[Reference: binder part 7 ]
U.S. Department of Justice
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Washington D.C. 20535
May 16, 1990
CUBAN ANTI-CASTRO TERRORISM
of recipients, the Terrorist Research and Analytical Center (TRAC) is
a continuing series of short, informative articles on a variety of
relating to FBI terrorism investigations. The following addresses
series of bombings in Florida and the issue of anti-Castro terrorism.
May, 1987, the Miami, Florida metropolitan area has been the site of at
25 bombings or attempted bombings. Fifteen attacks have been
against similar targets, i.e., persons or businesses with alleged
or ties to the Government of Cuba. The 15 bombings have involved
use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), mostly pipe bombs.
bombing components have been positively linked through forensic
Only one of the 15 bombings has been claimed - by the Organization
of Cuban Intransigence (or Intransigent Cubans) (AIC) - and is listed
a terrorist incident by the FBI. Of the remaining 14 bombings, 12
been designated as suspected terrorist incidents.
the lack of explanatory communiques for the attacks, it is apparent
the chosen targets that anti-Cuban Communism is the principal issue
the bombings. These attacks are not the first of their kind
to further the goals of anti-Castro Cubans; rather, they are a
of a long-standing fight against the Communist Government of
Ever since the late 1950s, when the first exiles escaping the
on Cuba arrived in the United States, there has been almost constant
Castro Cuban activities in Florida and elsewhere. Various groups
organized among the exiles. Although some of these groups have
no more than social organizations, others were comprised of militants
sought to overthrow the Castro regime through violence. This
in bombings, assassinations and other acts of violence against
Communist targets. Through the years, different groups emerged to
claim credit or be held responsible for the acts of terrorism.
by militant anti-Castro Cubans initially involved armed incursions by
or sea onto the Cuban mainland, but by the middle of the 1960's,
or businesses in the United States began to be increasingly
One of the early leading anti-Castro Cubans was Orlando Bosch Avila, a
national, who arrived as an exile from Cuba in 1960. He was the
of the anti-Castro group, Revolutionary Recovery Insurrection Movement
In June, 1965, he and four others were arrested near Orlando, Florida,
18 aerial bombs, small arms and ammunition. These munitions were
to be used by Bosch and his associates to bomb targets in Cuba.
claimed at the time of his arrest that his group had already conducted
aerial attacks against Cuba; however, this information could not be
All of the defendants were later acquitted of charges that they had
to violate the Munitions Control Act.
1968, Bosch had organized a militant activist group called Cuban Power,
he still maintained the leadership of MIRR. In January, Cuban
claimed credit for the bombing of a B-25 cargo plane at the Miami
Airport. This was followed by other attacks claimed by Cuban
Some of these attacks, however, were not committed by Bosch's
There were two factions of Cuban Power, neither aligned to the
Bosch controlled one faction, while the other was led by another Cuban
group did not commit another act until May, 1968, when it claimed to
bombed a British freighter in Key West, Florida, and a Japanese
in Tampa, Florida. Bosch's faction, furthermore, sent cablegram
messages to the following heads of state: Harold Wilson (Great
Gustavo Ordaz (Mexico); and Francisco Franco (Spain). These
were warned that attacks would be conducted against their countries'
and planes unless trade with Cuba was stopped. The cablegrams
signed: "Ernesto, General Delegate of Cuban Power."
were also issued by "Ernesto" claiming credit for the bombings in
and May, 1968. It was later determined that Orlando Bosch was
January, 1961 and May, 1968, more than 30 violent acts were either
by or attributed to Bosch. These included bombings, armed
and aerial attacks against targets in Cuba, Panama and the United
In the summer of 1968, Bosch claimed to have placed 36 pounds of
against the hull of a British freighter, the "Lancastrian
The explosives were recovered. They had been attacked to the
hull by chains. The explosives were part of a 300-pound supply
had been provided to Bosch in an FBI operation. Bosch also
that he had placed explosives on six other freighters belonging to
Britain and Japan; however, this could not be verified.
16, 1968, an attack was conducted against a Polish vessel, "Polanica,"
Miami Bay, with a 57 millimeter recoilless rifle. Less than a
later, Bosch and eight others were arrested and charged with this
They were also charged in connection with the mailing of extortion
to the three heads of state and with conspiracy to damage ships of
was convicted of the charges against him on November 15, 1968, and
to 10 years' imprisonment. On December 15, 1972, he was released
parole from the United State Penitentiary at Marion, Illinois. In
1974, he left the United States for South America in violation of his
arrest and departure from the United States did not end the anti-Castro
In late 1974, another militant, anti-Castro group, Omega 7, was founded
Eduardo Arocena. His reason for organizing this group was his
that the anti-Castro movement was not active enough in seeking the
overthrow of the Castro Government. The membership of Omega 7 was
from the (Jose) Marti Insurrectional Movement, an anti-Castro group.
an eight-year period beginning in 1975, Omega 7 members were reportedly
for between 30 and 50 bombings and two assassinations. The exact
of these attacks cannot be determined because other anti-Castro groups,
as the Cuban Nationalist Movement (CNM), issued false claims of credit
behalf of Omega 7 which confused law enforcement. Omega 7-claimed
occurred in the New York City metropolitan area, the Miami metropolitan
and Washington D.C. Among these acts were attacks against
sympathetic to or businesses dealing with Communist Cuba, Cuban
interests, and interests of other countries dealings with Cuba.
7 was neutralized when Arocena was arrested during July, 1983, in
He had in his possession automatic weapons and bombing
He was convicted on a 25-count indictment which included charges of
degree murder, Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act
violations and bombing and explosives violations. More than a
Omega 7 members or their associates were also charged and convicted,
on criminal contempt violations for failure to testify before a Federal
jury. Two Omega 7 members cooperated with Federal
A third, Jose Ignacio Gonzalez, fled the country before he could
He remains a fugitive and is believed to be in Guatemala.
was sentenced to a term of life in prison plus 35 years. Prison
for other convicted Omega 7 members ranged from four to nine
In 1984, Arocena was also convicted in two trials on charges involving
violations, bombings and conspiracy. He was sentenced to an
20 years' imprisonment to run concurrent with his earlier
Furthermore, in 1986, three Omega 7 members, Pedro Remon, Andres Garcia
Eduardo Fernandez, each of whom had been sentenced previously to 5
imprisonment on contempt charges, pleaded guilty to charges of
to murder a foreign official and conspiracy to bomb or destroy property
a foreign government. Each received a 10-year prison sentence.
Omega 7 members who were imprisoned, only four - Arocena, Garcia,
and Ramon - remain in jail. All of the others have been
Omega 7 has never been able to recover from these arrests. Even
those who were imprisoned were released, the group was not
to the extent that it had been. Perhaps the fact that the leader,
remains in custody has had some bearing on this.
act that was claimed by Omega 7 was in May, 1983, several weeks before
was arrested. No additional anti-Castro styled bombings are known
have been committed until May, 1987, when the current series of attacks
The Cuban anti-Communist movement, to be sure, had not lain dormant
this four-year period. The Omega 7 arrests eliminated neither the
feelings nor the radicals who saw violence as their only
The arrests, however, did temper, albeit for a short period, the
activities of the radicals.
reasons for an attack were given in only one instance, it is not known
bombings began anew in May, 1987, or what event, if any, triggered
Since the initial targets were freight forwarding companies, thorough
goods are transported to Cuba via third countries, one possible motive
be to force these companies to stop. It is also not presently
whether all of the attacks are interrelated and are the result of
of one group, or if they are alike solely because of the general nature
the target - anti-Castroism - and are being committed by more than one
Before this can be determined, there are many differences and
which need to be considered regarding targets, victims and modus
13 attacks which appear to be anti-Castro in nature and which have been
as either terrorist incidents or suspected terrorist incidents, nine
the use of pipe bombs, of which one failed to detonate. They are
May 1, 1987, a pipe bombing at Cubanacan in Miami;
May 2, 1987, a pipe bombing at Almacen El Espanol in Hialeah, Florida;
May 25, 1987, a pipe bombing at Cuba Envios in Miami
July 30, 1987, a pipe bombing at Machi Community Services in Miami;
August 27, 1987, a pipe bombing at Va Cuba in Hialeah;
January 2, 1988, a pipe bombing at Miami-Cuban in Miami;
May 3, 1988, a pipe bombing at the Cuban Museum of Arts and Culture in
May 26, 1988, a bombing at the residence of the executive director for
the Institute of Cuban Studies in
Gables, Florida, claimed by the AIC;
September 5, 1988, a pipe bombing at Bela Cuba in Miami;
September 18, 1988, a bombing intended for a leader of the Reunion
a group which advocates that all persons
should be able to enter or leave Cuba as
please, in Miami;
February 24, 1989, an attempted pipe bombing at Almacen El Espanol in
March 26, 1989, a bombing at Marazul Charters in Miami; and
September 10, 1989, a bombing at Super Optical in Hialeah.
12 successful bombings, 11 occurred either during the late evening or
morning hours, between 10:20 p.m. and 3:45 a.m.; the most recent
occurred at 5:50 a.m. Although some of the bombings have
targeted residences, there have been no deaths or injuries as a result.
the pipe bombings were claimed, and no prior warning calls were
Only one of the other bombings was claimed, and in another, targeting a
of the Reunion Flotilla, there was a warning call but no claim of
These two attacks were unlike any of the other bombings in that private
were targeted. In the other attacks, businesses and in one case a
six bombings have been positively linked through forensic
Toolmarks on the six devices are identical, indicating that the same
was used to construct them. Tests have not been completed on the
pipe bombings. It has not been determined if they are identical
the first six. The first six pipe bombings are also similar in
the targets were Cuban freight forwarding companies. The other
bombings are similar to the first six attacks in that Cuban businesses
attacked. In all of the pipe bombings, the targets involved
forensic analysis has not been completed on the remaining four
Therefore, it has not been determined whether they are similar in
to one another or to the first six pipe bombings. Two of these
were against targets similar to those of the pipe bombings, (Cuban
But two were completely different in that residences were targeted and
of these was claimed.
25, 1988, a bomb detonated at the home of the executive director of the
of Cuban Studies in Hialeah, Florida. A telephone caller to a
language radio station claimed credit for the bombing on behalf of the
This bombing was the eight in the series that began in May, 1987.
other attack against a residence occurred on September 18, 1988.
intended target was the residence of a leader of the Reunion
On September 17, a telephone call to the residence advised that a
would occur and that a certain individual would be responsible.
September 18, a bomb exploded. However, it was at a residence
an address similar to but different from the one at which the warning
was received. A telephone caller later claimed that the wrong
had been bombed. The person whose name was given as being
was found not to have been involved.
suspects have been identified in the current wave of bombings.
because of the differences in the targets and in the types of bombing
used, it is not known if the same individuals or group is responsible
all of the attacks.
there are some indications, that the bombings may have connections to
anti-Castro militants. The one recent bombing that was claimed by
for example, was reportedly committed on behalf of Orlando Bosch.
following his flight to South America in 1974, became involved in
anti-Castro group. In 1976, he was arrested by Venezuelan
for his involvement in the bombing of a Cuban airliner in which 73
died. Bosch spent 11 years in prison during which he was twice
and acquitted for this crime. He was released in August
Three months later, he applied for permission to enter the United
but was denied a non-immigrant visa. Nevertheless, on February
1988, he arrived in Miami, Florida, without entry documents and was
by the U.S. Marshals on a warrant based on his 1974 parole
He served three months in prison.
his release on May 16, 1988 Bosch was rearrested by the Immigration and
Service (INS) and given notice that the U.S. Government considered him
His parole into the United States was also denied by the U.S. District
Southern District of Florida. Because he posed a flight risk, he
ordered detained until a decision could be reached on his
On May 25, 1988, the AIC-claimed bombing occurred. The caller who
credit stated that if Bosch was not released within a specified time,
would be taken against the INS district director in Miami. On
2, 1988, the day after Bosch legal efforts to effect his release from
were denied, the AIC threatened to bomb the Miami INS office if Bosch
same date, a letter was received by a Spanish language newspaper
Los Angeles. The letter states that the group had bombs and
and that the group had already committed eight bombings in Miami.
connection however, could be found between this letter and the Miami
Bosch issue was given as the motive for only one of the attacks, but it
be a factor of greater significance. U.S. Government efforts to
Bosch have been decried by a number of his supporters, including
such as Ramon Sanchez, an Omega 7 member, who had been convicted and
in 1984. Threats of violence have been made against FBI and INS
should the Government's efforts to deport Bosch be successful.
open support for Bosch, as well as his past propensity for violence,
caused law enforcement to look into any involvement that h or any other
7 members may have with these bombings.
deportation issue cannot account for all of the bombings as it (the
did not become a factor until after seven bombings had occurred.
bombings initially may have been influenced by the paroling of Omega 7
such as Ramon Sanchez. The attacks may have been committed to
that the militant anti-Castro movement had not been destroyed despite
Omega 7 arrests and Arocena's continued imprisonment.
of the bombings are the responsibility of one group, the Bosch issue
have been seized upon as a means to expand the group's activist base by
militant Bosch supporters. If more than one group is responsible
the attack, the second group may have been influenced by the seven
bombings within a year. It may also be possible that some of the
are being committed by pro-Castro forces as a means of bringing adverse
to and law enforcement efforts against anti-Castro factions.
What has become
is that the bombings will not likely end until there no longer exists a
for them to continue. Arrests may cause the bombings to cease
but it will not cause them to stop entirely. The history of the
anti- Castro movement has proven this. The issue behind the
is so emotional a topic that it remains largely unchanged even after 30
And there is no reason to suspect that it will cease to be an issue as
as the status quo remains. It therefore behooves law enforcement
continue efforts to apprehend those responsible for the attacks, but at
same time, not lose sight of the fact that eventually bombers will
as long as Castro is in power or Cuba remains communist.
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