Friday, February 17, 2012

St. Petersburg Times, December 14, 1968, "Bosch, Eight Others Get Jail Sentences" by United Press International

MIAMI - Dr. Orlando Bosch. alleged Cuba Power leader, and eight other exiles were sentenced yesterday to a total of 48 years in jail for conspiring to blow up foreign ships trading with the Fidel Castro regime.

Federal Judge William O. Mehrtens gave the defendants, including one woman, a tongue-lashing for what he called "perfectly stupid" activities after he handed out the tough sentences which actually amount to 39 1/2 years in jail because some are concurrent.

Bosch, a 43-year-old baby doctor, drew the heaviest sentence - a total of 18 years on a five-count indictment. He will not serve more than 10 years, however, because the other eight years are to be served concurrently.


Relatives wept in the corridor after the sentencing. Mrs. Bosch denounced the penalty and said her husband was fighting for "the same thing American soldiers are fighting for in Vietnam."

"I am proud of my husband," she said.


Copyright (c) 1968 United Press International
Daytona Beach Morning Journal, November 16, 1968, "Cuban Exiles Guilty of Blasting Ships" by The Associated Press

MIAMI - Nine Cuban exiles, including former Havana pediatrician Orlando Bosch were found guilty in federal court Friday of conspiring to blast ships of foreign countries which trade with Cuba.

In addition, Bosch was adjudged guilty on three counts of sending telegrams to the heads of state of Spain, Mexico and England, threatening that the mysterious Cuban Power organization would bomb their ships.

Bosch and two other refugees - Barbaro Balan and Jose Diaz Morejon - were convicted of firing on the Polish Freighter Polanika while it was in the Port of Miami.

Bosch, frequently afoul of United States neutrality laws in previous plots against Fidel Castro's Cuban government, could be sentenced to a total of 28 years in federal prison.


Asst. U.S. Atty. Donald Bierman during the trial described Bosch as "a man with a clear contempt for the U.S. system of justice."

The defense, however, contended the nine Cuban refugees were brought to trial for the sole purpose of prosecuting Bosch. Lawyer Melvyn Greenspahn charged the government would not be satisfied "until they put him away."

In a statement after the trial, Bierman praised his key witness, Ricardo Morales [Navarrete], an exile who infiltrated Cuba Power and reported on its activities.


"His conduct was patriotic and motivated by a desire to stop what he believed was a fraud upon the Cuba people perpetrated by the leaders of Cuban Power. He believed that the activity of Cuba Power in relation to foreign shipping was nothing more than a wanton destruction of the property of our allies Britain, Spain and Japan, which in no way served to hinder or even inconvenience the government of Fidel Castro," Bierman said.

Morales testified that he supplied Bosch with fake dynamite furnished him by the FBI. He reportedly was placed under guard for protection from fellow exiles after having testified.

Copyright (c) 1968 The Associated Press
The Miami News, November 14, 1968, "Bosch Names Cuban Power Leader" by Ian Glass

Ernesto, the mysterious head of the secret Cuba Power Organization and the man who took the credit for its bombings, was identified yesterday.

"His name is Pablo Vega," a reluctant Dr. Orlando Bosch said in federal court here.

Bosch said he originally met Ernesto on Aguila Key in the Bahamas two years ago. He described him as about 5-feet, 4-inches, dark, muscular.

He believed Ernesto who, he said, was military chief of Cuban Power, had left the country after the shelling of the Polish liner Polanica Sept. 16. He did not know where he was now.


Bosch also said it was Ernesto that fired the 57 mm recoilless rifle at the Polanica, although it was agreed another of the defendants, Jose Diaz Morejon, would take the blame.


Government attorneys Donald Bierman and Theodore Klein showed earlier that, over the last six months, Morales had been supplying Bosch with phony dynamite supplied by the FBI.

Bosch admitted he had accepted the dynamite, but only to be sent to insurgents in Cuba. He paid $300 for three shipments.


The case is expected to go to the jury late today [or] tomorrow.

Copyright (c) 1968 The Miami News
Daytona Beach Morning Journal, November 8, 1968, "Phony Dynamite, Says Witness on Exile Duds" by The Associated Press

MIAMI - A Cuban exile testified Thursday that he infiltrated Cuban Power, a secret terrorist group, and supplied it with phony dynamite he obtained from the FBI.

The witness, 29-year-old Ricardo Morales Navarrete, said Orlando Bosch, one of nine exiles on trial in Federal Court, kept complaining that ship blasting attempts with his explosives had been duds.

The nine were charged with conspiring to bomb ships from countries dealing with the Fidel Castro regime.

Morales, who described himself as an arms expert, also testified that at Bosch's request, he assembled a 59 millimeter recoilless rifle to be fired on a Polish vessel.

Judge William O. Mehrtens admitted his testimony over the objection of defense attorney Melvyn Greenspahn who pointed out it came from a paid informer.


Morales testified he first saw the [recoilless] rifle in the apartment of Aimee Miranda, one of the defendants, and that he put it in shooting condition. He said he also equipped it with sights fashioned from a coat hanger.

Morales, speaking with a strong accent, also testified that at his first meeting with Bosch, on Jan. 20, Bosch told him "a suitcase full of money has arrived from Cuba for Cuban Power."


Copyright (c) 1968 The Associated Press

The Miami News, October 11, 1968, "8 Exile Suspects Fast in Jail" by Louise Blanchard

A spokesman for eight Cuban exiles, jailed yesterday in connection with the terrorist damage to foreign ships, said today they have begun a limited hunger strike.

A ninth exile, [Aimee Miranda Cruz], also arrested and charged with conspiring to damage ships doing business with Fidel Castro's Cuba, was released.

Marcelino Garcia, speaking for the "Alianza Movimiento Insurreccional de Recuperacion Revolucionaria Comandos L," said Dr. Orlando Bosch had smuggled a letter out of the Dade County Jail.

The letter Garcia produced said all had been arrested on false charges. It accused the CIA and the FBI of "tenacious persecution" of members of the organization.


Garcia, secretary general of the "Alianza M.I.R.R., Comandos L.," issued a press release at a meeting last night denouncing "all the governments of the free world."

The statement declared hat the arrest of Dr. Bosch and the others "confirms the conjecture" that the government of the United States is interested in "sustaining Fidel Castro."

The press release said, as did the Bosch letter, that members of the organization had been "persecuted and watched" by federal authorities, that the accusations were "political in nature" and that the arrests were intended to "paralyze all our forces for the liberation of our nation."


Copyright (c) 1968 The Miami News
The Herald-Tribune, October 12, 1968, "Nine Cuban Exiles Jailed As Terror Plotters" by The Associated Press

MIAMI - Nine Cuban exiles were jailed here Friday on federal charges of plotting terro attacks on ships and planes of Spain, Mexico and Great Britain as part of a nationwide anti-Castro vendetta by the group calling itself Cuban Power.

The man indicted as the leader, Dr. Orlando Bosch, seemed triumphant after his arrest by FBI agents. While being taken to jail under $50,000 bond, Bosch raised his handcuffed arms and made "V's" with fingers of each hand as he shouted: "Victory for Cuban liberation."

Bosch and two of the nine were chraged in the Sept. 16 cannonading of a Polish freighter in Miami. The attack became an international incident.

The indictment also identified Bosch as the mysterious "Ernesto," the voice of Cuban Power who announced attacks sometimes before the occurred.

Bosch was charged separately with cabling threats to Harold Wilson, prime minister of Great Britain, Gustavo Diaz Ordaz, president of Mexico, and Gen. Francisco Franco, head of state in Spain.

All nine of those arrested Friday by FBI agents were charged with conspiracy to violate the neutrality of the United States by making war against another nation from U.S. soil.

In announcing the arrests, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover said, "Cuban Power is a militant anti-Castro organization which has publicly claimed responsibility for various acts of violence against property of those nations which have continued to carry on trading with Cuba."

Some of the targets included consulates, offices of government airlines and companies which shipped mercy packages to families in Cuba.

The indictment, returned secretly in Miami Thursday by a federal grand jury, said all nine of those indicted had conspired with the Cuban Power group. Among the attacks claimed by Cuban Power were bombings of a cargo plane at Miami Airport, a British freighter at sea near Key West, and a Japanese freighter at Tampa, Fla.

A tenth man identified in the indictment, but neither charged nor listed as a coconspirator, was Ricardo Morales Navarrete. Morales had been arrested earlier by Miami police in connection with one of the 39 bombings that struck the city's Cuban colony.

Morales' testimony to the grand jury was reportedly the key to breaking the facade of the secret group.


Copyright (c) 1968 The Associated Press

[More from The Miami News, Oct. 11, 1968]

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Miami News, October 8, 1968, "Dynamite Found Near Dante's Office" by The Miami News

Twenty-four sticks of dynamite, with detonation caps and primer cord, were found outside the Miami campaign headquarters of Rep. Dante Fascell yesterday but the explosives had not been rigged as a bomb.

Dick Nellius, press assistant to Fascell, a Democrat who is running for re-election, said the 50-pound box of dynamite was found in bushes outside a building at 2901 S. Bayshore Dr., where the Fascell forces have offices on the ground floor.

Nellius said the explosives were found by someone connected with Alliance Machinery Corp., which owns the building and has offices on the upper floor. The dynamite was removed by the Metro Bomb Squad.

Copyright (c) 1968 The Miami News
The Miami News, September 24, 1968, "Dante Urges U.S. Act in Exile Bombings" by Ian Glass

Congressman Dante Fascell today urged U.S. Attorney General [Ramsey] Clark to order an investigation of Cuban terrorist bomber groups here "and bring these criminals to justice."


Fascell's telegram said: "Recent terrorist activities in Miami and other parts of our nation perpetrated by a small group of Cuban extremists are endangering Cuban and American lives and property.

"The vast majority of Cuban exiles have proven to be exemplary guests in our nation. However, this militant minority is violating not only our local laws with attacks on foreign ships and bombing of grocery stores, but also is violating a host of federal laws.

"For those reasons, I seriously urge a prompt and thorough investigation by the FBI, immigration authorities and other federal agencies to bring these criminals to justice.

"While I fully support the legitimate effort of the Cuban exiles to free their homeland, we cannot allow a terrorist minority to jeopardize lives and blatantly violate our laws in the name of patriotism."


Copyright (c) 1968 The Miami News
The Miami News, September 23, 1968, "One Bomb Is One Too Many," Editorial by The Miami News

We think Cuban exiles can find better ways to settle differences than by blowing up buildings or firing rifles at foreign ships.

And we find it difficult to believe that law enforcement agencies can't find the culprits responsible for some 38 bombings in Dade County since Jan. 1.

More reasonable members of the Cuban community deplore the lawless attacks, many of which are perpetrated by a Cuban Power group, or exiles who claim to be banded together to forcefully demonstrate their displeasure with local affairs.

Miami is overrun with agents of the U.S. government, representing the CIA and the FBI. These are in addition to the local police forces and it seems most unusual that only a handful of suspects have been turned up in recent explosions. (None of these have been accused of bombings, but rather are charged with illegal possession of explosives.)

We're not experts in making bombs, but it is rather common knowledge that the explosive material used in many of the bombings is made exclusively for the U.S. military. It would seem that the CIA, FBI and the military intelligence agencies, with their vast resources, could at least plug the leak in the explosives, and maybe even discover who is using them for these non-military purposes.

Copyright (c) 1968 The Miami News

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Miami News, September 23, 1968, "Cuban Exiles Living with 'Reign of Terror'" by Terry Johnson King


Miami's Cubans are living with a reign of terror that, so far, has been largely confined to their own neighborhoods and businesses. Almost daily now, incidents are reported locally as anti-Castro factions drown their sorrows and vent their frustrations in dynamite and C-4 plastic explosives.

It has been an escalating war. It started with smoke bombs and tear gas being tossed into festive gatherings among Cubans, set off by malcontents who said the exiles had no business having parties while their country was in the hands of Communists.

From there it grew. Dynamite was tossed into stores that sent drugs to Cuba - they were "trading with the enemy" when they sent badly-needed supplies of penicilin and antibiotics to the aged and infirm in that country.

Then it was C-4 plastic bombs - a sophisticated weapon, and too sophisticated, it turned out, for the clumsy terrorists. It was a long time before they could figure out how to make the things go off.

And finally into such advanced warfare as sniping of a Polish ship in Miami's harbor last week; and the increase in bombings of commercial establishments which do not "cooperate" with the terrorists.

Miami Police Chief Walter Headley says much of the bombing is done for extortion. Merchants are asked to contribute to the counter-revolutionary causes. If they don't, they quickly learn the consequences. Cuban sources say extortion has nothing to do with it - it is simply a "philosophical' method of keeping the community in line, supposedly so it can fight the tyranny of Castro.


Also fanning the flames of near civil war that brews in Cuban neighborhoods are the extreme right-wing exile publications. Chief of these is a newspaper, "Patria," which is commonly supposed to exist on money from Batista.

In addition there are bulletins, magazines, other papers, newsletters - published here, in California, New York and Mexico - which deify the terroristic strikes against non-cooperators, either here or elsewhere.


Copyright (c) 1968 The Miami News

Monday, January 23, 2012

Evening Independent, September 20, 1968, "Cuban Power Names Head" by The Associated Press

MIAMI - A blackhooded figure identified as "Ernesto," mastermind of the mysterious exile terrorist band, Cuban Power, announced the appointment today of anti-Castro militant Orlando Bosch as the group's spokesman.

The announcement was made at a midnight news conference to which reporters were taken blindfolded. They were driven around aimlessly through streets for 30 minutes before being led into a room where the hooded "Ernesto" sat. After the session, newsmen were blindfolded again and driven away.

Ernesto said Cuban Power has been bombing ships and planes of countries dealing with Cuba but disclaimed any part in an epidemic of explosions in Miami, New York, Los Angeles and other cities.

Ernesto told his news conference that he would now "go to some country in this hemisphere to fulfill a certain mission."

Bosch is the leader of a group called the [Insurrectional Movement of Revolutionary Recovery] - MIRR. He has a long record of U.S. arrests for anti-Communist activity, but no convictions.

Copyright (c) 1968 The Associated Press

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

St. Petersburg Times, September 17, 1968, "A Little Cannon Blast Dents Docked Freighter" by Times Wire Services

MIAMI - A freighter from Poland was shelled by a small cannon while docked in Miami yesterday and the leader of a secret terrorist group, Cuban Power, promptly claimed responsibility.

The Coast Guard said the hull of the 407-foot freighter, Polanica, was hit about seven feet above the waterline by a missile that caused a dent the size of a pie plate. Nobody was hurt.

Several hours after the shelling, a telephone caller who said he was the mysterious "Ernesto" of Cuban Power, said his group had fired the shell "as the only response from freedom loving people to the atrocious invasion of Czechoslovakia by the imperialist Communists."

"I've just arrived from Mexico and I personally fired the shot," the caller told a Spanish-language radio station in Miami (WFAB).

In another mysterious phone call, "Cuban Power" claimed the weapon employed was a 57-millimeter recoilless rifle.


Copyright (c) 1968 St. Petersburg Times

[More from The Miami News]
The Miami News, August 9, 1968, "Cuba Group Claims Bombing of British Cargo Ship"

A British cargo ship here was blasted by an explosion yesterday afternoon, and Cuban exiles immediately took credit for the incident. The 210-foot Caribbean Venture, out of Newcastle, England, was tied to Pier 3 at the time.

Miami Fire Chief Henry Christen said the blast which injured none of the crew - may have been caused by a plastics explosive called C-4.

Later, a spokesman for the Cuban exile organization that calls itself "Cuban Power" phones news media and claimed it had mined the ship. The mine, he said, was supposed to go off ofter the ship had gone to sea, but exploded prematurely.

The blast ripped a hole in the hull causing the ship to take on water and settle six feet, but the Coast Guard said there was no danger of its sinking.

Cuban exiles here are bitter at Britain's continued trading with Fidel Castro's government.

Copyright (c) 1968 The Miami News