Washington Post Conceals Truth Regarding Letelier Assassination 1

LEFT: Ronni Moffitt, who was a development associate at the Institute for Policy Studies at the time of her death in the 1976 car bombing. (Family photo) MIDDLE: Isabel Letelier, right, and Michael Moffitt embrace after placing roses at the site where Orlando Letelier and Ronni Moffitt were killed in 1976. (UPI) RIGHT: Orlando Letelier, a former Chilean ambassador to the U.S., is pictured in April 1975. (Associated Press/AS)

LEFT: Ronni Moffitt, who was a development associate at the Institute for Policy Studies at the time of her death in the 1976 car bombing. (Family photo) MIDDLE: Isabel Letelier, right, and Michael Moffitt embrace after placing roses at the site where Orlando Letelier and Ronni Moffitt were killed in 1976. (UPI) RIGHT: Orlando Letelier, a former Chilean ambassador to the U.S., is pictured in April 1975. (Associated Press/AS)

Washington Post:  This Was Not an Accident. This Was a Bomb

On a muggy autumn morning four decades ago, a car exploded in Washington. It had motored along Massachusetts Avenue NW, rounding the bend at Sheridan Circle, when a remote-controlled bomb taped beneath the vehicle was triggered.

A driver in a car nearby would later describe the fiery impact of the blast: “I saw an automobile actually coming down out of the air.”

The smoldering wreck lurched to a halt in front of the Romanian Embassy, its windows blown open and entire floor panel gone. A police officer who arrived on the scene remembered welling up with nausea. There was blood and debris everywhere and a human foot in the roadway. A fatally wounded man lay on the pavement; his legs were missing from above the knees.

This was Orlando Letelier, a 44-year-old former Chilean diplomat who had been driving to work at a D.C. think tank along with his colleague, Ronni Moffitt, 25, and her husband, Michael.

Letelier died within minutes. Shrapnel had pierced Ronni Moffitt’s throat, and she drowned in her own blood a half-hour later. Michael, who had been sitting in the back seat, tumbled out largely unscathed. He was beside himself in grief and shock.

“Assassins, fascists!” he exclaimed amid the carnage.

They were victims of a brazen, perhaps unprecedented plot, the target of a foreign regime that had sent agents into the United States to kill Letelier. Here was a case of state-sponsored terrorism in the heart of the American capital. Only in this instance, the state was a close Washington ally in the Cold War.

Letelier was a prominent opponent of the military rule of Chile’s Gen. Augusto Pinochet, who rose to power in a 1973 army coup that ousted and led to the death of the democratically elected president, Salvador Allende. Letelier had served as Chile’s ambassador to the United States in Allende’s socialist government, which the CIA spent millions of dollars undermining through covert operations. On the day of the coup, Letelier was arrested and sent, with other ministers of Allende’s government, to a string of concentration camps. For months, he was kept at Dawson Island in the extreme south of Chile near the South Pole. He was released only after concerted international diplomatic pressure.

A trained economist, Letelier eventually won residency in Washington and a post at the left-wing Institute for Policy Studies. He became the most prominent Chilean exile living in the United States — and a magnet for dissent and criticism of both Pinochet’s abuses and the missteps of U.S. foreign policy in Latin America.

Article continues here:  Washington Post 

 

Editor’s Note:  The Letelier Assassination

Following Pinochet’s coup, the military government imprisoned former Chilean Foreign Minister Orlando Letelier. Later released, he went into exile in the US where the former Ambassador to the US landed a job as head of the Transnational Institute within the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), a left-of-center think tank. (Anderson & Whitten, Washington Post, 12-20-76, p. C7; Irvine, AIM Report, Oct 80, p. 1) An FBI wiretap of December 4, 1975 revealed Letelier had contacted DGI officer Torres Rizo on a recent conference in Mexico. Letelier advised his handler the conference had been productive and the Cubans in attendance had made excellent contributions. Torres Rizo told Letelier he would be in Washington DC in mid-December and he wanted to meet with him and his IPS colleagues. (Irvine, AIM Report, Oct 80, p. 4) In 1977, columnist Jack Anderson identified Cuban Mission to the United Nations (CMUN) officer Julian Torres Rizo as the chief of Havana’s US-based intelligence operations. (Anderson & Whitten, Washington Post, 6-9-77, p. VA 25).

On December 17, Letelier arranged to meet Torres Rizo in New York City two days later to receive some packages. FBI wiretaps and Letelier’s own diary showed five contacts between Letelier and Torres Rizo that month. In contrast, Letelier’s diary revealed only one contact with senior intelligence officer Teofilo Acosta Rodriguez during 1975. (Irvine, AIM Report, Oct 80, p. 4). The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) later identified Teofilo Acosta as a senior Cuban intelligence officer. (Valeriani, NBC, 9-1-77). In 1982, DGI defector Gerardo Peraza re-affirmed Acosta’s DGI affiliation (US Senate, 2-26-82)

On September 21, 1976, Letelier died when a bomb placed in his car detonated as he entered Washington D.C.’s Sheridan Circle. Investigators subsequently salvaged Letelier’s attaché case from the debris. (Anderson & Whitten, Washington Post, 12-20-76, p. C7; Irvine, AIM Report, Oct 80, p. 1) Secret documents found in the case provided additional details of Letelier’s direct contact with CMUN 1st Secretaries Torres Rizo and Acosta. In this correspondence, Letelier warned his Cuban connections to keep their relations secret, lest it undermine his influence in the US. (Irvine, New York Times, 10-11-80, p. 22; Library of Congress’ 1971 Cuban Dip list, p. 61). In a letter from Beatrice Allende dated May 8, 1975, she told Letelier he would receive a onetime payment of $5000, followed by monthly payments of $1000. She told him the money came from the Chilean Socialist Party in exile. At the time, the exiled party maintained offices in Rome, East Berlin and Havana. US Intelligence sources told investigators Letelier could not have been provided the money without Havana’s approval. After her letter was made public, Beatrice Allende refused to comment to US media inquiries. (Anderson & Whitten, Washington Post, 12-20-76, p. C7) After her father’s death, Beatriz Allende had fled Chile and moved to Cuba with her husband. Four years later, apparently suffering from severe depression, she committed suicide. (Andrew, Our Way, p. 516)

On the day of his death, Letelier also carried correspondence from Cuban agent [now Chilean Ambassador to the US] Juan Gabriel Valdes. The September 1976 letter from Valdes to America Department (DA) Officer Emilio Brito thanked him for documents he (Valdes) received from Torres Rizo. Valdes said the documents had been exceptionally useful and he hoped to send Brito some items he had collected. Valdes also told Brito he hoped to travel to Cuba in early 1977. Brito’s assignment at the time was DA subversive operations in the US, including Puerto Rico. (Anderson & Whitten, Washington Post, 12-20-76, p. C7; Irvine, AIM Report, Oct 80, p. 1)

Letelier probably carried these documents to prevent the CIA from stealing them. (Anderson & Whitten, Washington Post, 12-20-76, p. C7) His concern was well founded. From 1971-early 1972, six separate burglaries occurred at Chile’s lesser diplomatic facilities in the US. Then, in mid-May 1972, the Chilean Embassy itself was burglarized. The intruders made no effort to conceal their misdeed: Letelier’s office was extensively ransacked, as were those of other senior officials. A subsequent Senate investigation confirmed the US government’s role and revealed the FBI had placed wiretaps on the Chilean Embassy from 1971-1973 at the CIA’s request. (Davis, pp. 93-95) It is unclear who ordered the 1975 wiretaps.

Sources Used

Anderson, Jack & Les Whitten.  “The Unseen Side of Fidel Castro,” Washington Post, June 9, 1977, p. VA 25.

_________.  “Letelier’s “Havana Connection,” Washington Post, December 20, 1976, p. C7.

Andrew, Christopher M. & Vasili Mitrokhin. The World Was Going Our Way: The KGB and the Battle for the Third World. New York, NY: Basic Books, 2005

Davis, Nathaniel. The Last Two Years of Salvador Allende, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1985.

Irvine, Reed (Editor).  “The Cuban Connection of Orlando Letelier,” New York Times, October 11, 1980, p. 22.

_________.  “AIM Report: F.B.I. Files Expose Letelier,” Accuracy in Media (AIM) Report, October 1980, p. 1.

United States Senate – Subcommittee on Security and Terrorism — Committee on the Judiciary, “The Role of Cuba in International Terrorism and Subversion:  Intelligence Activities of the DGI,” February 26, 1982.

Valeriani, Richard.  “U.S./Cuban Relations: Embassies Reopen,” National Broadcasting Company (NBC) Evening News. September 1, 1977, Vanderbilt University television News Archive, http://openweb.tvnews. vanderbilt.edu/1977-9/1977-09-01-CBS-5.html

Organizations

America Department (DA): The name used by the intelligence wing of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party from 1974 to the late 1980s or early 1990s. The DA was heavily involved in supporting revolutionaries and terrorists, but has since become more focused on political intelligence operations. This service is now called the America Area of the International Department of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC/ID/AA).

Directorate of Intelligence (DI):  The foreign intelligence wing of the Ministry of the Interior.  Prior to 1989, this service was known as the Directorate General of Intelligence (DGI).

 

 

 

 

 

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Alleged Cuba-Venezuela Spy Network Targets Maduro’s Opposition in Chile 3

 María Laura Liscano speaks out against the Castro regime’s harassment of the Venezuelan opposition in Chile. (Terra)


María Laura Liscano speaks out against the Castro regime’s harassment of the Venezuelan opposition in Chile. (Terra)

Activist María Liscano Condemns Espionage under Diplomatic Cover

Belén Marty, PanAm Post

On Tuesday, Venezuelan activist María Laura Liscano denounced Cuban espionage against opponents of the Nicolás Maduro regime who reside in Chile, following Monday’s report by Chilean television station Mega.

Liscano calls herself a spokesperson for Venezuelans in Chile, where she has lived the past four years since leaving her job as an intelligence analyst for the Venezuelan government.

The Mega report focuses on a Cuban national who claims to be an agent for a Cuban diplomat in Santiago, Chile. The individual claims the diplomat ordered him to infiltrate the leadership of Venezuelan opposition groups operating in Chile, and report on their activity.

“The espionage is coordinated by the Cuban embassy, and is directed at certain sectors in Chile that oppose Maduro. This is not the first time this has happened. In 2010, a Cuban leader in Chile denounced a similar practice being carried out against the Cuban community,” Liscano said.

The Venezuelan activist told the PanAm Post that she was surprised by the revelation that Cuban agents were focused on her: “It’s one thing to recognize that you are exposing yourself, but the reality [that they are spying on me] is another thing entirely.”

“We always knew that we were vulnerable to espionage; there have been many times when we were protesting, and people who are opposed to us would come and take pictures,” she said.

Liscano said she represents a nonpartisan Venezuelan community that share the same concerns expressed by student protesters who took to the streets in Venezuela in February.

Feature continues here (with video and audio clips): PanAm Post

 

 

 

 

Former DGI Officer Identifies 17 Castro Spies 6

DGI officer and Ambassador, René Ceballo Prats

DGI officer and Ambassador, René Ceballo Prats

Cubans Involved In Peru-Based Espionage Operations During The 1970s & 1980s

By Chris Simmons

General Juan Velasco Alvarado came to power as part of a junta that overthrew the Peruvian government in October 1968. In July 1973, Velasco’s leftist government established diplomatic relations with Cuba. A declassified Cuban government cable later identified the General as one of its intelligence agents. Velasco remained in power until late August 1975 when he was deposed by General Francisco Morales Bermudez, his prime minister.

Former Dirección General De Inteligencia (DGI) officer Enrique García Diaz served on the “Peru Desk” at DGI headquarters during this period. During an interview, he explained that three other officers also worked the “desk:” Eulalia Sardain (codenamed “Mayra”), René Ceballo Prats (“Ibrahim”) and Ismael Cruz Arce (“Jose Luis”). Two additional DGI officers who worked with García Diaz on Peru issues were Juan Pedro Gonzalez (“Giraldo”) and Jose Francisco Molina Mauri (“Ivan”).

According to media reports, René Ceballo Prats later led Cuba’s Embassy in Nicaragua as chargé d’affaires starting in 2009. He now serves as Cuban Ambassador to Lebanon.

The CIA’s 1983 global directory of Cuban officials provides the names and positions of 21 Cubans posted to Havana’s Embassy in Peru.  In a review of these personnel, García Diaz identified the following nine diplomats as Cuban intelligence officers or collaborators.

Counselor Jorge Pollo Garcia (“Osvaldo”). DGI Centro chief. According to Garcia Diaz, Pollo’s espionage career began in 1961 with the Illegal Department. Pollo reportedly served briefly in Japan in 1970 before his reassignment to Chile as the Deputy Centro Chief. Following his subsequent tour in Peru, Pollo became chief of the Southern Cone “desk,” overseeing this region’s spy operations. Several years later, he led the upgrade of Cuban intelligence operations in India from a one-man “pointe” to a full-blown Centro. He may have later served in Bolivia before becoming chief of staff for Jorge Valdés-Saldaña Risquet, a member of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party. Media reports later cited Pollo as a Cuban diplomat in Guatemala in the early 2000s.

Consul General Ricardo Cruz Fernandez. DGI.

1st Secretary Maria Consuelo Ramiriz de Martinez. DGI.

Attaché Angel Moriaga Diaz. DGI Code Clerk.

Commercial Attaché Fidel Diez Tornes. García Diaz characterized this former colleague as the best DGI Case Officer (i.e., spy handler) in Peru.

Prensa Latina (PRELA) Correspondent Ruban Alayon Sanchez (“Lorenzo”). DGI.

Prensa Latina (PRELA) Correspondent Gustavo Carballosa (“Gaston”). DGI. According to García Diaz, Carballosa wrote the daily intelligence report for the Peruvian President.

Prensa Latina (PRELA) Correspondent Manuel Robles Sosa. America Department (DA). Europa Publications’ South America, Central America, and the Caribbean 2003 listed him as the PRELA representative in La Paz, Bolivia. Subsequent PRELA coverage seems to show him active at least through late September 2012.

Prensa Latina (PRELA) Correspondent Gerardo Torres. DGI Collaborator.

García Diaz recalled three additional intelligence officers not on the CIA list. They were:

  • Manuel Martinez Galan (“Manolo”), the husband of Maria Consuelo Ramiriz. García Diaz cited Martinez as the first DGI Centro Chief in Lima.
  • Eduardo Torres Ravelo. DGI. Open source publications referenced Torres Ravelo as a Cuban diplomat in Chile during the Allende years.
  • Prensa Latina (PRELA) Correspondent Sergio Medina (“Sergito”). DGI. García Diaz noted that Medina also served in Colombia at one point. The CIA’s 1983 roster listed Medina as one of several PRELA correspondents in Venezuela.

Enrique García Diaz defected in March 1989 while based in Ecuador. According to a March 2, 1994 feature by the Canadian Press (news agency), García Diaz had served with the DGI since 1978, handling Cuban agents in Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia. (Note: The Canadian Press article is available via Lexis/Nexis).

An intelligence-affiliated “diplomat” – understandably not identified by García Diaz because he served outside the Ministry of the Interior (MININT) – would be the Cuban Military Attaché, Colonel Manuel Bravo Yanez. While not every military attaché is a Case Officer (i.e., spy-handler), they are – at a minimum – overt intelligence collectors reporting to the Ministry of the Armed Forces (MINFAR).

Author’s Note: Given my knowledge of Mr. García Diaz, I have no reason to doubt the reliability of his information on this topic. In addition:

  • The status of DGI code clerk Angel Moriaga Diaz was confirmed by another highly reliable former DGI officer.
  • Declassified US government reports substantiated the DGI service of Luis Ismael Cruz Arce. This officer first served at the Cuban Consulate in Mexico City around August 1966 before being transferred to the one-diplomat Consulate in Tampico by 1970.
  • A declassified CIA report from Oct 17, 1969 identified Manuel Martinez Galan as a DGI officer. Author Jonathan Haslam also characterized Martinez as DGI, attributing his information to a London-based Cuban defector. In contrast, in 1972, internationally known newspaper columnist Jack Anderson identified Martinez, then a 1st Secretary in Santiago, as head of the DA’s Chile-based operations. A decade later, the CIA listed Martinez as a 1st Secretary at the Cuban Embassy in Moscow.

 

Today in History: Cuban Intelligence Supported Assassination Attempt by Chilean Terrorists Reply

March 21, 1990: Members of the leftist guerrilla group, the Manuel Rodríguez Patriotic Front (FPMR), acting with the help of Cuban intelligence, attempted to assassinate former junta leader, General Gustavo Leigh Guzman. The FPMR terrorists broke into Leigh’s office and opened fire, hitting him five times. Other than the loss of an eye, Leigh made a complete recovery.

As head of the Chilean Air Force, General Leigh had ordered the bombing of the presidential palace in the September 1973 coup that overthrew socialist President Salvador Allende. He subsequently served as a key figure in the military junta led by Gen. Augusto Pinochet before later breaking with the government.

This Month in History: Trouble at the Cuban Embassy in Chile Reply

Mid-March 1964: Directorate General of Intelligence (DGI) officer Ramon Sinobas Casado arrived in Santiago and assumed his duties as the Charge d’ Affaires. He replaced Pedro Martinez Pirez, suggesting Martinez may have been a DGI officer as well. The new officer arrived at a difficult time for the Embassy, which had lost six officers in the previous 16 months to internal turmoil and an expulsion.

In mid-August, shortly before the 1964 presidential elections, the Jorge Alessandri administration severed relations with Cuba. The Cuban Embassy closed and its entire diplomatic staff departed almost immediately. In the 1964 elections, Alessandri‘s Christian Democratic Party and its candidate, Eduardo Frei, soundly defeated Castro supporter, Salvador Allende.

This Month in History: Cuban Intelligence Permeated Chilean Government Reply

October 1973:  According to the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), by 1973 the Cuban presence had ballooned to over 1000 personnel, with roughly 250 at the Embassy and the rest spread throughout the Chilean government bureaucracy as advisors. The Cubans were active and aware of the threat to the Salvador Allende government. However, Havana’s warnings and offers of military aid were rejected. DIA further reported that by that October, an average of 60-70 Cuban officials were constantly travelling between Havana and Santiago. The Pentagon spy agency also noted that the Cuban officials were exempt from Chilean immigration and customs inspections.

Today in History: Defector Exposed Cuba’s Support to Terrorists 4

October 10, 1988:  Cuban diplomat Hector Aguililla Saladrigas defected to the US.  During his 14-years in the diplomatic corps, he served in Iran and Syria. He told US authorities that Palestinian radicals secretly provided Havana with large amounts of Western-made weaponry. Havana favored US, Israeli, and Italian weaponry since it helped mask Cuban involvement. These arms were then shipped to Cuban-supported guerrillas in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Chile. When he served as the deputy at the Cuban Embassy in Damascus, he routinely went to Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley to purchase weaponry. On larger acquisitions, a senior Cuban intelligence officer would fly to Damascus to assist him.

Today in History: Cuba Prepared to Run Chile as a “Puppet” State Reply

September 25, 1970:  Luis Fernandez de Ona, the outgoing Desk Officer for Chile within the National Liberation Directorate (DLN), arrived in Santiago for his follow-on assignment as a Counselor Officer at the Cuban Embassy. Fernandez and Beatriz “Tati” Allende, lovers since 1968, had recently married. Her father, Salvador Allende, was elected President in November 1970.  “Tati” Allende soon became her father’s closest political advisor.

Despite Castro’s recommendation for a publicly slow warming of relations, Allende’s administration established relations with Cuba on November 12th. Two days later, Mario Garcia Inchaustegui presented his credentials as the new Cuban Ambassador.  Almost ten years earlier, in January 1961, Uruguay had expelled Inchaustegui (posted as the Cuban Ambassador) for subversive activities.

Editor’s Note:  The DLN was a 400-man element, previously assigned to the DGI, which oversaw support to foreign revolutionary movements.  It later became the infamous America Department (DA). 

Breaking News: “Retired” Spy to Lecture at New York University 3

The City University of New York (CUNY) has invited José Raul Viera Linares to speak on Thursday, September 27th its Graduate Center. The espionage history of this retired Directorate of Intelligence (DI)  officer follows:

According to declassified CIA reports, in June 1961, the Bolivian government asked Havana to recall Chargé d’affaires Mauro Garcia Triana for interfering in Bolivia’s domestic affairs. On June 24, José Viera Linares arrived in La Paz from Santiago as the interim Chargé. He served in this position until General Directorate of Intelligence (DGI) officer Ramon Aja Castro arrived in mid-March 1962. Considerable animosity developed between the two and Viera Linares was demoted to the less prestigious position of Cultural Affairs attaché. In mid-October 1963, Bolivia expelled Viera Linares for his role in an espionage operation against its Foreign Office.

In 1964, Viera Linares was assigned to run the spy service’s “Colombia Desk.” By 1968, he served as a First Secretary at the Cuban Mission to the United Nations. Little is known about his activities from the end of his CMUN tour until August 1981 when he served as the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs.

By 1986, Viera Linares was a First Vice Minister at the Ministry of Foreign Affiars (MINREX).  He became the Deputy Foreign Minister in 1990. He held this position through at least 2006.

Contrast this information with the “official” storyline provided in the CUNY ad:

Cuba   Today:

Change   to Remain Unchanged?

José Viera Linares
Former Cuban Diplomat and Policy AdviserDate: Thursday, September 27, 12:30 PM
Location: The Graduate Center, Skylight Room
365 Fifth Avenue (@34th Street)

“Change to Remain Unchanged?”, a lunchtime conversation with José Raúl Viera Linares on the evolving process of reform in Cuba. Viera served as First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1981 to 1990, often participating in cabinet meetings, and represented Cuba at high level international conferences. He received a Law degree from Havana University, a Certificate of English studies at Lousiana State University, and a Certificate of Studies of Property Rights in Cuba from the Union of Cuban Lawyers.

After the revolution Viera served as a voluntary teacher with the Institute of Agrarian Reform and as manager of a sugar mill. His diplomatic career included postings in Spain, Honduras, Chile, Bolivia, Counselor at the Cuban Mission to the UN (1966-1970), and Deputy Minister in charge of International Organizations. He served as legal adviser to three state companies, concluding his professional work with Inmobilaria del Tourismo (Tourism Real Estate) from 1998 to 2010. Viera and his wife Maria Cecilia Bermudez have translated into Spanish for publication in Cuba two books by Dr. Louis A. Perez, Jr. of the University of North Carolina, _On Becoming Cuban. Identity, Nationality & Culture and Cuba in the American Imagination_. In his talk he will share his entirely personal perspective on Cuba today, the history of his generation, and the impact of US policy today.

PLEASE RESERVE by sending an email to bildner@gc.cuny.edu.

—-

Editor’s Note: The General Directorate of Intelligence (DGI) was the name previously used by the foreign intelligence wing of the Ministry of the Interior. Following a 1989 “scandal” and reorganization, this service was reorganized and given a new name – the Directorate of Intelligence (DI).

This Day in History: Cuban Intelligence Warned of Coup Against Chilean President 3

September 11, 1973:  At 4am, an intelligence source warned Cuban Intelligence Officer Fernandez de Ona that the Chilean military had scheduled a coup for 7:45am.  By 10:15am, pro-Castro supporters had blocked military forces from entering the street leading to the Cuban Embassy.  Later that day, junta forces overcame the blockade and made their way to the Cuban Embassy.  At about midnight, a brief gunfight erupted between soldiers and Cuban Embassy personnel during which Havana’s Ambassador was wounded in the hand.

The loss of Chilean President Salvador Allende was a serious reversal for Castro.  Over 20,000 Latin Americans had flocked to Chile after Allende’s rise to power.  A wide range of leftist groups “plotted and planned under the benign, if not cooperative, eye of the Chilean secret police that had been effectively taken over by Cuban intelligence.”  

Within two days of the coup, General Pinochet headed the four-man junta and was President of Chile.  During this same period, Admiral Ismael Huerte, the new Foreign Minister, told Cuban Ambassador Mario Garcia Inchaustegui that one of the junta’s first acts was to end all ties with Cuba. The Ambassador, along with his 160-member mission, left Chile on 13 September.