Friday, April 28, 2006

U.S. Backed His Plan to Raid Cuba, Man Says

By Lance Pugmire, Times Staff Writer
April 28, 2006

The Upland man accused of selling guns illegally from his home said in a jailhouse interview Thursday that some of the weapons were covertly supplied to him by the U.S. government, intended for an attempt to overthrow Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

Police say felon Robert Ferro had 1,571 firearms and some hand grenades stashed inside secret compartments and hidden rooms he built inside the sprawling foothill estate. He was arrested last week after a search of his home in connection with another case uncovered the weapons.

But in an interview Thursday, Ferro, 61, contended that some of the high-powered weapons — including assault rifles, silencer-equipped handguns and Uzis — were supplied to him by the U.S. government. He said the weapons were supposed to be used in an attempt to oust Castro that would have coincided with U.S. Navy operations being conducted in the Caribbean Sea.

"Obviously, now it will not take place," Ferro said. "Those guns I had were very sophisticated weapons. It was for a fight. I was just trying to mimic what President Bush has done in Iraq, bring freedom to the country...

"We fight for freedom," he said. "I'm advocating the same thing President Bush is doing in Iraq for my country, that's all. I don't know why I'm in trouble for that."

Ferro, who says he's a member of a Miami-based group, Alpha 66, that advocates the overthrow of Castro's regime, said Thursday that about 50 other U.S. citizens were scheduled to accompany him to Cuba, with further assistance coming from people inside Cuba.

FBI spokeswoman Laura Einmiller said her office was investigating the possibility that other anti-Castro sympathizers connected to Ferro had stashed weapons in their homes.

"Mr. Ferro's motives, and all aspects of what Mr. Ferro's statements have been — whether or not he was planning violent acts — are under investigation," she said. "No one else has been arrested in this matter."

Alpha 66 leader Ernesto Diaz said last week that Ferro was not a member of the group.

In the 1990s, Ferro was sentenced to two years in prison for possessing 5 pounds of the putty-like explosive C-4. In a 1991 raid, police said Ferro, then a licensed gun dealer, was arrested at the Upland home, where deputies seized an illegal assault rifle and semiautomatic shotgun. About 300 legal firearms were not confiscated.

Prosecutors in the 1990s case said Ferro was an Alpha 66 member training Mexicans at a Pomona chicken ranch he owned for a Castro overthrow attempt.

18 Comments:

Blogger Mark D. Glesne said...

Sometimes I hear voices too.

5:32 PM  
Blogger jsb said...

Meanwhile, Castro continues to crackdown as his socialist experiment fails:

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-revolution30apr30,1,1954966.story?coll=la-headlines-world

It's pretty pitiful when socialism means you have to outlaw someone giving a commuter a lift on his bicycle for a peso. Readers, that's the world that Matt is proposing for you and me. Remember that when you read this blog.

Oh, and when you read this, remember that most people in Cuba aren't allowed to read this. That's the world Matt is proposing for us all. Slavery to socialism at any cost.

7:27 AM  
Blogger Mark D. Glesne said...

GREAT FIND J.SCOTT!!

8:45 AM  
Blogger Mark D. Glesne said...

I've always challenged my dear cousin Matthew to truly live out his political convictions and move to Cuba for an extended period of time.

He of course hears this argument often and considers it intellectually void. However, I would argue that it is intellectually honest for - as he puts it - "a proud socialist from Chicago" to show us how truly proud of this system of government he is and submit himself to it.

But alas, my passionate 2nd cousin refuses! Regardless, he continues to live in capitalist America, collecting a paycheck every other week from a capitalist government and moving from one job to the next so that he can work his way up the pay scale!

If you ask me, he's proving our point for us every day. He has nothing but bad things to say about the US, but apparently believes that living in the US - with all our flaws - is still better than living in Castro's "socialist utopia."

Matthew, what say you?

10:35 AM  
Blogger jsb said...

Here's an even better article on the realities that Matt wants his readers to ignore:

http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/opinion/la-op-martinez30apr30,1,6125127.story?coll=la-news-comment

11:15 AM  
Blogger Mark D. Glesne said...

Another great find!! Matthew?

11:53 AM  
Blogger leftside said...

Sorry, away at Coachell...

Looks like the LA Times felt compelled to prove its anti-Cuba bonifides - after running the story this post was about (which was ignored by you 2) - and all the other good news coming out of leftist America (and bad news in US examples like Central America and Puerto Rico.

Carol Williams (the author of the 1st piece) is not a serious jounalist. She has proven many times she either does not care to find out the truth about Cuba or (like most other scribes given the plum Havana post) sees fit to put her career first - and not dare write anything original let along balanced, about Cuba. That means not quoting any actual Cubans, just American "Cuba scholors" in Miami or Washington DC. It means leaving out keys facts about the so-called crackdown on (US paid and organized) dissidents. It means having to artfully acknowledge that market reforms are the reason for the increased inequality in Cuba, but urging more of them nonetheless.

The story centers around the false notion that Cuba is faltering and that without Fidel, socialism will crumble. But since this is a given to the her publisher and editors, this "reporter" didn't think it was relevant to report on the plebicite 3 years ago where more than 90% of the people voted to make socialism irrevocable. There was no need to mention that Cuba (behind Venezuela) was the 2nd fastest growing economy in the region last year (and now probably #1 thanks to a 30% rise in domestic consumption last year). No need to mention the social gains that continue to amaze anyone who cares about such things - they were neve pared down despite the hardships in the early 90s. When they do mention the millions who routinely come out to support Fidel (like today), they say something crass about people doing it to save their jobs (a useful lie that has NEVER been proven).

The gross implication of this article is that recent stepped up efforts to curb corruption and reduce ill-gotten gains are a last grasp effort to salvage a rotten system. Martinez's slick opinion piece strays even further from reality, saying it was done in order to keep the Community Party's power. The simple truth, that these reforms are an honest attempt to correct the wrongs of (limited) capitalism tried during the 90s, is apparently not fit to print. That truth was very artfully hidden in both pieces.

As evidence of the "pitifullness" of Cuban socialism you cite the those using their bikes or cars as taxicabs. Sorry I didn't realize that was a God-given right. Maybe you can tell that to those arrested last year during the transit strikes here in LA for the same thing.

I think this is long enough but would be happy to expound on any ofthe multitude of half-truths and distortions offered in these pieces.

6:57 PM  
Blogger Mark D. Glesne said...

... but still no plans to move to Cuba?

=)

10:43 PM  
Blogger jsb said...

"Carol Williams (the author of the 1st piece) is not a serious jounalist"

Attack the messenger. Typical stalinist tactic.

"didn't think it was relevant to report on the plebicite 3 years ago where more than 90% of the people voted to make socialism irrevocable."

And Saddam got 99% of the vote in his country. Right... And even if they voted to make socialism irrevocable, were they voting to make banning information irrevocable? ...restrictions on travel irrevocable? ...restrictions on small businesses irrevocable? Matthew, they were voting to keep healthcare and education, not the post-revolutionary repression of Castro.

"they say something crass about people doing it to save their jobs (a useful lie that has NEVER been proven). "

Look at the crowds, they are mostly students who are let out of school. And anecdotal evidence on the ground from witnesses say that the other half are asked to attend by their employers.

"There was no need to mention that Cuba (behind Venezuela) was the 2nd fastest growing economy in the region last year "

When you go from nothing to anything, it's fast growth I suppose. But this has to do entirely with energy concessions from Venezuela, not from production in Cuba. You yourself can't analyze or prove anything because Cuba's numbers are kept hidden by the government. The U.N. stopped monitoring their "growth".

"curb corruption and reduce ill-gotten gains"

A guy...on a bicycle...giving someone a lift...for a peso. That is "ill gotten" or "corrupt" in the worldview of a communist, not a realist. Please. Let the little guy make a peso. Where's the harm?

And yes, why are you here if it's worse in L.A. than in Cuba? Objectively, aren't you better off in L.A. than you would be in Cuba?

7:03 AM  
Blogger jsb said...

As in Cuba, do you get more than one pound of chicken per month in L.A.?

8:37 AM  
Blogger leftside said...

Regarding chicken, the 1 pound per person per month is (part of) what is guaranteed - each month. But there are other places to buy chicken in pesos - I bought some with my Cuban friends... I think it cost about 40 pesos to feed all 5 of us (less than 2 dollars). Fried chicken is everywhere for like a dollar.

Yes, food is the biggest chunk of people's income in Cuba - but there are virtually no other fixed expenses as everything else is free. Plus most workers get heavily subsidized lunches. Kids are fed at school. The proof is in th pudding. Cuban children are healthier than our own and live just as long as we do. There is no hunger or food insecurity, unlike what you can say here.

Mark, about moving there (again), I'll simply say that not everywhere that I think is "better" is feasible to live. For example, I'd prefer Portland or Brooklyn, but its not in the cards ya know. Moving is not easy, particularly to a place where one does not speak the language - or where my specialized degree in (US) city planning is not relevant. But I would actually love to live there sometime in my life.

And there is no "banning of information" or "banning of travel." The only thing not allowed are US funded websites. Satellite dishes were everywhere when I was there. I have a picture of one right on the main Prado street. There are restrictions on a couple classes of occupations that are deemed necessary to regulate - such as brain surgeons, etc. But we are the ones who do not allow people to enter this country based on their politics. Before we complain about the one so-called dissident not allowed to go collect an award, we should look at why we deny scientists, musicians and anyone with a good word to say about Castro from entering the US. Also, we are the ones who limited the # of visas to 20,000 a year. Castro even allowed those "bridge to nowhere" rafters back into America to emigrate.

12:56 PM  
Blogger jsb said...

The satellite dishes you saw are ILLEGAL in Cuba and there are more and more reports of the dishes being confiscated. Bring a satellite dish, receiver and card with you the next time you go to cuba and try to give it to somebody. I dare you. You will be arrested at the airport.

OAS Report on Human Rights in Cuba:

http://usinfo.state.gov/xarchives/display.html?p=washfile-english&y=2006&m=May&x=200605021640301xeneerg0.8084223&t=livefeeds/wf-latest.html

"I think it cost about 40 pesos to feed all 5 of us "

That's because you had 40 pesos. The average wage earner in Cuba could not have done the same. Let's do a survey next time you're in Cuba. Seriously. Ask. "How often to you have meat on the table for dinner."

The idea of you moving to Cuba isn't that you should want to live there. It's that you support a system in Cuba that you wouldn't want for yourself. It's hypocrisy.

Cuba will be free one day. And you will learn that your support for a dictatorship, government controlled media, denial of access to information, restrictions on small business, arresting people for "pre-criminal dangerousness," owning and lending books and for independent journalism was misguided at best.

Despite your support, the cuban people will reject marxist economic philosophy once Fidel is dead. The people are more fidelista than marxist if anything.

Long live the counterrevolution.

9:10 AM  
Blogger jsb said...

Also, do your readers know that cubans aren't allowed to stay at the beach resorts and major havana hotels? You might want to explain that to them.

9:27 AM  
Blogger jsb said...

Your readers might be interested in The Ladies in White:

http://www.macon.com/mld/macon/news/world/14489281.htm

or how Castro goons beat up a female activist:

http://www.asambleasociedadcivilcuba.info/noticias/galeria_Represion2006.htm

That's Matt's revolution.

9:33 AM  
Blogger jsb said...

Cuba second only to China in number of jailed journalists...

http://www.dominicantoday.com/app/article.aspx?id=13037

Matt supports this.

9:45 AM  
Blogger Mark D. Glesne said...

What say you, Matthew?

(I suppose you're going to tell us that the issue at hand is not how many journalists are in jail, rather, it's about how many are actively trying to escape. Right?)

=)

3:33 PM  
Blogger leftside said...

JS: I can't try your experiment because My government doesn't allow me to travel there, nor buy anything on any Cuban's behalf. My government also spends my money producing obvious propoganda for satellite TV, in addition to the time and money wasted in planning and organizing "democratic transition," of which media manipulation is a big part. As a result, satellites are under a don't ask don't tell policy. But as the AP recently reported (can't find the link), it is US companies who recently became Cuba satellite viewers worst enemy - not Castro - by making their pirated cards non functional. Again, when the US stops

Regarding food again, I don't know how much eat they eat. Probably not as much as us, but is that necessarily a bad thing. Studies have shown Cuban caloric intake is better than a relatively richer (capitalist) country like Mexico (it has improved remarkably since the "special period" in the early 90s), Red meat may be a status symbol in the US, but that does not make it good or healthy... should we also take pride in our gigantic amounts of food waste and high rates of disease?

You paint a picture of devastation in Cuba that does not exist. Most have bank accounts - and actually save money. People are well fed, well housed, well clothed and well taken care of. Again, no hungry, no homeless, no destitute, no abandoned... Everything one needs besides food is basically free.

There's no hypocrisy. Cuba has had to adopt some extreme measures. But it is impossible to compare the defensive measures Cuba has had to adopt with those of ideal socialism. A country shouldn't need worry about a Superpower 90 miles away bent on regime change for 50 years, one that has tried hundreds if not thousands of murderous plots and secret schemes to bring the Revolution down. One that spends enormous amounts of energy trying to organize and finance an "opposition"
that would allow us to re-establish an exploitable foothold. The people of Cuba don't want that and expect their government to enact defensive measures.

By now you should know darn well Cuba has not arrested anyone for books, or for writings or for thoughts, or for journalism. "The 75" (now 60) in jail you are referring to (lets say it together) were arrested for their (often direct) relationships to foreign powers. Their court documents are online. These are the majority of your so-called journalists in jail. Mind you none in jail had a real journalistic background, nor were any working for a non-foreign funded organization. Most sent articles to Cubanet.org.

The hotel thing is not what you hear from Val and them either. Again my own personal experience contradicted what'd I'd read. A Cubano walked straight into the Hotel Nacional with us - the most exclusive joint in Havana - and showed us all around w/ no hassle (try that in Miami Beach). And another Cubano then ate breakfast with us one morning at the Hotel Vedado - he was from Holguin on business. I asked him about Cubans and hotels and he said rooms at certain hotels are held for tourists at dollar rates but that many rooms then went to Cubans for pesos if they were not full.

The Ladies in White (a dozen or so wives of "the 75") are an example of another area where you are wrong, when you say there's no freedom of expression in Cuba. Here is a group that goes out and has political marches each and every Sunday - without Government hassle. If their neighbors object to their action, which earned a European human righs prize, then they have a right to protest as well. What apparently happened last to Mrs. Beatriz is sad. Not to excuse it, but the anger many in Cuba feel due to her anti- activities is real (she was on her way to meet the US Ambassador, she's testified in favor of the harsh measures against US family visits and remittances Bush enacted, began the push for the damaging Helms-Burton law, hosted a "dissident" conference last year, etc.) But even she has not alleged a government role in the incident.

2:24 AM  
Blogger jsb said...

You're a true believer.

9:18 AM  

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