Pepe Hernandez, current President of the Cuban-American National Foundation (CANF - the 'mainstream' Cuban exile group in the US), has been named as the leader of a clandestine group that bought explosives and vessals as part of a plan to overthrow the Cuban Goverment. The source is reliable - an ex CANF Board member, who implicates much of the top CANF past and present leadership.
All I can say is wow. Wow. Let's see how the press treats the story of a terrorist heading up one of the most influential groups in America.
BY WILFREDO CANCIO ISLA
A former board member of the Cuban American National Foundation says he and other CANF leaders created a paramilitary group to carry out destabilizing acts in Cuba and do away with Cuban ruler Fidel Castro.
Jose Antonio Llama, known as Toñin, told El Nuevo Herald that the arsenal to carry out these plans included a cargo helicopter, 10 ultralight radio-controlled planes, seven vessels and abundant explosive materials.
''We were impatient with the survival of Castro's regime after the fall of the Soviet Union and the socialist camp,'' said Llama, a key financial backer of the plot in the early 1990s. ``We wanted to accelerate the democratization of Cuba using any possible means to achieve it.''
The plans failed after Llama and four other exiles were arrested in Puerto Rico in 1997 on charges of conspiracy to assassinate Castro during the Ibero-American Summit on Margarita Island, Venezuela. A jury acquitted them after a federal judge threw out one of the defendants' self-incriminating statements.
The Cuban government has long claimed CANF planned armed attacks on the island, but up until now, none of its claims have been documented. Llama has been handing out pamphlets in Miami detailing the purported plot. On Wednesday, Granma -- Cuba's government newspaper -- published a story on the pamphlets.
''This is the truth -- The only thing I have left at this point in life is the truth,'' said Llama, 75. ``I am asking for what's due to me, nothing more and nothing less, to take it to bankruptcy court. Where are the vessels and planes I financed with my money? Where did they end up? Who has the original titles?''
Llama showed El Nuevo Herald financial records used to buy the equipment.
Llamas paid Nautical Sports $869,811. The purchase of the seven vessels equipped with satellite radio and phones, including the Midnight Express fast boat, was guaranteed through this front corporation, created in 1993, he said. That 40-foot motorboat was meant to take Mas Canosa to Cuba if Castro died or there was a sudden change of power, he added.
Llama remembers that the project started to take shape during CANF's annual meeting in Naples in June 1992. He said businessman Miguel Angel Martinez of Puerto Rico proposed the idea of ''doing more than lobbying in Washington'' to overthrow Castro. About 20 of the foundation's most trusted leaders agreed and designated Jose ''Pepe'' Hernandez, the current CANF president, and Mas Canosa to choose the armed group.
''It was agreed that since this was a delicate matter, details about the paramilitary group would be discussed in petit comite [a small committee],'' Llama said. ``At the meeting that board members and trustees held the following year  in Puerto Rico, the chosen ones started to meet and consider everything that needed to be bought.''
To buy explosives, the group used businessman Raul Lopez, an anti-Castro exile involved in infiltration operations in Cuba in the 1960s, Llama said. Lopez owned a company authorized to purchase explosives to open up sewage canals for South Florida's sugar industry.