CUBAN EXILE TERRORISM
Metro Dade County, Organized Crime Bureau (OCB) File on
[Handwritten note: "Summary of Dawson talks 6/18. 19/79"]
CUBAN EXILE TERRORISM
Since May 25, 1977, in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, there have
bombings and attempted bombings. Actually, since 1970,
been 92 terrorist incidents in the Miami area alone.
65 of these
attacks were bombings or attempted bombings. Others
of Cuban exiles for political reasons. Nineteen of
incidents were armed expeditions attempted or carried out
or its allies.
San Juan, Puerto Rico, has had 43 Cuban exile terrorist
1970. Of these, 41 were bombings and 2 were shooting
New York City has had 25 of these terrorist incidents since
The Newark area has suffered approximately 16 terrorist
incidents since 1970; 13 of these incidents were bombings.
In Washington, D.C., since September 21, 1976, Cuban exile
have blown up the car in which former Chilean Ambassador to
ORLANDO LETELIER, was driving.
This bombing killed LETELIER and his passenger, RONNI
In September, 1977, Cuban Exiles were responsible for the
the Soviet Aeroflot office in Washington, as well as for the
of a small bomb on the Ellipse, near the White House.
as May 19, 1979, a bomb exploded at the office of the Cuban
Section in Washington, D.C.
Cuban exile terrorists have blown up ships in the Miami
have placed bombs on Russian ships in Puerto Rico and in New
they have blown up an aircraft in the air, killing all 73
board; they have placed a bomb on an airliner in Miami, this
set to explode while the plane was in the air, full of
planted a bomb in a car owned by a former Cuban Senator and
editor of a newspaper in Miami, killing him instantly; they
off both legs of the News Director of the largest radio
Florida. In March of this year (1979), they placed a
bomb in a
suitcase which detonated as it was being placed aboard a TWA
from New York to Los Angeles. The passengers were already
jet when the explosion occurred, injuring 4 baggage
In one 24-hour period in December, 1975, a Cuban exile
8 bombs in the Miami, Florida area. Most of these
placed in Government buildings such as Post Offices, Social
Offices, the State Attorney's office in Miami, and even in
There have also been several political shootings attributed
to Cuban exile terrorists.
A very well known person in the Miami area who was slain on
1974, was JOSE DE LA TORRIENTE. Mr. TORRIENTE had retired as
President of Collins Radio and was living in Coral Gables,
Florida. In 1970 he formed "Plan Torriente" which was
which formed an organization to overthrow the government of
He held rallies in various cities throughout the U.S.,
hundreds of thousands of dollars, and traveled extensively
the U.S., Latin America and Europe to raise money for an
Cuba. In 1971 numerous articles appeared in the Miami
exposing TORRIENTE as the president of a housing development
funds collected for personal use. Later the Cuban
in Miami severely criticized TORRIENTE for having failed in
his plan to
On April 12, 1974, while TORRIENTE was watching evening TV
living room of his home, he was shot and killed by someone
through the window of his house.
Another notorious shooting was that of LUCIANO NIEVES on
1975. NIEVES, who had been a captain in FIDEL CASTRO'S
defected and went to live in Miami. While in Miami
announced that a revolutionary congress would be held
between his group
and representatives of the Cuban Government to discuss
co-existence. After that announcement he became a
figure. In February, 1975, while in the parking lot of
in Miami, he was shot and killed. Several members of a
defunct terrorist group named "Pragmatistas" were arrested
convicted of this murder which had been committed because of
advocacy of co-existence with the regime of FIDEL CASTRO.
Several other well-known Cuban exiles have been shot, such
DONESTEVES ( on April 13, 1976 ), in Miami; ALDO VERA
SERAFIN in San
Juan ( on October 25, 1976 ), and JUAN JOSE PERUYERO ( on
1977 ), in Miami. He was a former president of Brigade
Another well-publicized killing in Miami was that of ROLANDO
MASFERRER had been a senator in Cuba, but was best known for
army he commanded in Cuba, known as "Masferrer's
Tigers". He used
this small army prior to CASTRO'S assumption of power in
Cuba to best
down any factions which opposed the Cuban government.
In Miami he
was owner and editor of a Spanish language newspaper named
"Libertad". On October 31, 1975, he was blown up by a
he started his car parked at his home.
Having given a summary of the seriousness of Cuban exile
terrorism, we should take a look at the reasons for such a
When FIDEL CASTRO assumed power in Cuba on January 1, 1959,
most of the
inhabitants of Cuba probably backed him because, after all,
deposed FULGENCIO BATISTA, a tyrannic dictator.
However, after a
few months it slowly became apparent that FIDEL CASTRO was
communist regime in Cuba, and for this reason, hundred of
Cubans began leaving the island. This exodus, which is
to a lesser degree even now, furnishes the terrorist with a
support, as terrorists do not operate in a vacuum; they
political, emotional and physical support.
There are now over 540,000 Cuban exiles in the Miami
exiles make over 53% of the population of the City of Miami,
60% of the City of Hialeah.
There are approximately 30,000 Cubans living in Puerto Rico;
Los Angeles and Chicago each have about 30,000.
In other words, there are some 800,000 Cuban exiles living
in the U.S.,
and there are over 300 political prisoners and their
from Cuba every month.
In addition, Venezuela, Mexico, Argentina and Chile also
have Cuban communities.
While the great majority of these Cuban exiles respect the
law and find
terrorism repugnant, a few, fired with hope of one day
Cuba, a Cuba without CASTRO, have turned militant and
declared war on
the CASTRO regime. This is a terrorist war which, as
seen, has been characterized by bombings of diplomatic
Cuba and her allies in this country and abroad, attacks on
Cuba and her allies, attacks on Cuban aircraft, attacks on
carry the real or imagined label of communists, and attacks
and organizations, including law enforcement who speak out
action against their terrorist tactics.
At this juncture, let us examine the various anti-CASTRO
terrorist groups, and some of the activities attributed to
For the first few years of the CASTRO regime, the United
Government obviously was assisting Cuban exiles in their
topple the communist government of Cuba. The U.S.
supported the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961, and
supported other Cuban exile groups in their missions against
Cuba. Because of this U.S. support there was no
terrorism as such
until the end of the 1960s, when the various Cuban exile
to realize that the U.S. Government was withdrawing support
anti-CASTRO causes. At that time, in December, 1967,
BOSCH AVILA, a pediatrician living in Miami, was organizing
group known as "Accion Cubana" (Cuban Action). This
used the name "Cuban Power". This group began by
placing bombs at
Post Offices in New Jersey and in New York City in December,
1967. Then in January, 1968, in Miami, this
Power", placed a bomb aboard a B-25 cargo plane. This
exploded while the plane was on the ground. The reason
bombing this airplane was that it was to carry cargo to
BOSCH felt was for reshipment to Cuba. During this
January, 1968, there were 3 other bombings at various
establishments in Miami which engaged in shipping medical
Cuba. In February, 1968, a high explosive bomb blew up
Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C.. This "Cuban
which numbered about 15 persons directly involved in these
were responsible for over 50 bombings in the U.S. in
that period this group bombed:
British freighter "Cranwood" off Key West in May, 1968.
Japanese freighter "Asaka Maru" at Tampa, Florida, in May,
Japanese freighter "Mikagesan Maru" on June 1, 1968.
British freighter "Caribbean Venture" in August, 1968.
Spanish ship "Coromoto" in September, 1968.
In August, 1968, information was obtained to the effect that
a bomb had
been placed on a British freighter, the "Lancastrian
This ship had departed New Orleans, Louisiana, on its way to
England. When located it was about 300 mile east of
Florida. The information about the possibility of a
attached to its hull was broadcast to the Captain who
brought the ship
back off the coast from Miami. A bomb attached to the
hull of the
ship was retrieved and disarmed. Fortunately, the bomb
detonated and we were able to obtain fingerprints from
as packing material in this bomb. Dr. BOSCH and his
terrorists then decided to shoot at a Polish ship docked in
September, 1968. They shot at it with a 57mm
but as the projectile was old, it only made a large dent in
In mid-Summer, 1968, some Cuban Action (Cuban Power) members
participated in the bombings of 5 offices in Los Angeles,
California. These were 2 airline ticket offices, 2
Government tourists offices, and the office of an oil
HECTOR CORNILLOT and JUAN GARCIA CARDENAS were subsequently
of 2 of these bombing. After CORNILLOT was released
in California he was charged with the bombing of an Air
office in Miami Beach. He was sentenced to 30 years,
sentence was reduced to 10 years after an appeal. He
is still in
jail, as he escaped for a few months a couple of years ago.
In October, 1968, ORLANDO BOSCH and 8 other members of his
group were arrested by the FBI in Miami, for firing on or
with a vessel of foreign registry (T. 18, Sect. 2275).
for the placing of the bomb on the Lancastrian Prince.
will recall, I mentioned that fingerprints were found on
inside the bomb.
BOSCH and 2 other members of his group (BARBARO BALAN and
MOREJON) were charged with firing the 57mm recoilless rifle
Polish ship Polanica. BOSCH was also charged with
threatening telegrams to the President of Mexico, to General
Spain, and to the Prime Minister of Great Britain (Sir
These nine persons were tried in November, 1968, in the U.S.
Court in Miami, and were found guilty of all counts.
BOSCH, the defendants received sentences ranging from 1 to 6
imprisonment. BOSCH received a 10 year sentence.
BOSCH, who was sentenced on December 13, 1968, was paroled
15, 1972. He served 4 years, which apparently was not
enough, as he began planning terrorist activities
immediately upon his
release. In June, 1974, he publicly admitted having
bombs to Cuban Embassies in Lima, Peru; Madrid, Spain;
and Buenos Aires, Argentina. The bomb sent to Lima
injured a girl
who received the bomb, and the bomb sent to Madrid exploded
Spanish postal employee. A parole violator's warrant
for his arrest in June, 1974, but he fled the U.S. before he
arrested. BOSCH then traveled to various countries in
America, where he lived for a few months at a time.
countries included Chile, Costa Rica and Venezuela. As
recall, a bomb was placed on a Cubana Airlines airplane in
October, 1976. The bomb exploded shortly after takeoff
plane crashed while trying to return to the airport.
passengers and crewmen were killed. BOSCH and others
arrested for this crime, and they are still in prison in
The reason I mention this incident is that after BOSCH was
Venezuelan authorities for this airplane bombing, Cuban
terrorists within a 9-month period placed 5 bombs in
establishments. The targets were 2 VIASA (Venezuelan
ticket offices (in San Jan and Miami), a Venezuelan Air
Force DC-9 at
the Miami International Airport, the Venezuelan Mission to
the U.N. in
New York City, and the Venezuelan Consulate in San Juan.
After BOSCH was jailed in October, 1968, there were very few
or terrorist activities until after his release in December,
1972. 1973 was a slow year because it took him a while
to stir up
members of the Cuban community in Miami who had a propensity
terrorism. In 1974, in Miami alone, there were 14
A new group of terrorists was beginning to emerge.
In March, 1974, LUIS CRESPO and HUMBERTO LOPEZ, JR. were
book bomb when it accidentally detonated. Both were
wounded, one of them losing a hand, the sight of one eye,
serious injuries. This book bomb was to be mailed to a
Embassy in some foreign country.
HUMBERTO LOPEZ, JR. had been released on bond, fled the
and went to the Dominican Republic. On October 4,
1975, he was
deported from the Dominican Republic and was arrested by the
FBI on his
arrival in Miami for bond default. Only 2 days later,
6, 1975, a high explosive bomb detonated at the Dominican
Brickell Avenue in Miami.
For security reasons, LOPEZ was then moved by the U.S.
Marshals to the
Broward County Jail. Four days after the bomb went off
Dominican Consulate, a small bomb exploded in front of the
County Court House.
Then 7 days later a high explosive bomb exploded at the main
to the Miami International Airport. This bomb had been
a locker. This location was close to the ticket
counter of the
Dominican Airline. Then on October 20, 1975, a bomb
was found at
the Dominican Airlines ticket office on Biscayne Boulevard
Miami. This bomb did not go off because of a weak
It had been set to go off at midnight.
So now, within 16 days of the deportation of terrorist
JR. to the U.S., we have 4 bombings to protest his
HUMBERTO LOPEZ, JR. and LUIS CRESPO were part of a new
which bore the name "Frente de Liberacion Nacional de Cuba"
Liberation Front of Cuba) or better known as the FLNC.
terrorist organization has been involved in scores of
bombings over the
past few years.
At this point a series of bombings which occurred in Miami
in 1975 and 1976 should be discussed.
As previously mentioned, on October 17, 1975, a high
detonated in a suitcase locker at the main entrance of the
International Airport. On December 3 & 4 of the
same year, 8
bombs went off. The targets were several government
including the FBI Office, Post Office buildings and the
prosecutor's office, as well as the Miami PD. Among
hundreds of leads covered, descriptive data of people
in Cuban exile terrorism in one way or another was sent to
Headquarters. This is the value of working these
years. Generally it was known who the people
of names were sent to the FBI Latent Fingerprints Section so
fingerprints and palm prints found on items of evidence on
bombings could be compared with fingerprint cards of these
individuals. Three weeks later FBI Headquarters
fingerprints on military communiques claiming credit for
were those of ROLANDO OTERO. His fingerprint was also
inside the locker where the bomb had exploded at the Miami
International Airport 2 months earlier. OTERO was a
Now that we knew who was involved in those bombings, it was
matter of hard detailed work to gather enough additional
prove an air-tight case against him. However, he fled
Dominican Republic before he could be arrested. He
then went to
Venezuela, and then to Chile from where he was deported to
States in June, 1976. OTERO was tried for these 9
bombings in the
U.S. District Court in Jacksonville, Florida, and was found
In January, 1977, he was then tried in a State of Florida
Court in Fort
Walton Beach, at which time he was found guilty of the
and sentenced to 45 years. OTERO in now free, walking
on Miami. The judge who tried OTERO released him on
bond a few
months ago, pending his appeal.
Another small group in Miami which was responsible for a few
is that of ANTONIO DE LA CORVA. In May, 1976, a confidential
advised that he and others were going to place a bomb in an
bookstore in the Little Havana Section of Miami. This
surveilled by the FBI and local law enforcement officials
and DE LA
COVA was apprehended as he was lighting the fuse to set
bomb. Two other persons who were with him were also
arrested. All were convicted. DE LA COVA was
65 years in prison.
After the arrest of ROLANDO OTERO and DE LA COVA and his
was not one bombing in the Miami area for over a year; not
1977. At that time, Mackey Airlines, a small airline
mostly to the Bahamas, made it known that it was interested
charter flights to Cuba. On May 25, 1977, a bomb
headquarters at Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Within a few
this bombing the management issued a press release stating
airline was no longer interested in flying to Cuba -- a
operation by Cuban exile terrorists.
Another terrorists group has been part of Brigade
previously mentioned, Brigade 2506 is comprised of
participants of the
Bay of the Pigs invasion of Cuba in 1961. This
now comprises over 1000 members has its headquarters in
the leader of the anti-CASTRO movement, the Brigade is
always in the
forefront when any activities, most of them legal, are
against the CASTRO regime in Cuba. However, some
Brigade 2506, the more militant members, have become
have been involved in terrorist acts such as raids against
violent acts against Cuban establishments and personnel
bombings in the Miami area. For a period in 1975 and
terrorists within the Brigade formed the "April 17
This name was adopted because the actual invasion of Cuba by
Brigade was on April 17 1961.
Another Cuban exile terrorist group which is becoming better
this time is the Movimiento Nacionalista Cubano (Cuban
Movement). This organization, an extremely violent
organized in late 1969. GUILLERMO NOVO and his
were the founders of this organization. They, along
member ALVIN ROSS DIAZ, were recently convicted for
surrounding the bombing murders of ORLANDO LETELIER and
RONNI MOFFIT in
Washington, D.C.. Two fugitives in this case, JOSE
SUAREZ ESQUIVEL and VIRGILIO PAZ, are also members of the
At the present time this organization is still involved in
terrorist activities and plans for violence.
Up to this point 5 of the Cuban exile terrorist groups have
mentioned. They are ORLANDO BOSCH's Cuban Action
of the Veterans of the Brigade 2506, the National Liberation
Cuba, the April 17th Movement which no longer exists, and
Nationalist Movement. The reason I stress these groups
is that in
June, 1976, representatives of each one of these
organizations met in
the Dominican Republic to form a unified action group.
of this newly formed action group is CORU, which stands for
Coordinacion de Organizaciones Revolucionarias Unidas
United Revolutionary Organizations), better known as CORU.
In a nutshell, this new unified or umbrella organization
Cuban exile terrorist groups, agreed to conduct terrorist
designed to hurt the FIDEL CASTRO Regime in Cuba.
they discussed names to be used to claim credit for a
action. They mentioned kidnappings as a method of
goals, and they discussed terrorist activities in general.
It was decided that CORU would claim responsibility for any
acts outside the U.S.. Incidents inside the U.S. would be
other organizations in order to throw authorities off the
Consequently, attacks in the U.S. have been variously
claimed by El
Condor, Omega 7, the Pedro Luis Boitel Commandos and Cesar
What has happened since the creation of CORU?
Within 2 weeks there was an attempted bombing of a Cubana
airliner in Panama.
Then the attempted bombing of a Cubana airliner in Kingston,
Jamaica. A bomb was placed in a suitcase which was to
on this airplane, but fortunately the plane was late and the
exploded before it was placed on the aircraft. (Here
appendix attached hereto for a list of Cuban exile terrorist
since the formation of CORU).
(Here go down list of bombings in South America and
After the bombing of the Cubana airliner a CORU leader
wanted to prove
that CORU had not been destroyed as a result of the arrest
of BOSCH and
others in Venezuela for this bombing. On October 30,
leader flew to Madrid, Spain, where 2 bombs exploded on
& 7, 1976. One of the bombs exploded in the Cubana
ticket office, another in a leftist bookstore.
As can be seen from the Appendix, the list of terrorist acts
continues to the present.
Before presenting an update of the present situation as it
Cuban exile terrorists, one more case should be mentioned,
involves not an attack against a diplomatic establishment
abroad, nor a
bombing in the United States; rather, this case involves a
attack from Miami against the Cuban mainland or Cuban navy
In early June, 1977, investigation revealed that some Cuban
associated with Brigade 2506 in Miami were planning an armed
against Cuba from the United States. Surveillance of
suspects by U.S. Customs, the FBI, Dade County Public Safety
Department, Miami Police Department, U. S. Coast Guard and
of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms for over 2 months revealed
exiles had 3 boats which they were outfitting for an attack
Cuban mainland or against Cuban patrol boats on the northern
Cuba. After watching these boats make trial runs over
a few week
period, one person was arrested on August 15, 1977, and was
with the unlawful possession of firearms and destructive
Also arrested at a later date were the Military Director of
2506, and 2 other persons.
Recovered during this operation were:
2 BAR automatic rifles
1 - 20mm foreign-made cannon
1 - 50-caliber machine gun
1 - 30-caliber air-cooled machine gun
Several M-15 rifles, plus a large amount of ammunition for
weapons. On one of the boats was located several bags
After a trial in U.S. District Court in Miami on October 19,
defendants were found not guilty of possession of automatic
weapons. In July, 1978, the Federal Judge said that
could not be tried for a violation of the Neutrality Laws as
constitute double jeopardy. All are now walking the
The Cuban exile terrorist situation as it exists at this
moment is serious.
The cauldron is bubbling. We still have the same
problem which has caused the violent actions mentioned
But, in addition, there is another major problem. Last
and October (1978) some Cuban exiles were in contact with
CASTRO Government in Cuba. Out of several meetings
agreement by CASTRO to release nearly all political
prisoners in Cuba,
and allow them to also leave Cuba. Later, he also
agreed to allow
Cuban exiles in the U.S. and elsewhere to visit Cuba to see
relatives. Most of these exiles have not seen their
10 to 20 years. Generally, the Cuban community in
elsewhere was pleased. Political prisoners in Cuban
jails for up
to 20 years would be reunited, if only temporarily, with
ones in Cuba. Everything up to this point seemed to
cordiality and a lessening of tensions between the Cuban
community and the government of Cuba. But just the
happened within the context of terrorism.
FIDEL CASTRO said he now wanted a dialogue with what he
community. By "community" he means the Cuban exile
community. Before last October, the Cuban Government
Cuban exiles as "gusanos" ) (worms). Now they are
"the community". The Cuban Government then invited 75
exiles to Havana for a meeting with FIDEL CASTRO. This
in October of last year. These dialoguers and the
Government reached the agreement just mentioned, and the
first group of
prisoners and their families, about 125 persons, flew to
October 21, 1078.
Immediately the militants and terrorists started screaming
that the 75
dialoguers were traitors. A well-known Cuban exile
Miami was called a Cuban G-2 Agent and a traitor. His
picketed. There was, and is at this time in-fighting
dialoguers. Some of the dialoguers don't like the
(MANUEL) ESPINOZA. They feel he is too flamboyant,
that he may be
an intelligence agent for the Cuban Government, that he is
outspoken and that he is making money on Cuban exile
are several travel agencies in Miami now and elsewhere in
which arrange these tours. The parent agency is named
"Havanaturs" and it is incorporated in Panama. All
tours must be
arranged through "Havanaturs". Cuban exiles believe
is therefore an agency of the Cuban Government. There
basically two airline companies which fly these Cuban exile
to Cuba: Southeast Airlines and Belize Airways.
Usually there are
3 flights a day. Two flights proceed directly from
Miami to Cuba
by Southeast, and one flight by Belize Airways flies to Cuba
by way of
Merida, Yucatan. The tours are for 1 week, and the
$850.00. This includes 7 nights in a hotel, meals and
When the flights to Cuba first started this year, they flew
Jamaica and Mexico, but most now fly directly from Miami to
When the flights first started, Cuban exiles were flying to
suitcases full of gifts. Women were wearing 3 & 4
men, several pairs of trousers. Their suitcases were
transistor radios, electric fans and tape recorders.
What does all this mean in reference to Cuban exile
means that the terrorists have a new and fertile ground in
which to sow
their seeds, or plant their bombs of discontent.
The dialoguers are being threatened. In Puerto Rico,
MUNIZ, the operator of one of these travel agencies, was
shot to death
the end of April of this year. His office had been
January 4, 1979.
The Cuban community in exile, and particularly the
terrorists, are also
upset at the travel agencies, at the airlines and at
because of the excessive price of the tour to Cuba: $850 for
days. These exiles generally go to Cuba to be with
families, and therefore do not spend any time at the hotels,
they eat at the hotels. However, they are charged for
Another factor which really upsets the exile community is
the fact that
on May 1, 1979, the Cuban Government announced that the
not be allowed to take most gifts to Cuba without paying
duty at Cuban
Customs. These gifts, sometimes bought with thousands
of borrowed money, are a way of showing relatives that they
been forgotten. The new law imposes taxes and other
including confiscation, that in effect limits tourists to
effects" during their visit. This infuriated many
particularly the more violence-prone.
As a result of these factors, the terrorists are talking
There have been many bomb threats to the airlines flying to
terrorists in the various groups are talking about violent
against these airlines, against the dialoguers, and against
"Havanaturs". Dialoguer ESPINOZA, the Reverend, has
motorcade in Miami protesting violence. The
having marches protesting the dialogues with Cuba.
How much violence will be fomented by Cuban exile terrorists
foreseeable future? Nobody knows at this time.
FBI and other Federal agencies as well as local law
agencies are devoting considerable time and manpower to
terrorism in an effort to prevent violent acts and to gather
information to enable the gathering of admissible evidence
and convict those who are responsible.
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