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Declassified: What the FBI Knew, but Allowed to Fester on its Own Turf

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  Orlando Bosch Avila - one of the most brutal terrorists in the Americas.  

August 8th, 2003


Last year a US Department of Justice FBI report dated August 16th, 1978 written by the Miami FBI station and directed to the Bureau's Director was declassified. It indicated that US authorities were fully aware from the outset of terrorist actions by the Florida based organization CORU, run by international terrorist Dr Orlando Bosch. The document pertains to the US Neutrality Act that sought to prohibit the use of US territory as a base for violent, hostile actions against other nations with which the US was not formally at war.   



A declassified US Department of Justice FBI report dated August 16th, 1978 written by the Miami FBI station and directed  to the Bureau's Director, indicates that US authorities were fully aware from the outset of  terrorist actions by the Florida based organization CORU - the conglomerate of five anti-Cuba organizations formed by international terrorist Orlando Bosch in 1976, aimed at bringing down the Cuban government.


The document pertains to the US Neutrality Act that sought to prohibit the use of US territory as a base for violent, hostile actions against other nations with which the US was not formally at war. The principal concern of the FBI with CORU was its penchant for making bombs and using them against anyone and everyone that had any dealings with Cuba.


The report acknowledge Bosch's terrorist record for 1968 ship bombings and his mailing of package bombs to Cuban embassies in Peru, Spain, Canada and Argentina. It also records Bosch's connection with the bombing of a Cubana Airlines flight in 1976 with the loss of everyone on board. At the time of writing the document, which is market "Secret" and "Confidential" throughout, Orlando Bosch was in a Venezuelan prison on charges of masterminding this crime.


An interesting aspect of the document is the mention that a number of members of this and other terrorist groups were holding back from action that violated the Neutrality Act under the assumption that closer relations with the United States that were being explored at the time under the Carter administration would result in easier penetration into Cuba to carry out terrorist missions from within the island.


The FBI report goes on to note that at a meeting in Miami on May 11th, 1977, well-known terrorist Fernando (Frank) Castro proposed sabotaging aircraft flying into Cuba from Mexico if the US Congress eased travel restrictions to the island.  He also proposed raising money to break out Orestes Ruiz, in prison in Mexico for related acts of terrorism.


The report then moves back to Orlando Bosch who, it relates, sought war with Venezuela and wanted CORU to target all Venezuelan interests abroad. According to FBI intelligence, prior to his arrest Bosch had sought to make an agreement with members of the Venezuelan government to give him police protection, a weapon and allow him to raise anti-Cuba money in the South American country. In return he would halt terrorism by his group in Venezuela, Costa Rica and Colombia.


It seems that even CORU members saw Bosch as a loose canon. The FBI noted that upon his release, the international terrorist would be deported from Venezuela and would not be welcome in the U.S. or the Dominican Republic - the two places he would most likely go. (In the event, once Bosch had been released and illegally reentered the United States, the Justice Department declared him a terrorist and issued a deportation order. However, with more than 30 countries refusing to take him in and pressure from the extreme right wing in Miami to allow him to stay, George Bush senior later granted Bosch a pardon).


Frank Castro became the leader of CORU while Bosch was in prison and obtained money and support from organizations such as the Confederación de Profesionales Cubanos en el Exilio and the reverend Moon. He sought to obtain magnet bombs to simultaneously use on ships in four different ports once the ships were at sea. The operation was designed to capitalize on the publicity surrounding the expected release of Bosch from Venezuela.


By the end of 1977 CORU designated "El Chino" Esquivel to form military cells across the North American continent as well as in selected international locations. One of these cells was responsible for the bombing of Viasa Airlines offices in Miami Beach, Florida on December 23rd, 1977. The cells were to attack Cuban sympathizers or people doing business with Cuba as well as Venezuelan interests to pressure Caracas to quickly release Orlando Bosch.


Front organizations with harmless-sounding names like "Coordinating Dignity Assembly" or "the Federation of Cuban Organizations, were set up to enable these cells to function. The person in charge of setting up these front organizations was CORU member Alfredo Menocal. By early 1978 these secret cells were already functioning in Miami, California, Texas, Chicago, New York and New Jersey.


Other actions taken at this time by CORU related to pressuring Mexico not to extradite Cuban-born Gaspar Jimenez and Gustavo Castillo, who were arrested in the US for extradition to Mexico on terrorist activities in Mexico. He authorized terrorist attacks against Mexican property and government property. A CORU committee deceitfully called the "Committee for Human Rights" was formed on January 24th, 1978 with Antion Muñiz at its head, with the express purpose of damaging the Mexican tourist trade to force the Mexican government to withdraw the extradition proceedings it already had with Cuba relating to Castillo and Jimenez.


The Miami FBI office reported that on May 23rd, 1978 Juan Perez Franco of the terrorist Brigade 2506 would be integrated into CORU. The Brigade had been considering reactivating its military arm "Ejercito Secreto" (Secret Army) under the leadership of Ramiro de la Fé. It decided to use the name "M-17" as a pseudonym for future military actions.  Many such pseudonyms exist to confuse the authorities and the public as to who is really responsible for terrorist acts. Other such pseudonyms for terrorist actions are "Omega 7" (one of the most prolific bombing units of all), "Youth of the Star", "Latin American Anticommunist Army" and "The Condor".


In a series of reports from FBI staff in Puerto Rico, it was revealed that CORU was responsible for the bombing of a Venezuelan tourist office in San Juan as well as a Venezuelan office in New York City at the same time. The Puerto Rico connection also reported CORU discussions centering on attacking Cuban consulates outside the United States with bombs or silenced guns.


The declassified FBI report ends with information that Orlando Bosch had assigned an interim chief of CORU, Carlos Dominicus, to replace him while he was still in prison in Venezuela. This made Frank Castro very angry and threatened to split the group.


Interestingly, an unexplained attachment appears at the end of this FBI report outlining the assassination of Chilean General Prats Gonzalez and his wife in Argentina. Many such assassinations - such as the car bomb that killed former Chilean foreign minister Orlando Letelier and his assistant Ronni Moffit - were carried out by Cuban-born terrorists.


Today, Dr Orlando Bosch walks the streets of Miami - a city that has, incredibly, proclaimed "Orlando Bosch Day" to honor the pediatrician that boasts of killing children.




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Simon Wollers

Simon Wollers

Periodista inglés, colaborador de Cubadebate.