The Miami Terrorists and the Fascist Coup in Chile

By José Luis Méndez Méndez on September 9, 2023

photo: Diario Uchile / Radio Universidad de Chile.

In 1964 fascist groups of anti-Cuban terrorists had proclaimed an attempt against the interests and personnel of Cuba outside the territory of the United States, this form of aggression was called “war by the ways of the world”, its promoters were the terrorists Felipe Rivero Diaz and his second the lawyer Miguel San Pedro of the Cuban Nationalist Movement (MNC) installed in the states of New York and New Jersey, it was founded in New York in November 1959. Its political platform from its beginnings was terrorism and its philosophy was fascist.

The “war on the roads of the world” constituted an escalation of aggression, a new modality increased by the activity of traditional terrorist organizations. If in the 1960s, 731 actions were carried out against Cuban coasts and ships and 156 terrorist acts in the United States and other countries, in the 1970s, this proportion varied radically to 16 and 279, respectively.

This new strategy turned out to be a desperate resource to maintain a climate of belligerence that was rapidly losing its grip, after the repeated failures to impose itself by means of terror. This situation worsened with the impact in the area of the consolidation of the revolutionary process in Cuba at the end of the sixties, and the advance of the process of integration of the emigrants to the North American society when they appreciated the definitive nature of these changes.

The first of the groups that assumed, as its main tactic, this terrorist modality was the MNC, an organization of declared fascist orientation. Its founder, Felipe Rivero Díaz, a dramatically picturesque figure of the counterrevolution, was a descendant of one of the most renowned families of the Cuban oligarchy, symbolically the owners of the Diario de la Marina. This media distinguished itself for its commitment to Spanish colonialism and for representing the most conservative interests of the pre-revolutionary, pro-imperial society.

This promoter of fascism participated in the defeated Bay of Pigs invasion, for which he was criticized because the terrorist groups related to him advocated more violent methods of struggle.

With this endorsement, upon his return to the United States, he gathered a group of young residents, mostly in the northeast of that country, and called for the aforementioned “war on the roads of the world”, thus defining a strategy of terror against Cuban officials and facilities abroad and against anyone who supported the Cuban government.

The previously mentioned Rivero Díaz was convicted of an attack against the World Fair, Expo 67 in Montreal. He was arrested and later released, moved to Miami, adopting the status of patrician and ideologue of Cuban fascism, a current favored by the coup d’état in Chile in September 1973. Years later, he explained the impact this event had on them: “I thought about what kind of help the Chileans could give us, perhaps a statement calling the MNC the hope of Cuba. Chile was our pretty boy, a darling in the Cuban community. If we could get him to say we were the best, we would have been the new leaders of the Cuban exile movement, slapping our rivals in the face in the Cuban community.”

His hope was not unfounded. The coup d’état in Chile was celebrated by the Cuban counterrevolution and the fascination was such that, in 1975, the Bay of Pigs Veterans Association decorated the genocidal Augusto Pinochet with the Medal of Freedom, an infamous distinction not awarded to any other foreigner.

Fascism was spreading throughout the Latin American Southern Cone and the Chileans articulated an offensive of terror in which the repressive bodies of Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay were integrated, as well as fascist paramilitary groups from various countries. Cuban terrorists also found an ideal scenario for their misdeeds in Operation Condor. A report by the FBI representative in Argentina in 1976, Robert Scherrer, stated that the military government of Chile maintained a “special relationship” with the anti-Castro Cuban groups, which included joint assassination missions. According to this report, Chile had offered them the kind of support received from the CIA.

FBI sources described a program in which the Chilean junta undertook to recognize a Cuban government in exile, based in Chile, and to supply weapons, explosives, training and shelter for fugitives.

The MNC joined this scheme and participated in several attacks in the service of the Chilean regime; among them, the assassination of General Carlos Prats Gonzalez and his wife Sofia Cuthbert in Argentina, the criminal attempt against Christian Democrat leader Bernardo Leighton Guzman and his wife Ana Fresno in Rome and the assassination of Orlando Letelier and young American Ronni Moffit on September 21, 1976 in Washington, very close to the White House. The latter attack led to the arrest and conviction of three of the MNC’s top operatives, but they were later released after serving lenient sentences.

Two others involved went on the run and lived clandestinely in the United States for nearly 15 years. Guillermo Novo and Alvin Ross Diaz, initially sentenced to life imprisonment, later appealed their sentences and were released.

Several terrorist groups also made contact with the Chilean junta; among them, the one led by Orlando Bosch Ávila, a pediatrician with a gangster background, who joined the counterrevolution early in the activities of the Insurrectional Movement for Revolutionary Recovery (MIRR), and supported a band of rebels that operated in the Cuban mountainous area of the Escambray, in the center of the country, from mid 1960.

This terrorist quickly left the country to become its delegate abroad. He then received training from the CIA, which assigned him to terrorist operations against Cuba. He was not included in the Bay of Pigs operation and dedicated himself to carry out attacks against Cuban coasts and ships. In 1966 he was accused of extorting money from emigrants in Miami and was arrested by the Collier Country police when six bombs were found in the trunk of his car. In 1968 he was sentenced to 10 years in prison for firing a bazooka against the Polish ship Polanica, docked in the port of Miami.

While still in prison, he founded Poder Cubano, an organization based in Miami, New York and California, whose express objective was to act against anyone in the United States who supported negotiations with Cuba or supported other causes considered leftist; among them, opposition to the war in Vietnam.

That same year, Poder Cubano carried out bombings against the consulates of Spain, Mexico, Canada, Japan and Yugoslavia in New York; against a Mexican tourist agency in Chicago; the Cuban embassy in Japan, and placed 28 bombs in Miami, among them, in a Mexican airplane, in the residence of the British consul, in the Chilean consulate, in the Air Canada office and in agencies that sent packages to Cuba.

According to FBI detective Fernando Mata, the Novo Sampoll brothers were also part of the group that placed a bomb on a TWA airplane in Los Angeles, California, an act of terror credited to the criminal, Jose Duarte Oropesa, who claimed to be the head of Poder Cubano in California.

In spite of this terrorist record, Bosch was paroled in 1972, his release from prison coinciding with a campaign of reorganization of corruption in the counterrevolution that had one of its most violent expressions in the assassination of one of its leading figures at the time, José Elías de la Torriente Ajuria, on April 12, 1974, for which Bosch is interrogated, and the placing of a bomb in the car of Ricardo Mono Morales, Cuban counterrevolutionary, CIA agent, who also turned out to be an informant of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and testified against Bosch in the trial in which he was convicted.

The extremist violated his parole, illegally left the United States and created the terrorist organization Acción Cubana. He immediately started a campaign to raise 10 million dollars, three of which would be destined to pay a reward to whoever would assassinate the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz. To be continued…

José Luis Méndez Méndez is a university professor and writer of books including The Operation Condor against Cuba and Democrats in the White and the Terrorism against Cuba. He is a contributer to Cubadebate and Resumen Latinoamericano

Source: Cuba en Resumen