[Marxism] U.S. arrests key ally of Posada (Miami Herald)

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Mon Nov 21 04:05:50 MST 2005


The plot thickens. Posada's buddies are now redbaiting the Bush
administration, of all people on the planet. Such ingratitude!

Wasn't the Bush transition plan and all but eliminating possible
visits by Cubans in the United States and most others from the US
sufficient for these people? Now they seem to think that their guy
Posada should be allowed to walk freely, no, TRIUMPHANTLY around
the streets of Miami, giving public press conferences about his
heroic role in the anti-Castro freedom struggle? We're still not
told what charges, if any, will be filed against Alvarez when the
matter reaches a court. 

We still don't know whether Alvarez will receive the same kind
of Club Fed treatment Posada seems to be receiving. One of the
most intransigent of the Miami Militants now declares ponderously:

"Every time Castro complains about something, this government does
whatever they have to so that he doesn't get mad," which give us a
bit more of the impression there's some falling out among these
elements in Miami, as the Herald here suggests. Slowly but surely
we may be beginning to find out more of the details about Posada
and how he really DID enter the United States. The Miami exiles
have had free run of the city for well over forty years, bombing
and otherwise terrorizing people who didn't tow their hysterical
line against Cuba. Well, if someday Washington were to wake up 
and realize that its collusion with the terrorists of Miami is
more trouble than it's worth, and more harmful to the interests
of the United States than even maintaining anti-Castro propaganda,
we may begin to see a few long overdue changes. Since the attacks
on the American people of September 11, 2001, it's become harder
for Washington to be silent in the face of terrorists walking 
openly on US streets in Miami. That may be why it prosecuted 
not one but two groups of Cuban airplane hijackers to the US.
That may help explain why Washington even returned a group of
boat hijackers to Cuba, even negotiating both the charges and
sentences with the Cuban government? Well, it's hard to know
these things for sure, but there does seem to be someting now
going on in Miami. We aren't at the bottom of it yet, not by a
long shot, but stay tuned...From what I hear, all of Miami's
TV stations were abuzz about this on Friday. Probably there'll
be even more after Alvarez' hearing at court this afternoon.
 
Think that maybe this might be just a little bit exaggerated?
Read Jim Mullin's THE BURDEN OF A VIOLENT HISTORY from New Times:
http://www.miaminewtimes.com/issues/2000-04-20/news/mullin.html


Walter Lippmann, CubaNews
http://www.walterlippmann.com
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CubaNews
 
================================================================

MIAMI HERALD
Posted on Mon, Nov. 21, 2005
http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/breaking_news/13221494.htm

MIAMI-DADE

U.S. arrests key ally of Posada

The action against a close supporter of Cuban exile militant Luis
Posada Carriles could pit the Bush administration against part of a
Republican constituency.

BY OSCAR CORRAL AND JAY WEAVER

ocorral at herald.com

Santiago Alvarez, a longtime anti-Castro activist and key supporter
of exile militant Luis Posada Carriles, was arrested in Miami this
weekend on federal weapons and passport charges -- a move that could
cause a clash between the Bush administration and some members of one
of the president's most loyal political constituencies.

Alvarez, a wealthy developer, is charged with possession of automatic
weapons, including some with the serial numbers obliterated; a
silencer not properly registered; and a false passport, Matthew
Dates, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Miami, said Sunday
evening.

Some Cuban-American activists criticized the arrest as an attempt to
appease Fidel Castro at a time when the Cuban president is stepping
up his rhetoric against Posada and his associates.

The U.S. government was already in the uncomfortable position of
being accused of harboring Posada, who is suspected of terrorism,
even as it wages a global war on terrorism. Now, Alvarez's arrest
could raise the political stakes by pitting the Bush administration
against some segments of the exile community, which has strongly
supported the president.

Federal agents arrested Alvarez at his Belle Meade home about 1 a.m.
Saturday, just hours after executing a search warrant in his Hialeah
office, said Kendall Coffey, Alvarez's lawyer.

It was not clear whether the charges were directly related to Posada,
who is wanted by both the Cuban and Venezuelan governments for his
alleged role in the 1976 bombing of a Cuban jetliner and a string of
bomb attacks in Havana in 1997-98.

REACTION TO ARREST

Alvarez's arrest shocked his friends and many in the exile community
who say it was a major propaganda victory for Castro. The Cuban
leader has been pressuring the U.S. government for months to take
action against Alvarez and others, who Castro claims helped smuggle
Posada into the country in March.

''Castro has got to be really happy about this because there was a
week of rumor and speculation about his health, and the week ends up
with what he will trumpet as a victory against the Miami
Cuban-American community,'' Coffey said. ``Santiago Alvarez has not
violated the laws of this country.''

A federal law-enforcement source said it was a ''pure coincidence''
that Alvarez's arrest occurred the day after a Cuba-based group ran a
full-page ad in The New York Times denouncing Posada. The official
said the timing of Alvarez's arrest had nothing to do with Castro or
any pressure he was trying to exert on the U.S. government.

Coffey said he is concerned that the government will try to charge
Alvarez in a court outside Miami-Dade County to help secure a more
favorable jury for the government's position.

PROTEST PLANNED

At least one Cuban exile group, Vigilia Mambisa, plans to protest
Alvarez's arrest outside the federal courthouse in downtown Miami,
Mambisa President Miguel Saavedra said.

''Every time Castro complains about something, this government does
whatever they have to so that he doesn't get mad,'' Saavedra said.

Alvarez, 64, became widely known in South Florida this year as the
most outspoken supporter of Posada, who has been accused of
anti-Castro terrorism around the hemisphere.

Alvarez said he helped shelter Posada in Miami until federal agents
arrested him in May on charges of entering the country illegally.

In late September, a U.S. immigration judge ruled that Posada could
not be deported to Cuba or Venezuela because he likely would be
tortured there -- a decision that angered the governments of both
nations.

The Cuban government's campaign against Alvarez goes back years. In
2000, Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Pérez-Roque said in a televised
speech that Alvarez conspired with other exiles to try to kill Castro
at the Ibero-American summit in Panama City that year.

Alvarez denied the allegation.

ALLEGED PLOT

Havana also accused Alvarez of financing a botched terrorist mission
to Cuba in 2001. The alleged plot failed after Cuban authorities
arrested three Miami-Dade County men who were trying to land on the
island with four AK-47 assault rifles, one M-3 rifle with a silencer
and three Makarov pistols.

In a bizarre twist, one of the arrested men, Ihosvani Surís de la
Torre, called Alvarez from prison while Cuban agents recorded the
conversation. Surís said he was well and asked for instructions from
Alvarez. He mentioned the popular Tropicana nightclub in Havana,
implying that it might be a possible target.

''The other day, when you told me about the Tropicana, do you want me
to do something there?'' Surís asked.

The man identified as Alvarez responded: ``If you want to do that, so
much the better. Makes no difference to me.''

When asked about the tape earlier this year, Alvarez told The Herald
that when he talked with the man, he knew that Surís was in the
custody of Cuban agents at the time.

CLOSE RELATIONSHIP

Alvarez's ties to Posada run deep.

Last year, Alvarez paid for an executive jet to fly Posada from
Panama to Honduras after the Panamanian president pardoned him and
three other exiles who were serving sentences in connection with an
alleged plot to kill Castro in 2000.

A federal source told The Herald that agents of U.S. Immigration and
Customs Enforcement suspect that Alvarez recently received
counterfeit Guatemalan passports, the basis for the search warrant.

Alvarez is scheduled to appear before a federal magistrate at 1:30
p.m. today.

Ever since reports surfaced that Posada had sneaked into the United
States last March, Castro has repeatedly accused Alvarez of smuggling
him into Miami aboard Alvarez's fishing boat, the Santrina.

Castro has cited the Santrina's voyage to the Mexican resort of Isla
Mujeres, near Cancún, in mid-March, when the boat ran aground outside
the harbor. Alvarez acknowledged in an interview earlier this year
that he was in Isla Mujeres in mid-March, but said the trip was a
maiden voyage for the overhauled boat.

''I am absolutely innocent,'' Alvarez said. ``We made contact with
two or three people. I can't say that [the trip] had absolutely
nothing to do with Posada because I've been in touch with him for
years, but I can say that I didn't bring him. Santrina didn't bring
him.''

Mexican government documents obtained by The Herald showed that the
Santrina arrived at Isla Mujeres on March 15 with five passengers:
Alvarez, Jose Hilario Pujol, Ruben Lopez Castro, Gilberto Abascal and
Osvaldo Mitat. Pujol was listed as the captain.

The exit permit provided to the Santrina by the Mexican government,
signed by port Captain José Luis Ibarra Rojo, said the group picked
up no passengers while they were there.

Alvarez said the boat, which was recently docked on the Miami River,
is owned by a nonprofit group that he started, Caribe Dive & Research
Foundation. The purpose of the foundation, according to Alvarez, is
to teach youths and recent Cuban arrivals to dive and respect marine
ecology.

The boat's U.S. registration with the Department of Homeland Security
says it belongs to the Caribe foundation and is used for recreation.

Pujol and Mitat also told The Herald that they did not bring Posada
to Miami on the Santrina.

POSADA'S TRAVELS

Posada told The Herald earlier this year that he entered the United
States in a car through the Mexican border. But on his way to the
border, Posada said, a friend drove him from Guatemala into Belize
and then into the Cancún area of Mexico.

That was about the same time that the Santrina was docked at Isla
Mujeres. Posada declined to say whether he met Alvarez there.

Alvarez's longtime lawyer, Juan Zorrilla, said he visited Alvarez in
jail Saturday.

''He feels that it's unfortunate,'' Zorrilla said. ``That Castro has
initiated this.''






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