Patria y Vida – Cuban Exile Terrorism

Here’s a list worth keeping: Cuban exiles and their love for terrorism!

The reign of terror and death in Miami began with the murder of Jose Elias de la Torriente, April 12, 1974. Torriente was sitting in his home in Coral Gables, Florida, when he was shot to death by an unknown assailant firing through the living room window. Torriente, a prominent local businessman, had crossed Miami’s Cuban exile community after failing to follow through on plans to invade Cuba and overthrow Fidel Castro. His death marked the start of a period of political violence that would lead the FBI to call Miami the terrorist capital of the United States.

March 1975, Luciano Nieves was gunned down in a hospital parking lot by Cuban exiles for the crime of advocating a dialogue between Cuba and the United States.

Then came the Oct. 31, 1975 bombing death of Rolando Masferrer. The shooting of Ramon Donestevez on April 14, 1976. The murder of Andrez Purrinos in downtown Miami, May 20, 1976. The slaying of Jesus Gonzalez-Cartas on May 30, 1976. Source >>

According to the Miami New Times, in 1975 alone, more then 30 bombings tied to anti-Castro extremists rattled across Miami, hitting everywhere from banks to the airport to TV stations. Even Miami Police Department headquarters got hit.

In October 1975, a bomb detonated in a locker at the main entrance of Miami International Airport. Then in December, eight bombs went off in government buildings, including the FBI Office, Post Office buildings, and the local prosecutor’s office, as well as police headquarters. The bomb spree were eventually linked to Cuban exile and Bay of Pigs veteran Rolando Otero after his fingerprint was found on a part of the MIA locker that housed the bomb. Otero was the youngest man to fight in Brigade 2506.

Read this letter written by Acting Secretary of State Robinson on May 24, 1976 describing the situation in Miami:

On April 4, unknown persons believed to be Miami based exiles attacked two unarmed Cuban trawlers in international waters leaving one crew member dead. … Two militant exile groups publicly claimed responsibility for the attacks.

In the wake of the incident at sea, a rash of exile score settlings and other terrorist activities in Miami culminated in the April 31 attempt on popular exile broadcaster Emilio Milian who had recently been critical of exile terrorism. Milian lost both legs when a bomb exploded in his car. Previously, on April 13 Ramon Donestevez, who had made several visits to Cuba to promote family reunification, was shot dead in his office, and two other controversial exile leaders were killed in 1975. In the last two years about a hundred bombs have exploded in Miami.

The FBI and local authorities have been diligent in investigating the sporadic round of bombings and assassinations but have had little success in developing sufficient information to make arrests. Exiles generally do not cooperate with the authorities because they fear reprisals, a psychology which may have its roots in the atmosphere in Havana during Batista’s days.

We understand that it is the FBI’s view that anti-Castro exiles are behind the terrorism,

September 21, 1976: In the heart of Washington D.C., a car bomb killed a former Ambassador of Chile, Orlando Letelier, and an American aide, Ronni Moffitt; at the time, it was one of the worst acts of foreign terrorism on American soil. Three anti-Castro Cuban exiles were found guilty for this act of terrorism: Guillermo Novo Sampol, his brother, Ignacio Novo Sampol, and Alvin Ross Diaz. As they were led to the cellblock behind the courtroom, Ignacio Novo and Ross raised their fists and shouted: “Viva Cuba!”

During the trial, friendly Cuban exiles bombed the Cuban Mission to the United Nations and Avery Fisher Hall in New York. Two days after the sentencing, a bag checked at Kennedy Airport in New York exploded, injuring four baggage handlers.

October 19, 1976: A bomb destroys a Cubana Airlines flight 455 from Georgetown, Guyana to Havana shortly after takeoff from Barbados, killing all 73 aboard. The passenger list included representatives from a number of different countries: 57 Cubans, 11 Guyanese (including 18 and 19-year-old medical students, and the young wife of a Guyanese diplomat), and five North Koreans (government officials and a cameraman). Among the dead were all 24 members of the 1975 national Cuban Fencing team that had just won all the gold medals in the Central American and Caribbean Championship; many were teenagers. Several officials of the Cuban government were also aboard the plane. Both the FBI and the CIA agree that Luis Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch engineered the bombing. It was then the most deadly terrorist attack in the Western hemisphere.

FBI Director, Clarence Kelley, wrote to Henry Kissinger in November 1976:

In connection with the loss of the Cubana Airlines Flight Number 455 in the Caribbean Sea on October 6, 1976, a confidential source of out Miami Office who has provided reliable information in the past, reported on November 1, 1976, the following significant information wish is summarized below:

The bombing of the Cubana Airlines DC-8 was planned, in part, in Caracas, Venezuela, at two meetings attended by Morales Navarette, Luis Posada Carriles, and Frank Castro.

It is noted that [Frank] Castro and Castillo are American citizens who have been active in anti-Castro terrorist activities in the past. Castro, a resident of the Dominican Republic, is a leader of the Coordination of United Revolutionary Organizations (CORU), an anti-Castro terrorist organization which has claimed responsibility for numerous terrorist acts throughout the Caribbean.

… arrested suspect Henan Ricardo Lozano telephoned Bosch from Trinidad stating ‘a bus with 73 dogs went off a cliff and all got killed.’

Morales Navarrete stated that Gustavo Castillo and members of his ‘Youth of the Star’ group composed of Gaspar Jimenez, Orestes Ruiz Hernandez, Duney Perez Alamo and Raciel Rodriguez Gonzalez are responsible for the following terrorist actions in the Miami, Florida area:

  • Bombing of the Dominican Consulate, October 6, 1975
  • Bombing of the Dominican Airlines ticket office, October 20, 1975
  • Bombings at the Broward County Court House, October 10, 1975
  • Attempted bombing of a Bahamasair Airliner at Miami International Airport, November 27, 1975

Jimenez and Ruiz Hernandez are in jail in Mexico in connection with the attempted kidnapping of the Cuban Consul.

January 8, 1977: Juan Jose Peruyero was assassinated in his Miami house. He was killed by extremist members of his own Brigade 2506 for condeming the participation of fellow Brigade veterans in terrorist activities. He was a friend of Emilio Milian.

According to a New York Times article from January 1977:

[Peruyero] was the seventh exile leader to die in the last three years in what the police believe were politically motived assassinations.

In the last three years, about 100 bombs also have exploded in the Miami area, several attempts have been made to kill prominent Cubans and a number of newsmen, both Cubans and Americans, have received death threats.

April 28, 1979: Carlos Muñiz Varela was killed at the age of 26 in Puerto Rico while driving to his mother’s house. He was killed by members of CORU (Coordinación de Organizaciones Revolucionarias Unidas) for seeking dialogue and reconciliation with Cuba. CORU was founded by a group of Cuban exiles that included Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada Carriles.

January 4, 1979, July 26, 1979, and January 18, 1980, CORU organized three bomb attacks on a Puerto Rican travel Agency named Viajes Varadero for facilitating the travel of Cuban exiles to their home country.

Max Lesnik, founder of a popular magazine called Replica which espoused opinions about Cuba and U.S. policy toward the island, was the target of violent attacks by anti-Castro groups in Miami. In the mid-1970s, Replica’s offices in Little Havana were bombed 11 times. Lesnik was eventually forced to shut down Replica in the early 1980s in the face of death threats to himself, his advertisers and businesses that carried the magazine.

The terrorism didn’t end there. It, of course, continued.

In 1997, Posada Carriles allegedly orchestrated a dozen bombings in Cuba intended to deter the growing tourism trade. An Italian businessman was killed and 11 people wounded as a result. In a taped interview with the New York Times, he said: “It is sad that someone is dead, but we can’t stop.”

In an interview with the Miami paper, he didn’t deny his involvement in the bombings. “Let’s leave it to history,” he said.

On November 17, 2000, Posada Carriles along with other members of the Cuban exiles community were discovered with 200 pounds of explosives in Panama City and arrested for plotting the assassination of Castro at the University of Panama during the 10th Ibero-American Summit of Heads of State and Government. The plot allegedly involved using dynamite to blow up an auditorium full of college students!

So much for “Patria y Vida!”

Thanks reading,


Castro and Revolutionary Justice

Luis Posada Carriles – The Declassified Record, The National Security Archive.

Cuban Exile Database

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