Our hope is to be in a position where we can open an embassy there, that we can start having more regular contacts and consultations around a whole host of issues, some of which we have interests in common.”

He added: “What I’m saying is, I’m going to be taking a very close look at what the State Department recommends.”

(Reporting by Eric Walsh and Matt Spetalnick; Editing by Ken Wills)

U.S. Supreme Court Denies Alan Gross Appeal in Lawsuit Against U.S. Government 1

Alan Gross speaks on the phone with President Barack Obama after his release from Cuban prison on Dec. 17, 2014. (White House, public domain)

Alan Gross speaks on the phone with President Barack Obama after his release from Cuban prison on Dec. 17, 2014. (White House, public domain)

by Dusty Christensen, Latin America News Dispatch

NEW YORK — The U.S. Supreme Court denied an appeal on Monday by former government subcontractor Alan Gross, who filed a $60 million lawsuit in 2012 alleging negligence on the part of the U.S. government over the five years he spent in a Cuban prison.

The decision upholds a November 2014 ruling in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which dismissed the case on the grounds that the United States is not liable for “claims arising in a foreign country.”

“We are certainly disappointed, but not surprised by the court’s decision,” said Gross’ lawyer Scott Gilbert in a statement to Latin America News Dispatch.

In 2009, Gross was arrested while working as a government subcontractor in Cuba, where he was distributing satellite phones and computer equipment to the island’s Jewish community as part of a USAID democracy promotion program. Cuban authorities

accused him of being a U.S. intelligence agent, and sentenced him to 15 years in prison for participating in “a subversive project of the U.S. government that aimed to destroy the Revolution through the use of communications systems out of the control of authorities.”

In the lawsuit, Gross and his wife Judy say that Gross wasn’t properly informed of the perils of his work, which the “United States negligently directed, organized, and oversaw.” The case was dismissed in federal court, however, just one month before Gross was released from prison in December as part of the thawing of diplomatic relations with Cuba.

Gross received $3.2 million in a separate case in December, when USAID reached a settlement with the subcontractor he was working with in Cuba, Development Alternatives, Inc.

As in the most recent ruling, however, the U.S. government denied any liability for Gross’ imprisonment. In a statement released in December, USAID said, “The settlement avoids the cost, delay and risks of further proceedings, and does not constitute an admission of liability by either party.”

Undercover Spy Josefina Vidal Scores Interview With ABC New’s “Fawning” Jim Avila 5

ABS News failed audiences yet again with its latest interview with expelled Directorate of Intelligence (DI) officer Josefina Vidal. Avila began his deeply biased interview by complementing the apartheid Cuban regime for negotiating with the US, which for over 50 years “plotted to overthrow your government.” At no time did Avila note that most terrorist attacks in the US from the 1960s through the 1990s originated in Cuba. Nor did he question Vidal on her career intelligence service, although he did laughably ask her how the two nations were to build trust together. Also overlooked was Cuba’s role as an intelligence trafficker and its intentional compromise of every major US military operations since the 1983 Grenada invasion. Well done ABC – no need for a few inconvenient truths to get in the way of an interview.

N.J. Lawmakers Urge No Funding for Cuban Relations Until Chesimard is Returned to U.S. 2

Assata Shakur, the former Joanne Chesimard, escaped from prison in 1979 and fled to Cuba. (Photo: Associated Press)

Assata Shakur, the former Joanne Chesimard, escaped from prison in 1979 and fled to Cuba. (Photo: Associated Press)

By Jonathan D. Salant | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, The Star-Ledger

WASHINGTON — Congress should not approve any money for restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba until convicted cop-killer Joanne Chesimard is returned to the U.S., three New Jersey Republican federal lawmakers said today.

U.S. Reps. Scott Garrett (R-5th Dist.), Leonard Lance (R-7th Dist.) and Tom MacArthur (R-3rd Dist.) made the request in a letter today to fellow Republican Rep. Kay Granger of Texas, who chairs the House Appropriations subcommittee that approves spending on foreign operations, and the panel’s ranking member, Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.).

“Any attempt by the Obama administration to normalize relations with Cuba must include the extradition of Joanne Chesimard back to New Jersey so that she can face justice and serve out her sentence,” the lawmakers wrote. “Until Cuba accepts this condition, we request all funds directed toward normalization be withheld.

Today’s letter is the latest attempt by the New Jersey congressional delegation to make Chesimard’s return a condition of resuming diplomatic relations with Cuba. U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.).told Secretary of State John Kerry in a letter last month that Chesimard and other fugitives must be extradited before Cuba is removed from a list of state sponsors of terrorism.

In January, members of the state’s congressional delegation called on President Obama to make Chesimard’s extradition “an immediate priority,”

Chesimard escaped prison and fled to Cuba after being sentenced to life imprisonment for the 1973 murder of Trooper Werner Foerster during a gunfight. Chesimard and other members of the Black Liberation Army had been stopped by State Police on the New Jersey Turnpike. In 2013, she became the first woman on the FBI’s list of most wanted terrorists.

The calls for Chesimard’s extradition have grown louder since Obama in December announced a “new approach” to Cuba, which has been under a U.S. embargo for a half-century, and said he would easing economic restrictions and move toward re-establishing diplomatic relations with the communist regime.

Article continues here:  NJ Lawmakers

 

U.S. Removes Dead Cubans, Sunken Ships From Sanctions List Reply

OFACBy Daniel Trotta and Anna Yukhananov

Havana/Washington

(Reuters) – The United States removed 45 companies and individuals from a Cuba sanctions blacklist on Tuesday, most of them dead people, defunct companies or sunken ships.

Among them was Amado Padron, a Cuban executed by a firing squad 26 years ago along with Arnaldo Ochoa, a decorated army general who was sentenced to death by Cuba’s communist government after he was found to be connected to international drug trafficking.

The U.S. Treasury Department said the delisting was aimed at clearing “out-of-date” names from its list of Specially Designated Nationals.

Washington bans those designated from trading with U.S. individuals or companies, who face heavy fines if caught doing business with them.

The Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) removed six people, 28 companies and 11 vessels from the list as part of an ongoing review of older cases. Four of the people are dead and two were delisted because the companies they were affiliated with were dissolved, officials said.

The ships had either sunk or were otherwise not operational.

“While these removals are not related to the recent changes to our Cuba sanctions program and rather reflect OFAC’s consistent effort to review and update its SDN list, these delistings are in line with the President’s Cuba policy,” OFAC said.

President Barack Obama rewrote longstanding Cuba policy in December, agreeing with Cuban President Raul Castro to restore diplomatic relations and seek to end more than five decades of animosity between the old Cold War rivals.

Obama has since eased the U.S. trade embargo by allowing some financial transactions and sales of computer technology and construction materials to Cuba while permitting importers to buy from Cuban independent contractors.

The Specially Designated Nationals list adds another level of sanctions, banning transactions even in fields cleared by Obama.

Feature continues here:  OFAC Update