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

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Obama Frees Cuba-Backed Puerto Rican Terrorist 3

A painting of Oscar Lopez Rivera in Humboldt Park in Chicago in 2011. (Credit: Sally Ryan for The New York Times)

A painting of Oscar Lopez Rivera in Humboldt Park in Chicago in 2011.
(Credit: Sally Ryan for The New York Times)

Obama Commutes Sentence of F.A.L.N. Member Oscar Lopez Rivera

By CHRISTOPHER MELEJAN, New York Times

President Obama on Tuesday commuted the sentence of a man convicted for his role in a Puerto Rican nationalist group linked to more than 100 bombings in New York and other cities in the 1970s and 1980s.

The man, Oscar Lopez Rivera, was serving a 70-year sentence after being convicted of numerous charges, including seditious conspiracy, a charge used for those plotting to overthrow the United States government.

He was linked to the radical group known as the F.A.L.N., the Spanish acronym for the Armed Forces of National Liberation, and was one of more than a dozen group members convicted in the 1980s.

Under Mr. Obama’s commutation order, Mr. Lopez Rivera’s prison sentence will expire May 17. It was one of 209 grants of commutation by the president announced Tuesday.

The F.A.L.N., which waged a violent campaign for the independence of Puerto Rico, was considered by the authorities to be among the most elusive and resilient terrorist groups to operate in the United States. Among its notable attacks was a bombing at Fraunces Tavern in New York in 1975 that killed four people.

The group was known for its tight-knit membership, fanatical zeal and hit-and-run tactics, as exemplified by the bombings of four government buildings in Manhattan and Brooklyn on New Year’s Eve in 1982 that seriously wounded three police officers.

Mr. Lopez Rivera was not specifically charged in the Fraunces Tavern bombing but more broadly with, among other things, the interstate transportation of firearms with the intent to commit violent crimes, and transportation of explosives with intent to kill and injure people and to destroy government buildings and property.

President Bill Clinton offered Mr. Lopez Rivera and other members of the F.A.L.N. clemency in 1999, a decision that stirred an emotional debate. Mr. Clinton said their sentences were out of proportion with their offenses.

While 12 prisoners accepted the offer and were freed, Mr. Lopez Rivera rejected the chance to reduce his sentence because it did not include all of the group’s members, his lawyer, Jan Susler, said at the time. If he had accepted the agreement, she said, he would have been eligible for release in 2009.

Article continues here:  FALN  

Cuban 5 Proclaim Solidarity with Incarcerated US Terrorist 1

From Cuba’s Radio Cadena Agramonte:

Cuban Five Send Letter to Puerto Rican Jailed for 31 Years in U.S.

Havana, Cuba, June 1.- The five Cuban anti-terrorist fighters held in the U.S. since 1998, sent a message of solidarity on behalf of the Cuban people to Puerto Rican independence fighter Oscar Lopez Rivera, who has been incarcerated in a US jail for 31 years now.

“With the same unyielding and moral spirit that we share in common, we send you our strongest hug of solidarity as we reiterate our admiration and affection,” the message reads.

Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino, Fernando Gonzalez, Antonio Guerrero and Rene Gonzalez, known as the Cuban Five, said in their letter that today, marking the 31st prison year of Rivera’s imprisonment, is the best occasion to recall how big the brutality of the US irrational penal system is.

“Oscar needs all the solidarity we can give him, and he is an example to follow by current and future generations of Puerto Ricans,” the message reads as cited by Cubadebate website.

“Men like Oscar are indispensable if we are to build a society for human beings, which has encouraged the noblest actions ever, since history began to be written,” the letter reads.

The five Cubans were framed and arrested by FBI agents in 1998 and later submitted to a biased Miami trial that gave them extremely long and unfair sentences after they monitored Florida-based ultra-right organizations that have planned and undertaken terrorist actions against the Cuban people over the past fifty years.

On Thursday, Cubans, Puerto Ricans and activists from around the world gathered in Havana to urge US President Barack Obama to release Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar Lopez Rivera and the Cuban Five.

In a ceremony organized by the Cuban Friendship Institute and the Puerto Rican mission here, participants demanded the release of all Puerto Rican independence fighters who are imprisoned in US jails.

The coordinator of the International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban Five, Graciela Ramirez, said that every time “we demand the release of the five Cubans, we are asking for the freedom of our Puerto Rican brothers, who were imprisoned for fighting colonialism.” (ACN)

Cuba Confidential notes:  Oscar Lopez Rivera was one of the founding leaders of the Puerto Rican terrorist group, the Armed Forces of National Liberation (FALN).  Havana’s considerable support and encouragement enabled FALN to conduct far-reaching, meticulously planned, capably directed, and well-funded efforts in several US cities.  Havana ensured FALN was well armed and trained.  So extensive was Cuba’s role that without Havana’s covert support, FALN would have failed to achieve many of its operational accomplishments.  In testimony before a US Senate subcommittee, Dr. Daniel James claimed that Cuban Intelligence, working through another FALN leader — Filiberto Ojeda Rios — created the terrorist group in 1974.