STATEMENT BY THE CUBAN MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
The Foreign Ministry of the Republic of Cuba has confirmed that, in spite of the international anti-terrorist campaign, the Miami and Panama-based terrorist mob continues to carry out acts aimed at thwarting the judicial proceedings against terrorists Luis Posada Carriles, Gaspar Jiménez Escobedo, Guillermo Novo Sampoll and Pedro Remón Rodríguez. These men are guilty of numerous crimes against our people and are currently detained in Panama for plotting an attempt on the life of our Commander-in-Chief during the Ibero-American Summit held in Panama at the end of the year 2000.
It should be noted that the aforementioned terrorists had planned to place extremely powerful plastic explosives in the auditorium of the University of Panama where Comrade Fidel was scheduled to speak. This could have caused the death of hundreds of the University students and professors and of other people attending the function.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has kept our people informed of the various events that have taken place in the 16 months since the terrorists were arrested, including the government of the Republic of Panama’s refusal to extradite them, in spite of the fact that our country made its request for extradition of the four terrorists in time and in accordance with the requirements set forth for such cases in Panamanian law and in the Bustamente Code, the legal instrument that applies to such cases in our region.
Since the arrests, it has been confirmed that several members of the terrorist mob based in Miami and in Panama have launched a campaign to try to distort the seriousness of the four terrorists’ criminal acts. The campaign has included press reports, items on the radio, the transfer of considerable amounts of money and even meetings with important members of the Panamanian government, all aimed at trying to influence the legal proceedings underway in that country against the four. There is also confirmation that large sums of money have been sent from the United States to pay for the defense of the four detainees and to try to bribe justice system officials associated with the case.
Similarly, preparations have been resumed to arrange for Posada Carriles and his cronies to escape to some Central American country. Surprisingly, the terrorists under arrest in Panama have developed a series of "minor illnesses", which have resulted in their repeated transfer to hospital facilities. As Cuba has repeatedly denounced, this is an obvious attempt by the Miami mob to create conditions leading to their rescuing. This happened already in the past with Posada Carriles himself who was rescued from a high security jail in Venezuela where he was imprisoned for blowing up a Cubana Airliner off the coast of Barbados in 1976. He was then taken to El Salvador to serve as an arms supplier for the Nicaraguan counterrevolutionary gangs. The Venezuelan authorities have recently requested his extradition for this jailbreak.
Likewise, Gaspar Jiménez Escobedo, another of the four terrorists in jail in Panama fled from a Mexican prison where he had been sent for the killing of Cuban fishing technician Artañán Díaz Díaz.
Although Dr. Humberto Mas, Director of the Panamanian Forensic Medicine Institute has publicly made clear the terrorists health condition, the defense lawyers continue in their efforts to prove an alleged "deterioration" of the detainees’ health and have presented motions asking that the prison regime of the four terrorists be modified and that they be placed under house arrest. This would mean a reduction in security measures that would make it easier to arrange the planned escape.
Additionally, certain worrisome events have taken place in the last few weeks to which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to draw attention.
Firstly, the Panamanian courts have rejected the four lawsuits brought against the terrorists by student, union and indigenous organizations. These were based on the enormous number of victims that could have been caused if the four terrorists had succeeded in their planned attempt. Fortunately, however, they were prevented by the joint action of the Cuban and Panamanian security forces. Presently, the aforementioned organizations are appealing to the Panamanian Supreme Court of Justice in the hope that it will not continue turning a deaf ear to their justified demands.
Secondly, the report that the Panamanian Public Prosecutor’s Office wrote on the events for the Panamanian High Court to help determine at which court the terrorists were to be tried in Panama, explicitly mentioned the charge of "attempted murder". However, this charge that accurately described the main crime that the four terrorists committed in Panama has been removed.
It is very serious the way in which Luis Posada Carriles’ defense attorney, who has ties to the most spurious interests of the Miami mob, has manipulated this fact by suggesting that this omission constitutes an admission of his defendant’s "innocence". The Panamanian press and even international press agencies have reported such manipulations.
Still more serious is that the Government of El Salvador has announced that it is requesting the extradition of terrorist Luis Posada Carriles for crimes allegedly committed in that Central American country. This is an obvious maneuver to try to rescue a character who had his headquarters for many years in El Salvador where he cooked up his dirtiest plots and where he could count on the complicity of that country’s top officials. As Cuba has repeatedly denounced, it has handed over detailed and reliable information to the Salvadoran Government on this matter.
We cannot but denounce to our people and to the international public opinion this sudden request, made after Posada Carriles has been in jail for 16 months. We must also denounce the circumstances under which it is made, in the midst of a fierce propaganda campaign about his alleged "innocence", not to mention the sort of people who are making the request and their long standing ties with this infamous international terrorist and with people from the Miami mob. The trips back and forth to Panama made by the latter have unquestionably made it possible to bankroll and orchestrate these machinations.
In these circumstances, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs draws attention to the fact that counterrevolutionary circles in Miami are talking enthusiastically about the terrorists’ imminent release or saying that, in the worst case scenario, they will serve a short sentence.
Meanwhile, the counterrevolutionary elements based in Panama led by Raymond Molina and the former mayor of Panama City, Mayín Correa, continue to use all the means at their disposal to bring public pressure to bear to have the four detainees released. Taking advantage of a recent visit to Panama by a delegation of Miami-based terrorists, who traveled specifically to lobby for Posada Carriles and his accomplices, Correa invited U.S.-based terrorists René Cruz Cruz, Eusebio Peñalver Mazorra and Jorge Borrego to her program on the KW Continente station. The first two have a long history of planning terrorist actions against our country and of having close ties with Posada Carriles.
Also, terrorists Santiago Álvarez Fernández-Magriña and Nelsy Ignacio Castro Matos have visited Panama repeatedly for similar purposes. It would be useful to point out that the names of non other than René Cruz Cruz, Eusebio Peñalver Mazorra, Santiago Alvarez Fernández-Magriña and Nelsy Ignacio Castro Matos were on a list of the best-known terrorists with a recent record of planning attempts on the life of President Fidel Castro. This list was handed over to the Panamanian authorities on November 10, 2000, on the eve of the 10th Ibero-American Summit held in that country.
On November 17, 2000, after our Commander in Chief had publicly denounced in Panama the plot against his life, information about the plotters was delivered to the Panamanian authorities. Santiago Álvarez Fernández-Magriña’s name also appears in that document as one of those involved in the plan.
In the early years after the triumph of the Revolution, Cruz Cruz and Peñalver Mazorra were members of the counterrevolutionary gangs organized, equipped and financed by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. They were severely penalized for this. From that time forward, both of them have been actively involved in terrorist organizations that operate against our country from the United States territory. They have held top positions in some of these organizations and were even involved in planning an attempt on the life of President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela.
For his part, Álvarez Fernández-Magriña, also directly linked to the Cuban-American National Foundation and other U.S.- based terrorist organizations, was to collaborate with Luis Posada Carriles and the other three terrorists detained in Panama in the attempt on the life of the President of Cuba during the 10th Ibero-American Summit in that country. Although in the end he did not take part, he was deeply involved in planning this failed action.
Nelsy Ignacio Castro Matos is an active member of several terrorist organizations, and has carried out numerous terrorist acts against Cuban civil and commercial targets and against those of other Latin American countries. He has been a friend of Luis Posada Carriles since the 70s when they worked together in the Venezuelan Department of Intelligence and Prevention Services (DISIP). After Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch were imprisoned for their involvement in blowing up a Cubana Airliner off the coast of Barbados in 1976, he continued to work closely with these terrorists and served as their liaison with terrorist groups in Miami, abusing his job as an official of the Venezuelan Republic.
After the 1980s, he began to get involved in plots to kill President Fidel Castro and took part with the four terrorists in jail in Panama in the design of the plan to kill the Commander-in-Chief during the 10th Ibero-America Summit in November 2000.
As has been said before, this terrorist makes frequent trips to Panama to visit the four detainees. He and other Miami-based Cuban terrorists are financing the legal proceedings while trying to create the necessary conditions for an eventual escape by Posada Carriles and his accomplices.
The Salvadoran accomplices of Posada Carriles have now joined in the fray. It would be really disgraceful if the Panamanian authorities were to cave in to the Salvadoran request, whose purpose is obvious, when they have unjustifiably refused to extradite the four terrorists to Cuba, despite the strict transparency with which our Government has followed all the necessary steps, and they have so far denied the Venezuelan authorities’ request to have the fugitive Posada Carriles extradited to that country.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to keep our people informed about the ongoing maneuvers aimed at preventing the punishment of the four terrorists detained in Panama who have caused so much suffering to our people. We also want to recall the low moral standard of those who, obeying orders from the Cuban-American National Foundation and other terrorist organizations in Miami, engage in such conspiracies.
Havana, March 12, 2002