How Fidel Castro Supported Terrorism in America 2

Puerto Rican nationalist and terrorist leader Oscar López Rivera in Chicago, May 18. Photo: European Pressphoto Agency

‘FALN was started in the mid-1960’s with a nucleus . . . that received advanced training in Cuba.’

By Zach Dorfman, Wall Street Journal

The decision to honor Oscar López Rivera, a terrorist who spent 35 years in federal prison, at New York’s Puerto Rican Day Parade Sunday unleashed a firestorm. Organizers named López Rivera—released in February under an 11th-hour clemency from President Obama —the parade’s first-ever “National Freedom Hero.”

In response, major sponsors such as Goya, Coca-Cola , Univision, Jet Blue and the Yankees pulled their support. New York Police Department Commissioner James O’Neill is refusing to march, as are several Democratic politicians, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.

The wariness over López Rivera—who’ll still march, though he’s said he’ll forgo the “hero” designation—is well-founded. The group he helped lead, the pro-independence Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional Puertorriqueña, or FALN, was one of the most prolific terrorist organizations of its time. Between the mid-1970s and mid-1980s, the FALN perpetrated more than 130 bombings. It was responsible for the 1975 explosion at Fraunces Tavern, which killed four and wounded 63; a bombing spree in New York City in August 1977 that killed one, injured six, and forced the evacuation of 100,000 office workers; and the purposeful targeting and maiming of four police officers, among many other vicious crimes.

Carnage on this scale was possible because of the FALN’s organizational and operational sophistication—including its numerous connections to communist Cuba and its intelligence services. Those connections have been known to law enforcement for decades.

According to court documents, Filiberto Ojeda Ríos, who is believed to have helped co-found the FALN, told an undercover NYPD officer in 1983 that he had received explosives training in Cuba. And the FBI estimated that by 1973, roughly 135 Puerto Rican militants had received “extensive instruction in guerilla war tactics, preparation of explosive artifacts, and sophisticated methods of sabotage” from Fidel Castro’s intelligence services.

The full extent of the FALN’s Cuba connections is unknown. But they may be more enduring than has been publicly reported. According to an NYPD document I discovered at the Hoover Institution archives at Stanford—undated, but apparently circa 1977—by that time officials had come to believe that “the FALN was started in the mid-1960’s with a nucleus of Puerto Rican terrorists that received advanced training in Cuba. . . . After their advanced training in Cuba they returned to Puerto Rico and a wave of bombings and incendiary incidents struck the [latter] island. Within the last few years they have shifted their activities to the mainland. . . . It is believed that they have maintained close links and may in fact work closely with Cuban intelligence operatives.”

Feature continues here: Cuban Support to Terrorists

 

 

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New York City To Honor Cuban-Trained Puerto Rican Terrorist 3

Melisssa Mark-Viverito (center) leads a demonstration for freeing Oscar Lopez Rivera. (Photo by Robert Miller)

Puerto Rican Day Parade Honors The Terrorists Who Killed My Father

By Joseph Connor, New York Post

Officials last week announced plans to honor unrepentant terrorist leader Oscar Lopez Rivera as their first ever “National Freedom Hero” at this year’s National Puerto Rican Day Parade on June 11.

The words “disgrace” and “outrage” do not come close to describing the insanity, insult and pain that honoring this terrorist thug brings to our family, the families of all FALN victims and all Americans. The idea is truly sickening.

New York City was the epicenter for the most horrific of the 120-plus bombings by Lopez’s Puerto Rican terrorist group, the Armed Forces for National Liberation (FALN). One of those bombings killed our 33-year-old father, Frank Connor, and three other innocent people.

Why would anyone in New York salute this man — particularly in the midst of our nation’s war on terrorists? Worse, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito chose to make this Alice-in-Wonderland announcement at One World Observatory, the very site of the most horrific terror attack in our nation’s history.

It’s also where my father’s godson, Steve Schlag, was murdered, along with 3,000 other civilians and the true hero first-responders. And where a threat by Lopez’s FALN prompted an evacuation of the World Trade Center in 1977.

And consider: Lopez refused President Bill Clinton’s 1999 clemency grant and chose to stay in prison rather than renounce violence. Yet President Barack Obama offered an unconditional second offer of clemency to Lopez just before leaving office. He’ll be freed next week.

Then the city in which our father was born, raised, worked and was murdered — a city bloodied by the most savage of all terrorist attacks on 9/11 — will play host to honoring him. What’s going on?

From 1974 to 1983, the FALN waged a merciless, bloody war against the United States, attacking civilians mainly in New York and Chicago. On Jan. 24, 1975, the FALN launched its most deadly attack, the infamous lunchtime bombing of Fraunces Tavern — murdering my father and three other innocent men. It was supposed to be the day we would celebrate my brother’s 11th birthday, and my 9th.

An FALN communique that day took credit for the attack, calling it a blow against “reactionary corporate executives.” In fact, my dad was born to immigrants and raised in working-class Washington Heights, very near where several of the FALN members were from.

In the early ’80s, 11 FALN members were arrested, tried and convicted of (among other serious felonies) weapons possession and seditious conspiracy. Lopez was convicted in 1981 and sentenced for crimes including seditious conspiracy, interference with interstate commerce by threats or violence, carrying firearms during the commission of those two crimes and interstate transportation of stolen vehicles.

Feature continues here:  Cuban-Sponsored Terrorist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Five of the Most (In)famous U.S. Fugitives in Cuba 6

Puerto Rican terrorist Guillermo Morales remains safe in Havana

Puerto Rican terrorist Guillermo Morales remains safe in Havana

As relations with Cuba normalize, here’s a look at the most well-known fugitives in the island nation — past and present

By Tina Griego, Washington Post

Assata Shakur may be the most-high profile American fugitive living in Cuba, as well as the most controversial. Extradite her, U.S. authorities demand of Cuba. Pardon her, demand her supporters in the United States.

But what of the other 70 or so American fugitives believed to be living on the island nation? They’re not easy to track, says Teishan Latner, a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for the United States and the Cold War.  “And among those who are known, they are hard to generalize. Some are seen as criminals. Some are mentally ill. Some fled from genuine political persecution.” The lines between the groups blur.

Take, for example, the hijackers. To live in the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Latner says, was to have lived in the heyday of airline hijacking to Cuba. It was so common that one publication carried a photo of a flight attendant with the caption, “Coffee, tea or — Castro?”

Between 1968 and 1973, there were 90 attempts to reach Cuba from the United States by commercial plane or, in a few cases, private aircraft, he writes in a forthcoming article for the journal Diplomatic History. Most of the hijackers were from the United States, “making American citizens or residents the world’s most frequent hijackers.”

Latner traveled to Cuba several times to interview those wanted by U.S. authorities. The life they live depends on whether the Cuban government saw them primarily as victims of political persecution in the United States – or as common criminals.

Those viewed as criminals received a welcome party that led straight to prison and eventually into a kind of halfway house, where they could be watched while they transitioned in or out of Cuban life. For many, the reality of a communist society could not survive the idealized version.

But, Latner says, those whom Cuba welcomed as political refugees were put in apartments, given stipends and ration books and supported as they found work.

I asked Latner whom he would place on the list alongside Shakur as the most-high profile American fugitives – past and present. He said it would be hard to narrow down, but these five are among the most well-known.

Nehanda Abiodun. She’s been living in Cuba since 1990. U.S. law enforcement believes she helped Shakur, who was convicted in the killing of a New Jersey state trooper, to escape from prison in 1979. Abiodun is often called the “godmother” of Cuban hip-hop, Latner says, She became an adviser for Cuban youth who were becoming hip-hop artists. She has served as a bridge between Afro-Cuban and American hip-hop artists.

Feature Continues here:  The Top 5 US Fugitives Protected by Castro Regime

 

 

The Cuban Five Condemn Boston Attacks 2

Washington, Apr 22 (Prensa Latina) The five anti-terrorist Cuban fighters unfairly held in US prisons expressed their solidarity with the US people in the wake of bomb attacks occurred a week ago at the end of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and wounding another 180. “With extreme consternation and sorrow we could see the images of the attacks in Boston, which caused the loss of lives of innocent people and considerable material damage,” says a message from Ramon Labanino released today on behalf of him and his four comrades Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez, Rene Gonzalez and Gerardo Hernandez, all known as The Cuban Five and given harsh sentences for monitoring anti-Cuban actions by Miami-based terrorist groups.

Labanino, sentenced to 30 years in prison, said that the Cuban people knows very well the terrible scourge of terrorism and “understands and supports the US people and feels their sorrow.” He said “it is time for all of us to unite and wipe out this terrible evil in our societies. We have always been and will always be against terrorism, all kind of terrorism.”

Editor’s Note: Cuba’s intelligence services have a long history of terrorist acts against the United States, from its failed “Black Friday” attack in New York City and continuing with the support of numerous US-based terrorist groups from the 1960s through the 1980s, for example, the Weather Underground Organization (WUO).

The most dangerous US terrorists sustained by Havana were two Puerto Rican terrorist groups; the Armed Forces of National Liberation (FALN) and the Boricua Popular Army (EPB). In testimony before a US Senate subcommittee, Dr. Daniel James claimed that Havana’s Directorate General of Intelligence (DGI), working through Filiberto Ojeda Rios, created FALN in 1974.

From 1980-1986, Puerto Rican terrorists conducted 55% of all domestic terrorist acts in the US. By the time these groups ceased their terrorist activity and moved to non-violent activism, they had killed more Americans and destroyed more property than any international terrorists in US history, with the exception of Al Qaeda’s 1994 and 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.

More recently, after 9/11, Cuba flooded US Embassies around the world with provocation agents whose mission was to degrade and disrupt US Intelligence efforts supporting the war on terror. Details can be found in the Sun-Sentinel article, “Embassy Walk-ins Were Cuba Spies Sent To Mislead U.S., Experts Say,” http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2009-10-20/news/0910190393_1_cuban-intelligence-cuba-experts-cuban-agents

Today in History: Terrorist-Supporting Spy Lectured at Loyola University Law School 1

March 2, 2001: America Area officer Fernando Miguel Garcia Bielsa, a First Secretary at the Cuban Interests Section, guest lectured at Loyola University Law School. Invited by the Los Angeles Coalition in Solidarity with Cuba, Garcia spoke on the Cuban economy and the domestic situation on the island. In 2002, he was publicly thanked – along with five other Intelligence Officers – by Council on Foreign Relations staffer Julia E. Sweig in her book, Inside the Cuban Revolution: Fidel Castro and the Urban Underground. Thrown out of the US during the massive May 2003 expulsions, Fernando Garcia Bielsa had worked closely with the two major Puerto Rican terrorist groups of the 1970s. He subsequently served as a First Secretary at the Cuban Mission to the United Nations in the 1980s.

Editor’s Note: The America Area of the International Department of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC/ID/AA) was previously known as the America Department (DA). This service remains the intelligence wing of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party. As the “DA,” the spy service was heavily involved in supporting revolutionaries and terrorists. It has since become more focused on political intelligence operations.

Case Closed On Wells Fargo Robbery; Except For Missing $7 Million And Top Fugitive 2

By Edmund H. Mahony, emahony@courant.com, The Hartford Courant

When Norberto Gonzalez Claudio was sentenced to prison this month — older, grayer and as devoted as ever to Puerto Rico’s independence — it effectively closed the book on Connecticut’s greatest political crime, so far as a case can be closed when $7 million and the guy who stole it are missing. Gonzalez, now 67, was a leader of the doctrinaire young Puerto Rican militants called Los Macheteros who, in 1983 carried off what was then the biggest cash robbery in U.S. history. They stole the $7 million from a Wells Fargo depot in West Hartford and declared that they would use it to wage a war for independence against their colonial oppressor, the United States.

In the days after the robbery, Connecticut was transfixed by its audacity. An unremarkable Wells Fargo employee from Hartford named Victor Gerena had injected two co-workers with a substance intended to subdue them, stuffed $7 million in used bills into a rented Buick and disappeared into the night. Over the decades leading to Gonzalez’s capture last year in the Puerto Rican mountains, the U.S. listed Los Macheteros as a terrorist organization and blamed it and a related group for more death and destruction than any other terror network operating in the U.S. until al Qaeda struck New York in 1994 and 2001. The Macheteros killed two U.S. sailors, blew up eight National Guard jets and attacked two federal courthouses with Cuban supplied rockets, all in Puerto Rico. The related Armed Forces of National Liberation, known by the initials FALN, launched a bombing campaign against mainland targets, including Mobil Oil and the Fraunces Tavern in New York.

The Macheteros led the FBI on a chase around the Caribbean, from Puerto Rico to Mexico, Panama and Cuba, as the organization met to negotiate a division of the money and more guns with the government of their principal supporter and supplier, Cuban President Fidel Castro. The robbery confirmed a belief long held by FBI agents in the Caribbean that Castro had been training and supplying the militant wing of the independence movement since the 1960s.

The FBI was so alarmed by the robbery and related violence that the bureau sent a team to San Juan to end it. When the agents helped draft the first Wells Fargo indictment in 1985, they argued —unsuccessfully — to name senior Cuban government figures as conspirators. Although there was a sense of finality in the courtroom when Gonzalez was sentenced to five years in prison on Nov. 14, analysts say forces more powerful than the FBI had begun years earlier to push the violent, clandestine movement for Puerto Rico’s independence into the past. “I think the sentencing put a period at the end of things,” said Marlene Hunter, who was part of the FBI team that cracked the Wells Fargo robbery and who later retired as the head of the FBI’s San Juan division.

Puerto Rico is saturated by culture and commerce from the north, where more Puerto Ricans now live than on the island. An influential independence party exists and politicians who support the island’s current, territorial relationship with the U.S. swept the election earlier this month. But in an historic, if contentious, Election Day plebiscite, majorities of Puerto Ricans voted displeasure with their territorial status and support for becoming a state.

Story continues here:  http://articles.courant.com/2012-11-24/news/hc-macheteros-cuba-20121124_1_los-macheteros-fbi-s-san-juan-fbi-agents

Cuba-Supported Terrorist Pleads Guilty to 1983 Wells Fargo Robbery 1

Written by the FBI

New Haven, Connecticut – The United States Attorneys for the District of Connecticut and the District of Puerto Rico announced that Norberto Gonzalez-Claudio, 67, pleaded guilty today before Senior United States District Judge Alfred V. Covello in Hartford to federal charges related to his involvement in a 1983 armored truck robbery of approximately $7 million in West Hartford, Connecticut, and a separate charge of illegally possessing a machine gun at the time of his arrest in May 2011.

“After more than a quarter century on the run, this defendant has admitted his guilt to charges related a $7 million armored truck robbery,” stated U.S. Attorney Fein. “I commend the FBI in Connecticut and Puerto Rico, as well as the U.S. Marshals Service, for never resting in investigating this case and apprehending the remaining fugitives. Their combined efforts demonstrate the resolve of law enforcement in the pursuit of justice.”

“Today’s plea is the result of an investigation that has spanned nearly 30 years and underscores the FBI’s tireless pursuit of justice,” stated Kimberly K. Mertz, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Connecticut. “The collaborative efforts of the FBI in San Juan and New Haven, and in all divisions of the FBI, will continue until all involved in the ‘Wells Fargo robbery’ are brought to justice.”

According to court documents and statements made in court, Gonzalez-Claudio conspired with others to rob approximately $7 million in cash from the Wells Fargo Armored Service Corporation in West Hartford and to transport the stolen money to Mexico. In pleading guilty, Gonzalez-Claudio acknowledged that he and other co-conspirators approved and authorized the robbery, which occurred on September 12, 1983.

Read the rest of the  story here:  Cuba Supported Terrorist Pleads Guilty to 1983 Wells Fargo Robbery