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.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

US Interferes in Nicaraguan Election

Look at the happy masters and servants

In an act of blatant State Dept. Hypocrisy, the US diplomatic corps on Tuesday unabashedly inserted itself into the November election for the Nicaraguan Presidency. Former Reagan "enemy #1" Daniel Ortega holds a growing lead in a race the Bush Admin. has seen as strategically critical for its ambitions in Central America - and represents an affront to much of State's Latin team who broke laws to fight the Reds there 20 years ago.

Despite all the US BS about a "creeping (FSLN) coup" and telling voters to "continue to reject discredited... dictators like Daniel Ortega," (Ortega leads polls, was elected President in1984, and gave up power peacefully in 1990) the real story is in the meeting.

As Reuters reported, the US envoy met Tuesday with the real discredited (right-wing) leaders in Managua. The told them, just like in 1990 that they ought to unite behind one candidate.

I don't believe the US has the clout it used to, so the task of forcing candidates in other countries we barely pay attention to any other time of year to quit, is not easy. It is the hypocrisy that gets me. You can read 33,000 media articles about the US claiming "meddling" when Pres. Chavez in Venezuela dare to voice have a meeting with a candidate that he be borders (Humala in Peru), but there is just 1 (wire) report about this blatant interference that would not be tolerated in Iraq. What is truly head-spinning is that they interfere in coutries elections in the name of (what else) "promoting democracy."

Could it be more clear that the establishment's foreign policy is based completely on happy lies; That the failure of the Washington consensus is becoming too hard to hide? Are the two questions related? What does the US have to fear to justify this interference? Hate Ortega all you want but what makes the US think it is above its own "democratic" criteria and can get away with such blatent hypocrisy?

Monday, April 10, 2006

Peru: Humala Widens Lead, Garica in 2nd

It now appears clear, two leftists will battle it out for the Presidency of Peru, amazingly shutting out pro-business candidate Lourdes Flores. Maverick indigenous nationalist Ollanta Humala has won the first round of voting, and will proceed to a run-off against, in likelihood, against former President Alan Garcia.

The Western press (and (markets) are aghast. Lead paragraphs describe Humala as a "firebrand," "populist," political neophyte, "demagogue," "gruff, polarizing," "former army leader" - and worst of all "Chavez ally" (when he gets a phone call from Castro, they'll too be best friends). To Reuters, he is someone who "rallied the poor and angered the rich" - a "nightmare" says the lone "expert" quoted in the liberal Mercury News. For this impending doom we can thank the "Indians" (who resent the Europeans) says the Seattle Times headline, .

Sensing the dampening tone in the initial press reports, and after being attacked in the polling station by violent thugs, Humala felt compelled to direct his first words at foreign businessmen: "Let's be clear. Nationalism isn't the same as nationalizing companies, it's a love of your country. We are not going to expropriate anyone's business," said Humala at his campaign headquarters in Lima. "We are going to respect private property and guarantee investment. We don't want a traumatic shock in Peru or to deepen our divisions," he added.

Former President Garcia is the real wild card here. His presence in the race was barely mentioned by the press until a few days ago week when his poll numbers surged. His support, from the rural poor, overlaps Humala's, meaning the Lima vote is critical. Polls apparently had Humala just behind Garcia in a face to face, but I think in the end they will side with the devil they don't know rather than the devil they do.

The US has pretty much stayed out of this race (smartly), counting on a 2nd place spot for Flores. Polls showed Flores then easily taking the Presidency at this key moment in history. Combine this and Berlosconi's apparent defeat, with even more troublesome elections looming in Mexico, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Venezuela, etc. and you can understand why the US bowed out of the Human Rights Commission voting. The pesty impoverished people once again had other plans.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

2 Tragic Stories About Cuban Adjustment Act

Last week indebted Cuban-Americans tried to make some quick money by smuggling Cubans out of that country, to Mexico, from where they would head to the US. Unfortunately, the speedboat drivers ignored orders to stop and instead rammed the Cuban border patrol vessal, nearly toppling it. Cuban border patrol agents opened fire and one of the smugglers was killed.

Yesterday we hear of a story that shows clearly the inhumanity of our immigration laws, particularly how they discriminate against everybody but Cubans, who are granted US citizenship within a year automatically. 43 Haitians, 1 Cuban and 1 Jamaican were found and detained when a boat crashed into an upscale Florida beach town. Most of the immigrants were being processed for return to their countries, but the Cuban probably will be allowed to stay in the United States. Under the Cuban Adjustment Act, Cubans who make it to U.S. soil typically qualify for permanent residency a year later.

These stories happen every day. More Haitians are caught at sea than Cubans lately and they are unceremonously shipped back to their desperate, lawless country where there are no jobs and political murders every day. "I'd rather spend 50 years in prison than be sent back to Haiti," said one detainee, Donald Joseph, 32. "Haiti has nothing." Another 15 year old who's father was recently killed and felt his own life was in danger for his family's former military connections will also likely be sent back.

But the Cuban will be allowed to stay. He will be given food, housing and job-training assistance - probably even help to learn English - on the US taxpayer dime. We fear the treatment returned migrants will be given in Cuba, but there is no evidence for any such discrimination.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Terrorist Posada May be Given US Citizenship

(From Walter Lippman's list)
Two weeks ago, Washington sent Posada a letter saying that he was a danger to the national security of the United States of America and now they're considering honoring his previous service by making him a naturalized U.S. citizen.

Apr. 05, 2006

Full American citizenship may be granted to Posada Carriles

Anti-Castro militant Luis Posada Carriles will be interviewed in the near future by the U.S. government to discuss his request for citizenship based on honorable services to the nation, his legal representative reported.

''I've received a call from Washington letting me know that officials from the Citizenship and Immigration Services bureau [USCIS] want to meet with my client on April 20'', attorney Eduardo Soto told El Nuevo Herald last night.

According to Soto, the said meeting would be held at El Paso, Texas, where Posada has been under arrest since May 17.

''It's good news for our case'', he added, and went on to say he's planning to file a motion this week to have Posada released on parole.

Granting citizenship to Posada, 78, could drastically alter his case and freeze the extradition process started by Venezuela. Any charges against the accused would then have to be tried in U.S. courts.

Soto filed his client's petition for citizenship last September in line with Section 329 of the Immigration Law, which allows
naturalization of people who have offered distinguished services while serving in the country's Armed Forces.

Posada served in the U.S. Army between 1963 and 1965 after being involved with the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961. During his time in the military, he was allegedly recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to train as a demolition expert....

"Allegedly recruited by the CIA"?? There are reams of documents linking the CIA through 1974. We know he was fired in 1967, then re-hired 4 months later. We know the dirty wars he fought on "our" behalf - in Venezuela, Guatemala, El Salvador, Cuba. We know the FBI and Justice Department charges against Posada and his bitter old Cuban associates. (google NSA Posada)

This phone call of the US offering to interview him in the middle of a extradition process, for US citizenship is more than a little mysterious. I can't believe the US would be this stupid, but maybe it has seen that the media will ignore it, so they are deciding to pay back an old friend (he has many in Washington.... Reich, Abrahms, Bush family).

Monday, April 03, 2006

BBC: Latin America: New Axis of Power?

The BBC has a whole new Inside Latin America section, which asks the questions How did the US Lose Latin America? What challenges does Latin America face? Is its relationship with the US changing? What are your thoughts on the future of the region?

There are the viewpoints of Noam Chomsky versus Otto Reich, Cuban-born propogandist, terrorist sympathyzer, coup plotter. They seperated the discussions unfortunately - a debate between these 2 would be quite a thing.

There's some good writing that you would never see in any American media outlet - too much America-skeptic truth about a place we still see as ours. The latest and most interesting piece is on Bolivia's Evo Morales - and his frustrating first months in office. Evo says, "You want to issue a decree to help the poor, the indigenous people, the popular movements, the workers... but there's another law. Another padlock. It's full of padlocks that mean you can't transform things from the palace... I feel like a prisoner of the neo-liberal laws." He hopes a constituent assembly - like Chavez did - will help make things possible. But the article warns of the upcoming showdown with the wealthy, oil company region of Santa Cruz (and speaks of buried guns and sabotage).

There's a piece on Chavez's recent call for stable $50 oil level, and the US Department of Energy report that showed at that level Venezuela would actually have the world's largest oil supplies (more than all the Middle East). It has the gall to mention these facts: "Mr Chavez is spending this on building infrastructure and increasing the minimum wage and improving health and education in the poor ranchos which surround the cities. Even his (Chavez's) opponents accept that (he) is extremely popular and will easily win the next presidential election in December."

Then there's another on the increasing Chinese influence in Latin America, paricularly Brazil. The US seems to be taking note of the reality, with State's Western Hemisphere chief Sec. Shannon's going East to visit Bejing. The purpose is to "negotiate the aprecise line which China must not cross in creating its new strategic alliance with Latin America, which has seen billions of dollars of Chinese money earmarked for infrastructure, transport, energy and defence projects there." The article ends with a primer on the Monroe Doctrine, which (R) Congressmen are not shy about defending.

I like reading the comments board, where the different view of the world by Americans and non is on full display.