CHAPTER 3 - PART 3
UNLEASHING THE CIA - PART 3
Democracy was introduced to Ecuador in 1960 when Jose Velasco Ibarra was elected president. Velasco ran as a moderate-liberal reformer who opposed communism. Once in power, Velasco refused to comply to United States demands to sever ties with Cuba and to clamp down on members of the Communist Party. Consequently, the CIA moved to undermine the Velasco government. The agency created the Ecuadorean Anti-Communist Front and clandestinely worked to spread anti- communist messages. The CIA also placed anti-Velasco articles in conservative newspapers across Ecuador. Agents worked with right wing organizations and organized demonstrations as well as infiltrating the army and working through officers to plan a coup to topple the Velasco government.
Some of the CIA's covert tactics failed. In March Bob Weatherwax, a CIA official, was arrested when he attempted to intervene in a pro-Velasco demonstration, and five of the president's supporters were killed. Additionally, two army colonels, who participated in the violence, were arrested.
By 1961, the CIA's ability to infiltrate Ecuador's military succeeded. In November the army called for Velasco's resignation and his vice president, Carlos Julio Arosemana succeeded him. Next the vacant slot for vice president had to be filled. The two top candidates included the vice president of the Senate, who was a CIA agent, and the moderate president of a major university. The CIA was able to distribute propaganda which associated the university president with the communist party. Consequently, the CIA official was named the new vice president, and the agency increased his salary from $700 to $1,000 a month.
But Arosemana refused to cooperate with the CIA, continuing to recognize the Castro government. After four months, the army soldiers, led by Colonel Ayrelio Naranjo, confronted Arosemana and gave him three days to sever ties with Cuba and to dismiss his Minister of Labor, a Socialist Party member.
More than a year later -- in July 1963 -- the Ecuadorean army surrounded the presidential palace, and Arosemana was forced to step down. The new military regime at once outlawed the Communist Party and civil liberties were suspended. Additionally, elections set for 1964 were canceled, allowing the military junta to remain in power.
President Kwane Nkrumah tried to terminate economic and military ties with Western nations and turned to Eastern Europe and the Third World in the early 1960s. As a result, the CIA began to coordinate an effort with Ghanian army officers in 1965 to topple the government. According to John Stockwell, a former CIA agent assigned to Africa, the agency recruited and supported dissident army personnel in a coup attempt.
On the eve of the coup, CIA officials lobbied superiors in Langley to approve the storming of the Chinese embassy. They argued that they would bomb the building and destroy any evidence which would implicate the CIA. But the CIA director refused to comply to their wishes. However, eight Soviet officials were killed in the coup, and dozens of others were deported to Moscow. Additionally, all Chinese and East German personnel were expelled from Ghana.
Nkrumah was replaced by a military junta which immediately was rewarded with a grant of over $100,000. All the government-owned businesses were turned over to the private sector, and American aid was funneled to the new junta. But Nkrumah's request for food supplies just four months before the coup was denied.
Michael Manley helped lead Jamaica to independence from the British in 1962, and ten years later he was elected prime minister on the Labour Party ticket. But he did not follow a pro-Western course, and thus his government became a threat to the United States. The Nixon administration opposed Jamaica's support for a number of reasons. First, Jamaica supported Angola's leftist MPLA guerrillas, Castro's Cuba, and the Soviet Union. Second, Manley proposed democratic socialist reforms. Finally, an American multinational corporation operated an aluminum plant on the island, and the White House believed that Manley would move to nationalize it. However, Manley promised to allow the American company to continue to stay in the private sector -- and in return the American ambassador to Jamaica promised Manley that the United States would not interfere in his government.
In December 1975, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger visited Jamaica and told Manley that his government would have to make some changes if it were to receive trade credits. At the time of the Kissinger-Manley meeting, the CIA was already making covert plans to topple his government. The agency began clandestine shipments of weapons to conservative opposition groups in Jamaica. The CIA used a number of pro-Castro Cubans, one of whom was Luis Posada Carriles who had been an officer in Batista's secret police before the 1959 revolution.
A month after Kissinger's visit, the United States increased its embassy staff in Kingston by seven people. The CIA also orchestrated a series of strikes in the transportation, electricity, and telephone industries in an effort to further destabilize Manley's government. In addition, the CIA hoped to instill more havoc by poisoning a shipment of flour from Germany. As the economy weakened and social unrest rocked the island, the American multinational firm, Revere Copper and Brass, shut down after just four years of operation in Kingston.
The CIA secretly funded the conservative Jamaica Labour Party which opposed Manley. The CIA planned anti-government demonstrations. The agency also infiltrated Jamaica's security forces, often times bribing members in an effort to assassinate the prime minister. Three attempts to murder Manley failed in the last half of 1976. James Holt, a CIA officer, was accused of plotting with the military to overthrow the government.
Nevertheless, Manley was reelected in 1976. However, in the next four years, Jamaica's economy continued to plummet. After much bloodshed in 1980, Manley was defeated in his reelection bid in by Edward Seaga of the CIA-sponsored Jamaica Labour Party.
Located 800 miles east of Kenya, the Seychelles were a former British colony of only 62,000 inhabitants on its islands. The United States maintained an air force base and satellite tracking station in the Seychelles until 1977 when a coup brought France-Albert Rene to power in 1977. A socialist, Rene immediately withdrew South African landing rights. However, after extensive lobbying by the American government, he allowed the United States to retain its military facilities on the islands.
Rene followed a neutral foreign policy. He refused to cozy up to the Soviet Union and sought to remove American military influence from the area. He opposed the United States presence in the Indian Ocean, particularly the huge American military facility nearby on Britain's Diego Garcia Island. Rene was motivated to make the entire Indian Ocean region a nuclear-free zone.
In the late 1970s, the United States and France plotted to overthrow Rene's government. A 1979 plot was aborted when it was discovered that a mercenary team planned to fly from South Africa to the Seychelles. But two years later, 40 mercenaries, disguised as members of a rugby team, flew from South Africa to Swaziland -- and on to the Seychelles. After they landed, police found weapons in their luggage and a gun battle followed.
The mercenaries escaped by hijacking an Air India plane and flew back to South Africa. Forty-four men -- 23 of whom were members of the South African Defense Force -- were placed on trial for air piracy in 1982 in a South African court. Four of them were released. One member testified the CIA had plotted the coup attempt in Pretoria. Of the 40 mercenaries who were convicted, nearly all served only four months in jail before being released in November 1982.
After World War II American security forces secretly moved the Nazi war criminal to several European cities, and finally in 1951 he was smuggled into Bolivia. Six years later the rightist dictator Victor Paz Estensorro fell out of good graces with the United States for refusing to send in the army to prevent a miners' strike. The CIA wanted Paz removed from power and recruited General Rene Barrientos Ortuno who, in turn, launched an attack on the presidential palace in 1964. Paz fled the country, and the CIA placed another general, Rene Barrientos Ortuno, in power. The American government sent in troops to assure control as well as bringing 1,600 military officers back to the United States for training. This group included the top 23 Bolivian Army generals. Barrientos placed Barbie in charge of the internal security force where he planned counterinsurgency operations.
When Bolivian tin miners walked off their jobs again, Barbie responded by squelching the strike. Over 100 miners were killed by Department 4 troopers. Barbie even launched an attack against Bolivian Indian tribes whom he considered genetically and culturally inferior. The Bolivian regime then handed out various oil rights to the United States Gulf Oil Corporation. Gulf Oil presented Barrientos with a company helicopter which reportedly under instructions of the CIA.
In 1966 and 1967, the CIA continued to pour in thousands of dollars to support a right wing regime in Bolivia. The agency justified its efforts in a memo. "Violence in the mining areas and in the cities of Bolivia has continued to occur intermittently, and we are assisting this country to improve its training and equipment." $800,000 of CIA funds went to directly into the pockets of Barrientos.
Barbie also continued to prosper by starting the Estrella Company which sold bark, coca paste, and assault weapons to a former SS officer, Frederich Schwend in Lima, Peru. Schwend had been trained by the OSS in the early 1940s after he had informed Allen Dulles that the German SS had hidden millions in gold, cash, and loot as the European war was winding down. Both Schwend and Barbie formed Transmaritania which was a shipping company that also generated millions of dollars in profits from the cocaine business. They purchased their weapons from another SS colleague, Colonel Otto Skorzeny who had been Hitler's favorite Stormtrooper, and who had started the Merex weapons business in Bonn after the war.
In 1969, Barrientos ironically was killed when his Gulf Oil helicopter crashed, and he was succeeded by General Ovando Candia and after one year by General Juan Jose Torres. However, Torres turned out to be a populist and exiled Cuban refugee Che Guevara and nationalizing foreign multinational corporations which included Gulf Oil. Therefore, the CIA had to strike once again. In a 1970 coup Torres was overthrown and was replaced with Hugo Banzer Suarez who had been trained at the School of the Americas in Panama. Immediately, Bolivia's universities were shut down and violent methods were carried out against leftist resistors.
Barbie stayed on with the new right wing dictatorship and was paid $2,000 a month for consulting services. Additionally, he continued to pocket millions of dollars from his drug enterprise and well as from his lucrative arms business. While Suarez oversaw a fast growing billion dollar drug trade, former Nazi Hugo Banzer and two top Army generals were actively involved in the trade. By the early 1970s Bolivia was controlled 80 percent of the world's coca fields, and most was exported to Colombian cartel laboratories including Barbie's Transmaritania. However, by 1975 Bolivia's economy began to plummet when over-production of the coca crop forced prices into a downward spiral. In 1975 the street price for a gram of cocaine was $1,500, and by the mid-1980s it had dropped to $200.
Democratic elections were sanctioned in 1980 since right wing officials expected an easy victory. However, rightist candidates were defeated, resulting in yet another coup influenced by the CIA and carried out by General Luis Arce Gomez. In July he hired the services of another fascist, Delle Chiaie who, along with Barbie, sent their hooded troops through Bolivian cities. Once again, dissenters were mowed down with machine gun fire, and the universities and trade unions were shut down. Labor union leader Marcelo Quiroga was hunted down and murdered. The next day General Garcia-Meza was picked as the new Bolivian dictator. He selected Barbie as head of the country's internal security division, and Delle Chiaie was picked to secure international support from Argentina, Chile, South Africa, and El Salvador. Thousands of opposition leaders were rounded up and herded into LaPaz's soccer stadium where they were killed en masse. In the mean time the new regime reached out to get the support of the United Nations and the United States, while it ruthlessly suppressed its opponents.
THE CIA'S REIGN OF TERROR AGAINST CUBA. Under Fulgencio Batista a rightist repressive regime controlled Cuba for decades. American trade flourished, and each year corporations profited immensely. While only a handful lived an opulent life style, the vast majority remained poverty-stricken, uneducated, and deprived of health care. In 1959, Fidel Castro organized a successful coup. With the help of Raul Castro and Che Guevera, the country's industries were nationalized. For the first time social and economic programs, to benefit the population as a whole, were introduced.
CIA involvement in Cuba dates back earlier than the Bay of Pigs fiasco in 1961. Since the overthrow of Batista, CIA sponsored attacks against Cuba began almost immediately. In October 1959 planes based in Florida ran strafing and bombing sorties in Cuba. At least three American pilots were killed in crashes, and two others were captured. However, the State Department acknowledged that only one American plane crashed, and that its flight was not authorized by the White House.
In December, the CIA initiated attacks against Cuban targets by land. Anything to damage the Cuban economy and morale was targeted. Oil refineries, chemical plants, railroad bridges, and sugar cane fields and refineries were sabotaged. There were pirate attacks on Cuban fishing boats and merchant ships, Soviet ships docked in Cuban ports, Soviet military camps, and hotels which housed Soviets and Eastern Europeans.
The first signs of deteriorating relations between the Cuba and the United States occurred in March 1960 when the Eisenhower administration revoked an export license for the sale of helicopters to Castro. By March 1960, it became official that Eisenhower sought to overthrow the Castro government in favor of a regime which was "more devoted to the true interests of the Cuban people and more acceptable to the United States," and that this had to be accomplished "in such a manner as to avoid any appearance of United States intervention." As part of CIA Operation Mongoose, a team of anti- Castro Cubans blew up a factory, and 400 civilians were killed.
In June, American aid to the Castro government was canceled. Two months later the quota for Cuban sugar was slashed, and consequently Castro nationalized all of Cuba's sugar on October 14. Political relations between Cuba and the United States quickly plummeted, and Castro withdrew half of his embassy personnel from Washington D.C. Then the United States severed all relations with Cuba on January 3, 1961.
Air power was essential to overthrowing the Cuban government, so Director Dulles approved the acquisition of Southern Air Transport for $307,506.10. The planes flew recruits to Guatemala for military training. Soon, the funding of the operations jumped to $1.8 million which was roughly twice of what was originally allocated.
In August 1960, Eisenhower approved Operation Pluto which first provided for the training of anti-Castro Cubans. Eisenhower authorized $13 million to pay for the operation. This began as a plan to infiltrate only a few dozen insurgents into Cuban jungles. On September 28 the CIA attempted to carry out "arms packs" drops for about 100 guerrillas. However, the CIA plane missed their mark by seven miles, and the supplies landed near a dam and were immediately recovered by Cuban troops.
Also during the summer of 1960, Cubans were being trained in Guatemala. The CIA station chief in Guatemala City reported that the agency needed to bring in prostitutes to pacify the Cuban recruits. In January 1961, a New York Times story broke, and it was reported that the CIA was training an exile army in Guatemala.
In the 1960 Presidential campaign Kennedy accused Eisenhower of threatening the security of the United States by allowing an "iron curtain" only 90 miles off the coast of Florida. Yet in April, even the White House admitted that most Cubans had a favorable opinion in regard to Castro. Only 7 per cent of Cubans expressed concerns about communism and only 2 per cent objected to the fact that Castro did not allow free elections.
After the inauguration of Kennedy in early 1961 the White House continued its terrorist policy of economic warfare against Cuba. The CIA devised JMARC, their plan for an invasion of Cuba, and Operation Pluto was revised to become a major invasion to include several hundred insurgents making a beachhead landing and covered by air support. The CIA knew that a small invading army of about 1,000 men could not overwhelm the Cuban military comprised of approximately 200,000 people. At first the plan was not to defeat Castro but to scare him out of office, similar to what the CIA had done to Arbenz in Guatemala seven years earlier.
A few isolated attacks in Cuba commenced in early 1961. On February 19, an American plane crashed while flying over an oil refinery in Matanzas province. On March 4, an explosion on the French ship La Coubre in Havana Harbor killed and injured over 100 people. Castro blamed the bombing on the United States; the Kennedy administration refuted the charges. A week later Castro expropriated the first three sugar plantations.
By early spring, the decision was made to invade Cuba. In May, the CIA recruited Cuban emigres primarily in the Miami area as well as experienced pilots, and the agency sent them to Fort Trax, Guatemala for training. Meanwhile the CIA flew missions over Cuba, and planes dropped supplies to anti-Castro guerrillas as well as propaganda leaflets. However, air-drops rarely found their designated targets. The CIA blamed the Cuban pilots who in turn became resentful of the CIA as were the guerrillas who needed the supplies. Additionally, Castro's G-2 intelligence agency began to infiltrate the guerrilla groups in the mountains. American agents also infiltrated Cuba from Miami in speedboats, but Castro's police were alerted and soon intercepted them.
By the summer of 1961, a large portion of the CIA plan had been decided upon. The CIA estimated that 2,500 anti-Castro Cubans were active on the island and that another 20,000 Cubans were sympathetic to a CIA invasion. Furthermore, the agency believed that 25 percent of the Cuban population would support an American-sponsored invasion. The CIA planners ultimately decided on the beachhead at Zapata swamp which was near the Bay of Pigs. However, this was relatively close to Castro's army in Havana, and the marshes would prevent the invaders from quickly establishing themselves in safe places. Furthermore, the Escambray Mountains were 50 miles away, and this would prevent the forces from seeking refuge in the hills. The plan called for landing troops and seizing a 40 mile long area including the Bay of Pigs, while American planes would fly in paratroopers several miles inland to contain Castro's forces. The CIA also hoped that the invaders could hold the beachhead for three days, and then they would be joined by over 500 anti-Castro guerrillas.
The CIA's objective was to destroy FAR, the Cuban air force which consisted of six B-26 bombers, four T-33 jet trainers, and perhaps as many as four British Sea Fury fighters. The Cuban planes were based in both Havana and Santiago. The CIA hoped to make it appear as if the attacks were carried out by Cuban pilots who had defected in FAR planes. However, the CIA planned the actual attack to be carried out by six American planes -- painted so as to make them appear as if they were FAR jets. The initial goal of the CIA was to strike six Cuban airfields. Subsequently, the number of bases was cut in half to three.
The land invasion was set for April 17, 1961. Two days before, American planes attacked and destroyed half of FAR. But the CIA attempted to make it appear as if Cuban B-26 bombers had conducted the air strikes. So the CIA flew in some bombers with FAR markings to a Miami airfield. The ex-Cuban pilot of one of the planes told the American media that he and other Cubans who had defected from FAR had carried out the mission.
Photographers snapped pictures of the B-26 bomber. Soon afterwards, an irate Castro lodged a complaint with the United Nations, claiming that the attacks had been carried out by the United States. Ambassador Adlai Stevenson denied American complicity and showed the photographs of the jets with FAR markings. But some important details were overlooked by the CIA in planning the covert operation. In scrutinizing the photographs, it was discovered that the machine guns of the bomber were taped and could not have been fired. In addition the nose assembly of the B-26 was different than that of Castro's bombers which had a plastic noses in which bombardiers could operate. Finally, it became very suspicious that such a coordinated attack on different the Cuban air force could be carried out simultaneously and successfully by a handful of disaffected Cubans. The CIA and President Kennedy were caught. Kennedy wanted to postpone the land invasion, but it was too late.
Landing ships hit the beach on April 15 at 6:30 am. Part of the plan was to divert attention away from the Bay of Pigs and convince Castro that an attack was being launched at another location which was 30 miles east of Guantanamo Bay. But the mission failed. One hundred and sixty-eight members of Brigade 2506 attempted to land on the beachhead at the Bay of Pigs, but they immediately encountered several problems:
1. At the last moment Kennedy authorized air strikes from Nicaragua. However, many of the Cuban pilots refused to fly.
2. Other air cover failed to materialize. In planning the invasion, the CIA forgot to calculate the one hour time zone difference between Nicaragua and Cuba. Navy jets still sat on the decks of carriers when the first wave of B-26 bombers flew over the beaches. Two were shot down.
3. The landing was seriously flawed because the beach turned out to be rocky and the seas were high.
4. The attack was carried out by American planes which successfully destroyed half of FAR. But the CIA attempted to make it appear as if Cuban B-26 bombers had conducted the air strikes. So the CIA flew in some bombers with FAR markings to a Miami airfield. The ex- Cuban pilot of one of the planes told the American media that he and other Cubans who had defected from FAR had carried out the mission.
5. American intelligence had told Brigade 2506 that they would meet no resistance. However, one hundred militia guarded at Giron and in that vicinity. After the air strikes just two days before, Castro was alerted to an imminent land attack, and consequently the Cuban army along with tanks was prepared for the encounter.
6. Four ships and two landing craft landed at the resort of Giron, also called Blue Beach. But the CIA had failed to detect reefs which made the landing difficult. Some of the landing craft were destroyed by the reefs, and the tide began to fall which made unloading difficult and at times impossible. Cuban planes sank the Houston and Rio Escondido. A communications van went down with one of the ships, making it impossible for hours for the different battalions to speak with one another.
7. Another landing zone was at Playa Larga also known as Red Beach. The battalion at Playa Larga and was in a much better to position to secure the area and to advance to the north. Because of the communications failure, they never received no orders to do so.
8. The CIA also estimated that 3,000 to 5,000 guerrillas as well as large numbers of Cubans would link up with members of Brigade 2506. But a mere 50 Cubans hooked up with the invading brigade.
Months later, the Green Board investigated the botched invasion at the Bay of Pigs. The board placed little or no blame on the CIA. The board refused to blame the CIA's intelligence for the debacle. Little or nothing was said about the poor planning which was conducted for only two days; about the CIA's failure to detect dangerous reefs and to report on the conditions of the tide; and about the CIA's prediction that there would be no Cuban resistance. The report stated, "We do not feel that any failure of intelligence contributed significantly to the defeat."
Hurt by the American trade embargo in place since January 1961, Castro proposed trading the Bay of Pigs prisoners for medicines, tractors, and spare parts. However, the missile crisis further dampened United States-Cuban relations, and negotiations were placed on the back burner. After the missile crisis subsided in October 1962, talks were once again renewed. Earlier, attorney James Donovan had engineered a plan to swap Soviet spy Rudolf Abel for U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers. Now Donovan negotiated with the Cubans. The United States agreed to provide $53 million worth of medicines, medical equipment, and baby food in exchange for the anti-Castro troops captured at the Bay of Pigs.
On December 22, 1962, 1,179 members of Brigade 2506 -- including 20 CIA agents -- were returned to the United States. At that time the CIA provided Donovan with a scuba diving suit to present to Castro. The diving suit was impregnated with a fungus to cause a chronic skin disease, and tubercule bacillus was placed in the breathing apparatus. Even though Donovan was unaware of the CIA's plot against Castro, the attorney replaced the tampered diving apparatus with a suit that he had bought himself.
OPERATION MONGOOSE. After the Bay of Pigs fiasco and the showdown over the Soviet missiles, covert operations against Cuba slowly diminished. Yet the Kennedy administration -- in conjunction with the Pentagon and CIA -- set up Operation Mongoose to continue to attempt to overthrow Castro. Only 128 ex-Cubans volunteered to participate in Operation Mongoose actions against Castro from early 1964 to mid-1965. Nearly 3,000 ex-Cubans had been trained by the United States, but only 61 continued in the American military. As a result the program to recruit and train anti-Castro Cubans was terminated in November 1965.
However, the CIA still instigated occasional attacks against the Cuban government until 1965. Then the CIA's attention was drawn to Vietnam where the escalation of the war first began as a result of the Tonkin incident in August 1964. By 1965 approximately 500,000 American troops were in Southeast Asia. Slowly, the Florida CIA offices began to shut down. Even though the CIA ceased to be a factor in waging attacks against Cuba, paramilitary groups consisting of exiled Cubans began to emerge. The paramilitary groups did their own recruiting, trained the recruits, and raised money to fund their covert operations.
After the Bay of Pigs debacle, Kennedy was ready "to splinter the CIA in a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds." This meant that he was not going to merely suggest legislation or issue an executive order to reform the agency. His apparent goal was to destroy the CIA. The president also stated publicly that no segment of the armed forces would participate again in an invasion of Cuba. He had supported Operation Mongoose only as a low profile covert program, even though he privately had favored the removal of Castro.
Kennedy proposed a three point emergency program to control the CIA. He fired most of the agency's high level officials and set up the Cuban study group to investigate the weaknesses of the CIA. Additionally, the president reduced the powers and jurisdiction of the agency and established strict limits as to its future operations. National Security Memoranda 55, 56, and 57 eliminated the ability of the CIA to wage war. The agency no longer was permitted to initiate any operation which required more firepower than the use of handguns.
Kennedy was faced with growing opposition among those in the CIA. CIA-sponsored military bases in southern Florida were not closed down. The CIA continued to organize, fund, and equip Cuban exiles, as it pushed for a military invasion of Cuba even before the detection of Soviet missiles on the island. In September the CIA stated that "the main purpose of the present (Soviet) military buildup in Cuba is to strengthen the communist regime there against what the Cubans and Soviets conceived to be a danger that the United States may attempt by one means or another to overthrow it." The next month this was confirmed by both the State and Defense Departments.
Kennedy's primary adversary was General Edward Lansdale, the CIA's liaison to Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. Then he moved on to become the chief of operations for implementing plans to destabilize Cuba. In October 1961, he CIA decided to send ten commando teams to Cuba to engage in sabotage. By the time the administration was informed, three teams had already been dispatched. The White House was furious and shortly afterwards Operation Mongoose was abolished.
Nevertheless, covert operations never did stop. Lansdale later shifted his attention to Southeast Asia and became the architect of the "strategic hamlet" concept in Vietnam where over a million Vietnamese farmers and workers were imprisoned.
"The Americans have surrounded our country with military bases and threatened us with nuclear weapons, and now they will learn just what it feels like to have enemy missiles pointed at you; we'dbe doing nothing more than giving them a little of their own medicine."
- Nikita Khrushchev
In 1969 and 197,0 the CIA attempted another measure to disrupt the Cuban economy. CIA planes flew over Cuban territory and seeded rain clouds with crystals in an attempt to cause severe storms and devastate sugar cane fields. The next year, the CIA administered a virus which contaminated Cuban exiles with swine disease virus African swine disease. When an epidemic broke out two months later in Cuba, 500,000 pigs were destroyed to avert a worldwide epidemic. According to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, this was the largest outbreak of an epidemic in the Western Hemisphere. In 1981, dengue fever swept across Cuba, and 300,000 cases were reported. This epidemic led to the death of 158 Cubans. Later a CIA declassified report stated that the United States Army was breeding mosquitos of the type which transmitted this same disease in 1958. In 1984 a Cuban exile testified in a New York federal court that he had engaged in covert chemical warfare activities to contaminate the Cuban economy.
The American presence in Guantanamo Bay was deeply disturbing to Castro. It had been an American military base since the invasion of Cuba in the Spanish-American War of 1898. In August 1962, a ship bound for the Soviet Union with 14,135 bags of sugar arrived in a San Juan, Puerto Rican port for repairs. The CIA successfully contaminated the sugar. A CIA official later stated that "there was lots of sugar being sent into Cuba, and we are putting a lot of contaminants in it." Also in 1962, a Canadian agricultural adviser to the Castro government was paid $5,000 by the CIA to infect Cuban turkeys with a virus which caused the fatal Newcastle disease. The adviser later claimed that he kept the money but did not administer the virus.
In 1969 and 1970, the CIA attempted another measure to disrupt the Cuban economy. CIA planes flew over Cuban territory and seeded rain clouds with crystals in an attempt to cause severe storms and devastate sugar cane fields. The next year, the CIA administered a virus which contaminated Cuban exiles with swine disease virus African swine disease. When an epidemic broke out two months later in Cuba, 500,000 pigs were destroyed to avert a worldwide epidemic. According to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, this was the largest outbreak of an epidemic in the Western Hemisphere. In 1981, dengue fever swept across Cuba, and 300,000 cases were reported. This epidemic led to the death of 158 Cubans. Later a CIA declassified report stated that the United States Army was breeding mosquitos of the type which transmitted this same disease in 1958. In 1984 a Cuban exile testified in a New York federal court that he had engaged in covert chemical warfare activities to contaminate the Cuban economy.
KENNEDY AND JOHNSON'S RELATIONS WITH CASTRO.In August 1999, Peter Kornbluh, a senior analyst at the National Security Archive, a research group at George Washington University, obtained a series of formerly classified 1960s documents on American-Cuban relations. Kornbluh released the documents in Cigar Aficionado. They showed that on February 12, 1964 -- just prior to the 1964 campaign -- Castro sent a verbal message through Lisa Howard of ABC News to Lyndon Johnson who was stationed in Havana. Howard relayed the message to United Nations Ambassador Adlai Stevenson.
The documents indicated that John Kennedy had placed high priority on a normal relationship with Cuba. In mid-November 1963, Castro was preparing to send instructions to his United Nations ambassador on a proposed agenda for official talks between Castro and an American emissary. Kennedy sent word to top aides that he was prepared to decide on next steps once the agenda was received. The date was November 19, 1963, three days before Kennedy's assassination.
Obviously, Castro wanted to keep this window of opportunity open with the United States after Kennedy's assassination. Castro told Howard less than three months later that he was eager for Johnson to prevail in the election. Castro invited Johnson to take "hostile action" against Cuba if it would be to his political benefit. The Cuban leader urged Johnson to continue an American-Cuban dialogue that Kennedy had initiated in the months before his assassination. Castro asked Howard: "Please tell President Johnson that I earnestly desire his election to the presidency in November ... though that appears assured. .... Seriously, I have observed how Republicans use Cuba as a weapon against the Democrats. So tell President Johnson to let me know what I can do."
Castro suggested that his offer remain secret unless it could be successfully used against conservative Republicans such as Barry Goldwater who won his party's nomination several months later. Castro said: "If the president feels it necessary during the campaign to make bellicose statements about Cuba or even to take hostile action, if he will inform me unofficially that a specific action is required because of domestic political considerations, I shall understand and not take any serious retaliatory action."
In June 1964, Castro proposed in an interview "extensive discussions of the issues dividing" Cuba and the United States. There were other contacts by Castro but the initiative stopped by the end of 1964.
Kornbluh did not have any evidence which suggested how Johnson reacted to the message. However, just weeks later a White House memo on March 4 rejected a State Department recommendation that Cuba would have to sever relations with the Soviet Union before the United States would normalize relations with Castro. The memo read: "We don't want to present Castro with a condition that he obviously cannot fulfill. We should start thinking along more flexible lines. The president, himself, is very interested in this one."
CIA ASSASSINATION PLOTS AGAINST CASTRO. Over a span of three decades the CIA was involved in a minimum of eight assassination attempts against Castro. Undoubtedly, the number of plots to kill the Cuban leader was considerably higher. In 1975, Castro gave Senator George McGovern a list which mentioned 30 different attempts on his life. Most of the plots involved the mafia and Cuban counter-revolutionaries who worked in close conjunction with the CIA. Originally, all of the schemes, except for one assassination plot, were aimed only at discrediting Castro personally. Then the CIA pursued a more aggressive avenue in attempting to remove Castro from power.
The first CIA orchestrated assassination attempt was planned shortly after the 1959 Cuban revolution. Allan Robert Nye landed his plane near Havana and, armed with a high powered rifle, waited at a hotel near the Presidential Palace for Castro to arrive at his office. However, he was spotted and arrested before Castro arrived. A month later in March, Rolando Masferrer Rojas, a former commander in Batista's death squads, contacted the CIA. Again the agency suggested a plot whereby Castro could be killed near his palace. CIA agents clandestinely contacted the gambling syndicate in Havana and got their approval. A month later, Rolando Masferrer, a former leader of Batista's death squads, met with CIA officials and mobsters in Miami to discuss other methods to carry out an assassination.
In December 1959, Colonel J.C. King, head of the Western Hemisphere Division of the CIA, sent a memo to Director Allen Dulles. King stated that in order to overthrow the Cuban government, Castro would have to be murdered. Meanwhile in Havana the CIA maintained a strong presence in its embassy. 20 operatives worked out of the American embassy and were able to make contacts with right wing sympathizers. The Anti-communist Workers' Militia (MAO) consisted of many anti-Castro workers who had moved on to Miami. Some of their officials proposed to CIA agent Robert Van Horn that Castro could be assassinated when he visited his Miramar. Two embassy agents then formed a commando group which was to carry out the murder attempt. This proposal was never accepted by the CIA. The attack was delayed until November 1960, but by this time members of MAO had been arrested by the Cuban government.
Operation Botin consisted of a plan of using psychological warfare using subversive radio stations and pamphlets. Materials were dropped along the Cuban coastline in plastic bags with straws inside to keep them afloat. The propaganda called on Cubans to assassinate Castro as well as other top leaders. A bounty of $150,000 was offered for Castro; $125,000 for Raul Castro; $120,000 for Che Guevara; and $100,000 for the president of the republic.
According to a document which was declassified in July 1997, CIA Director Dulles met with Hollywood mobster Johnny Roselli and his friend, Frank Sinatra in August 1960. Roselli immediately brought in Chicago gang leader Sam Giacana as well as Santos Trafficante who had overseen drug operations in Havana. The Cuban capital had been the key transfer point for large quantities of heroin which were produced by New York mafia leader Lucky Luciano and by Corsican syndicates in Marseilles. Luciano's closest confidant, Meyer Lansky, had offered to pay $1 million for Castro's life immediately after the 1959 revolution when Havana's gambling and drug operations were shut down.
According to a CIA memo, the mobsters were offered $150,000 "as a payment to be made on the completion of the operation." According to CIA operant Robert Maheu who hired Giacana, the mob insisted on doing the job for free. Former CIA director of security wrote that senior agency officials had approved the plot in August 1960. The CIA recommended a gangland style hit using machine-guns. However, Giacana suggested a poison pill which would be dropped into Castro's food or drink. The TSD laboratory at CIA headquarters devised six lethal botulinum pills which were concealed in a pencil as well as poisoned cigar, and they were delivered to Roselli. In February 1961 Trafficante took the pills to Havana and gave them to Jorge Orta, an official on Castro's executive staff and someone who owed gambling debts to the mobsters. However, Orta reneged in his promise to carry out the assassination.
In September 1960, the CIA planned to murder Castro when he visited the United Nations in New York City. In January 1961 and in early 1962, the CIA supplied lethal pills to gambling syndicate members. The pan was to dissolve the lethal pills in water, but the plot was aborted and the pills were recovered. In the second assassination attempt, the pills were passed on by mafia leaders to a Cuban exile in Florida who in turn sent them into Cuba in May. A team of three men were dispatched to attempt the assassination, but it also was aborted. The CIA attempted to put thallium salt into Castro's food and cigars so that his beard would fall out. In 1961, there was yet another attempt to poison his food with LSD just prior to a speech he was to deliver.
The CIA also plotted to contaminate the air of the radio studio where Castro broadcasted his speeches. The CIA's Sidney Gottlieb devised a plan to use an aerosol form of LSD and other "psychic energizers" which would circulate throughout the room. Another plot involved poisoning Castro's cigars. Gottlieb also developed these lethal drugs in his CIA laboratory. The poisoned cigars were given to CIA agent Jack Esterline, but this assassination was also foiled when the agency could not devise a way to get the cigar box delivered to Castro.
In 1960, the CIA devised a scheme to place thallium salts, disguised as foot powder, on Castro's night table in hopes that he would place the lethal powder in his shoes. When this chemical came in contact with Castro's body, his beard would fall out, and the correct dosage would also produce paralysis. None of these plans was ever carried out.
In April 1961, Roselli met with CIA agents and suggested another plan of using lethal pills to murder Castro. Roselli asked the agency for $50,000 and said that Manuel Antonio de Varona, a friend of Trafficante and the leader of the Anti-Castro Democratic Revolutionary Front, had agreed to master-mind the plan. Verona and Trafficante became friends after being introduced by Edward Moss, a Washington D.C. political fund-raiser and lobbyist for exiled Cubans. Varona was given botulinum pills who passed them on to a waitress in a restaurant which Castro had frequented. According to the CIA, this plot was never carried out because Castro stopped eating at that particular restaurant.
The CIA targeted Castro through the Executive Action Capability program after the Bay of Pigs fiasco in 1961. Code-named ZR-RIFLE, the operation was headed by William Harvey, a former FBI agent. In the same year, Giacana contacted detective Robert Maheu to investigate his girlfriend, Phyllis McGuire of the McGuire Sisters singing group. Giacana believed that she was having a relationship with Dan Rowan of Rowan and Martin. Giacana told the CIA that he would help in an assassination attempt against Castro in return for the agency's assistance in bugging Rowan's hotel room. When a maid discovered the bugging device, Las Vegas police were called, and the matter was turned over to the FBI which wanted to bring charges against Giacana. Ultimately, Attorney General Robert Kennedy was informed of the plan, and charges were dropped against Giacana.
In 1963, the CIA agreed on a plan to construct a plastic "seashell" and then to rig it with an explosive device. It would be placed in an area where Castro frequently scuba-dived. Hopefully, when Castro handled the sea-shell, it would explode. The CIA needed to construct a spectacular looking seashell which would capture Castro's attention. However, the CIA did not have a mini-submarine with a capability of traveling to a beach area where Castro usually scuba dived. The CIA plotted to provide Castro with a "contaminated" scuba-diving suit which would produce a disabling disease known as Madura foot. At the same time, Desmond Fitzgerald planned to have James Donovan, who had negotiated with Castro's team to gain the release of captured Bay of Pigs prisoners, deliver expensive scuba diving equipment to the Cuban leader. The CIA's Gottlieb treated the inside lining with Madura fungus and implanted tubercle bacilli in the rubber. The CIA also planned to construct replicas of clams and rig them with explosives. The "clams" would be dropped into an area which Castro frequented and would explode upon contact. None of these three plots was carried out.
In early 1963, there was a meeting at the State Department at which the assassination of Castro was discussed. At the meeting were members of the Special Group Augmented along with Secretary of State Dean Rusk, and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. A hit team actually landed in Cuba with pills to be used in the assassination attempt.
On November 22, 1963, Fitzgerald gave anti-Castro Cuban Rolando Cubela was given a deadly pen to be used in the assassination attempt. Cubela had been a commander in Castro's army and was arrested in 1966 for his part in the assassination conspiracy. The pen was rigged with Blackleaf-40, a deadly insecticide and was comprised of 40 percent nicotine sulfate. This assassination attempt was aborted.
In the 1970s, a group of Cuban exiles formed Omega 7 which was headquartered in Union City, New Jersey. Even though the amount of terrorism against Cuba decreased, Omega 7 continued acts of violence against Cuba and the Soviet Union with the financial backing of the CIA. There were bombings at the Soviet United Nations headquarters as well as at its embassy in Washington, D.C; at the Cuban United Nations Mission; on a Soviet ship docked in New Jersey; and at Aeroflot headquarters offices in the United States. Omega 7 was responsible for a bombing which occurred at the Lincoln Center when a Cuban ballet group was performing in 1976. The same year 73 Cubans, including a world championship fencing team, were killed when a bomb exploded aboard a Cuban Airlines plane.
When Castro was out of the country, the CIA planned assassination attempts. In 1971, the CIA conspired with Antonio Veciana to murder Castro while he was visiting Ecuador, Peru, and Chile. In 1976. the CIA designed a plot against Castro on his departure for Angola to attend the inauguration ceremony of the first national socialistic government. In 1989, a third plot was later revealed. Castro traveled to Venezuela to attend the presidential inauguration. Because of security measures, these plots failed.
PUTTING THE SQUEEZE ON CUBA. Under the Carter administration this same belligerent attitude was directed at the Cubans. Carter condoned the hijacking of Cuban ships in violation of international law. In the 1980s President Reagan refused to negotiate with the Castro government to discuss the reestablishment of diplomatic ties. Instead, Reagan imposed more sanctions against the Cubans. President Bush continued his predecessor's hard line policy against Castro. Bush used the Cuban Democracy Act to prevent any American corporations overseas, particularly those located in European countries, from exporting any products to Cuba. If they entered any Cuban ports, the White House ordered that they be seized when they returned to an American port.
Despite this strangulation policy by the United States, the World Health Organization in 1980 concluded that "there is no question that Cuba has the best health statistics in Latin America." In addition, the UNICEF report stated that Cuba has the lowest mortality rate in the world, and that "Cuba is the only country on par with developed nations." In 1990 Cuba still had the highest per capita increase in gross social product -- wages and social benefits -- of any economy in Latin America, almost double that of its closest rival. The average Cuban continues to have better housing, education, food, and health care than any other Latin American nation.
By the late 1990s, Cuba had taken great strides in making diplomatic breakthroughs against decades of American efforts to isolate the island. Whereas every Western hemispheric nation except Canada and Mexico had severed its ties with the Castro government in the 1960s, all the Latin American countries with the exception of El Salvador and Costa Rica had resumed ties with Cuba by the 1990s.
Yet the United States continued its embargo on trade and tourism even though it had failed to achieve its stated goal of bringing down the Castro government. In 1992, Congress passed the Cuban Democracy Act whereby American-owned and American-controlled subsidiaries located abroad were prohibited from doing business with Cuba. The Helms-Burton Act of 1996 further tightened the American embargo by allowing United States citizens to file lawsuits against foreign companies which purchased formerly American-owned property which had been confiscated by the Cuban government. Helms-Burton had an adverse affect on the United States in its relations with these countries.
In 1998, the Pope traveled to Havana and urged the United States to "change, change, change" its hostile posture. Additionally, the Pentagon concluded in May of that year that Cuba "does not pose a significant military threat to the United States or to other countries in the region." Thus, this eliminated the national security argument for the embargo. Also, the emergence of Americans for Humanitarian Trade with Cuba, a business group led by wealthy and conservative businessmen in the areas of commerce and finance, brought a powerful lobby to the capital.
By the end of 1998, the United States was one of a few nations to continue its crusade of continuing to pressure the Castro government. Nearly all America's allies denounced United States laws which also extended parts of its trade embargo to American-owned companies which do business with Cuba. In addition the United Nations Human Rights Commission voted down a United States-backed measure to condemn Cuba. Finally, the European Union threatened to sue the United States at the World Trade Organization.
In early 1999, the Clinton administration had an opportunity to break with the hostility of the past, and the White House made overtures to ease the economic embargo against Castro. Perceiving a grandiose economic windfall for American businesses, the Republicans proposed the establishment of a National Bipartisan Commission on Cuba to re-evaluate American policy towards Cuba. The commission would also look at the recommendations by a Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) Task Force on Cuba. Twenty-four Republicans, led by Senator John Warner of Virginia, wrote Clinton, proposing such a commission which was also endorsed by former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, and Lawrence Eagleburger. Warner said, "More and more Americans are becoming concerned about the far-reaching effects of our policy on United States interests and the Cuban people."
Additionally, the report of the CFRs task force -- a diverse group of strategists which included members of Senator Jesse Helms's staff -- echoed the need to re-evaluate American foreign policy towards Cuba. The CFR came up with a set of recommendations which could be enacted under the Helms-Burton law. These included the lifting the 38 year old economic blockade on private American investments in Cuba in the areas of travel services, news gathering, activities related to distribution of humanitarian assistance and in cultural work like art, movies and music. The CFR also recommended the sale of food and medicine to Cuba; a provision for tax cuts for Cuban-Americans who sent financial aid to families on the island; and the establishment of cooperation between American and Cuban armed forces "to reduce tensions, promote mutual confidence-building measures and to lay the basis for the improvement of relations" in the future.
However, Clinton rejected an opportunity to engage in a national dialogue about Cuba, not to mention an international dialogue with the Cuban government. The American president capitulated to the far right anti-Castro lobby, and the president made only a token gesture to improve American-Cuban relations. Clinton said that he "would provide the people of Cuba with hope in their struggle" against Castro. He also agreed, under pressure from Vice President Gore and Florida Senator Bob Graham, to abandon the commission. Right wing Cubans in Miami began referring to the Warner proposal as "the Gore Commission," inferring that they would make it a domestic political issue. Additionally, Graham reportedly warned Clinton that the commission would be "a disaster" for Gore's hopes of winning Florida in the 2000 presidential election.
Thus, Clinton stood alone in holding steadfast on an economic embargo that was already opposed by a coalition of 143 countries which voted to condemn it at the United Nations. In addition a number of organizations and groups continued to castigate the United States for continuing its economic squeeze on Castro. These included the Vatican, longshoremen in Louisiana, rice producers in Iowa, corporations like Radisson and Ingersoll-Rand, the National Association of Manufacturers, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the United States Catholic Conference, the United Auto Workers, the United States Chamber of Commerce, and Pastors for Peace and the Rainbow Coalition.
In 1996, several leading American companies banded together to found USA*Engage, an organization with the goal of lobbying Washington to lift sanctions. Since that time, 670 American companies joined USA*Engage to give it more influence over American foreign policy.
A decade after the end of the Cold War, American corporations won a series of victories in Washington, eliminating the sanctions that had limited their overseas operations. In May 2000, the House Republican leadership agreed to ease the American trade embargo against Cuba by allowing some American food and medicine to be sold there. It was the first sign that the Cuba embargo, which has been in effect since 1962, could eventually be lifted. This bill also provided for the termination of sanctions on food and medicine to Libya, Iran, and Sudan.
On June 19, the Supreme Court ruled that states and cities may not boycott companies that do business in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. That decision was the first time the court had imposed limits on sanctions by state and local governments, which began to spread in the 1980s as part of the grass-roots movement against South Africa's apartheid regime. On May 24 the House voted to make permanent China's normal trading rights in the United States, thus ending the annual battles over Beijing's trade status that had been a heated issue every year since 1990. In June the Clinton administration announced it was lifting economic sanctions against North Korea that have been on the books since the early 1950s.
A major break-through occurred in June 2000 when House Republicans proposed allowing the direct sales of American food to Cuba. The agreement barred both the federal government and American banks from financing food sales. Less than a week later, the Senate attached the bill to a military construction bill.
According to the New York Times (June 28, 2000), Republican Congressman George Nethercutt of Washington said that the agreement was a "huge breakthrough for our farmers." He added that Cuba could finance its purchases of American food through other countries. But the White House was wary of the deal, because it also required congressional approval before a president could impose future embargoes on food and medicine to other countries.
White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said, "We are not opposed to allowing things like food and medicine to go to Cuba, as long as it is for the benefit of the people and not the benefit of the Castro government. We do have concerns, on what I call an institutional basis, based on the limits that it puts on presidential prerogatives."
The World Policy Institute has estimated that the United States could commercially export more than $400 million in food and agricultural products to Cuba.
BUSH PUNISHES CUBANS AND AMERICANS. Claiming that he was making a moral statement, President George W. Bush called for stronger sanctions on Cuba in July 2001. He ordered for stricter enforcement of the American trade embargo and greater support to dissidents on the communist island. He also asked the Treasury Department to do more to ensure that American tourism in Cuba, banned by law, was not occurring as a result of pro-democracy cultural exchanges. He asked the Treasury Department to provide more funds to its Office of Foreign Assets Control to hire additional personnel to monitor travel to Cuba, trade, and the limited amounts of money that Cuban- Americans were allowed to send home to their families. Finally, the president promised to increase American aid to Cuba's dissidents, although he failed to specify the amount. (Cbc.ca, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, July 14, 2001)
Bush moved to suspend a law that would let Americans sue people using American property confiscated after Castro took power. The legislation, enacted in 1996, gave the president authority to waive or enforce the provision at six-month intervals. Bush's decision suspended for six more months the Title III provision in the 1996 Helms-Burton law that allowed any American whose property was seized in Cuba after 1959 to sue anyone who uses the property. The State Department listed 5,911 American firms and citizens whose property was nationalized without compensation by the Cuban government, mostly in the 1960s. (New York Times, July 17, 2001)
Washington's embargo against Cuba dealt a large blow on the United States economy and prevented millions of United States citizens from benefiting from Cuban medical progress. In October 2006, the Cuban foreign ministry presented its report to the United Nations General Assembly. Inter Press Service, October 4, 2006)
TheraCIM was produced by the Molecular Immunology Center, which in 2004 made a deal with United States company CancerVax to develop and produce therapeutic vaccines against cancer. This medication was registered in Cuba and other countries for treating cancer of the head and neck, and had been proved to reduce tumor mass. It could benefit children in the United States and other countries with this type of cancer. (Inter Press Service, October 4, 2006)
In addition, the Cuban report indicated that millions of people in the United States suffering from diabetes could benefit from Citoprot P, a unique product and treatment method that accelerated healing of diabetic foot ulcers, reducing the risk of lower extremity amputations. (Inter Press Service, October 4, 2006)
Citoprot P was developed by the Cuban Cener for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology. According to the foreign ministry report, about 20.8 million people in the United States suffered from diabetes, a chronic incurable disease. Inter Press Service, October 4, 2006)
The United States embargo cost this Caribbean country 86.1 billion dollars in total damages through 2006, including four billion in 2005 alone. (Inter Press Service, October 4, 2006)
In 2005, the United Nations approved by 182 votes the Cuban motion in favor of lifting the embargo. The motion was first set before the General Assembly in 1992, when only 59 countries voted in favor of the resolution. The report stated that the ban on United States tourism to Cuba caused tourist agents in the United States losses of 565 million dollars per million, since American tourists were prevented from visiting the country. (Inter Press Service, October 4, 2006)
An estimated 1.8 million United States tourists could have vacationed in Cubain 2005, but because of the ban, American tourist agencies lost potential income of 996 million dollars.( Inter Press Service, October 4, 2006)
In addition, the United States imported about 148,000 tons of primary nickel and some 10,000 tons of cobalt annually “from distant markets.” Cuba produced about 77,000 tons of nickel a year, and output was set to increase through an investment program agreed with Canada in March 2005 for the expansion and modernization of a joint venture company to exploit the mineral. Inter Press Service, October 4, 2006)
Cuba proved nickel reserves of 800 million tons, and potential reserves were estimated at two billion tons. The country’s cobalt reserves amounted to approximately 26 percent of total world reserves. (Inter Press Service, October 4, 2006)
In 2005, Cuba earmarked between 700 and 800 million dollars to buy food from the United States. But Washington tightened its trading restrictions with Cuba, and the trade dropped to some 474 million dollars. (Inter Press Service, October 4, 2006)
Soon after the Congo gained independence from Belgium in 1960, the nationalist Patrice Lumumba was elected prime minister. With American copper mines in jeopardy, the CIA warned of a "communist takeover of the Congo with disastrous consequences for the interests of the free world." He authorized $100,000 to replace Lumumba with a "pro-Western group." When the province of Katanga sought independence, both the United States and United Nations refused to aid Lumumba in squelching the secessionist movement. Thus, Lumumba turned to the Soviet Union for aid.
At this juncture the CIA attempted to assassinate Lumumba. Joseph Scheider, a scientist working under Sidney Gottlieb in the CIA's Technical Services Division (TSD), was instructed to develop a bio-poison which would spread a deadly epidemic throughout the Congo. Gottlieb personally brought the deadly germs along with a special hypodermic syringe, gauze masks, and rubber gloves to the Congo. They were delivered in a diplomatic pouch to CIA station chief Lawrence Devlin, and Gottlieb instructed agents how to apply the toxin to Lumumba's toothpaste and food. However, agents were unable to get close to Lumumba.
When this assassination attempt failed, the CIA turned to General Mobuto and the military, providing them with 200 American weapons as well as C-130 cargo planes. With his military turned against him, Lumumba was arrested, and Mobuto established a right wing regime. Nearly two months later Lumumba was murdered by the Mobuto regime.
In January 1961, copper-rich Katanga under Moise Tshombe again attempted to secede from the rest of the Congo. Just days later the United States provided Mobuto Sese Seko with cargo planes and supplies, and provided air support for the Congo's invasion of Katanga. This led to the involvement of the Soviet Union which sent into weapons to the rebels through Sudan. United Nations forces intervened, and by January 1962, the Kantanga's quest for independence was thwarted. Yet civil war continued to wage throughout much of the Congo.
In 1962, Tshombe gained control of the Congo government, and the CIA moved in to prop up his regime. As rebel activities intensified, the Kantanga rebels were able to gain control in some key cities including Stanleyville. Once again, the CIA stepped up its involvement. Not only was the agency sending in one million dollars per day, but it sent in 200 military personnel to train Congo soldiers while Congolese officers were being instructed at Fort Knox, Kentucky. The CIA also cooperated with Tshombe by forming a mercenary army which included Bay of Pigs veterans as well as South Africans and Rhodesians. In addition, American pilots were used to fly bombing missions over rebel positions in Katanga.
In 1965, Tshombe was forced to abdicate and fled to Zaire. Three years later, Mobuto gained control of the government. He wasted little time in solidifying his leadership which was to last until 1990. However, his early years in office were relatively calm, even though sporadic fighting broke out in the Fizi-Baraka mountain range of South Kivu Province, where a sputtering rebellion led by one Laurent Desire Kabila refused to surrender.
Mobutu ordered the creation of a sole, powerful political party, the Popular Revolutionary Movement, making membership obligatory for all Zairians. In the early years, he set out to solicit the advice of the brightest professors and students in Zaire's universities. However, as time wore on, Mobutos rule became more absolute and repressive. Four former Cabinet ministers were publicly hanged before 50,000 spectators six months after he took office.
By 1970, Mobuto was quickly growing rich on the countrys mineral revenues. He announced Goal 80 which consisted of a ten year program to double copper production and to industrialize the country with steel mills and deep-water ports. Mobuto also initiated a program of huge investments in the mining industry in Kinshasa, Kisangani, and Lubumbashi. In addition, he launched the countrys largest project: the construction of Inga dam, hoping to terminate ethe purchase of electricity from other countries. When the World Bank refused to finance the project, the United States intervened and pressured the Export-Import Bank to help fund the $1 billion project.
In 1971, Mobutu unveiled a program known as "authenticity." Zairians were obligated to change their Western names to African ones, drop titles like Mr. and Mrs. in favor of "citizen," and they were also compelled to abandon European dress for tunics for men and dresses of printed cloth for women. Mobutu himself changed his name from Joseph Desire Mobutu to Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu waza Banga, which was translated as "the all-conquering warrior who, because of his endurance and inflexible will to win, will go from conquest to conquest leaving fire in his wake."
Two years later, Mobuto introduced another program which he coined "Zairianization." Under this plan, he expropriated farms, factories, and businesses belonging to foreigners: primarily Belgians who had remained in Zaire Congo since the colonial period. In a November 1973 speech, Mobuto stated that it was "a decisive turning point in our history," and justified it by calling Zaire "the country, which until now, has been the most heavily exploited in the world." Nationalization resulted in poorly run businesses by inept officials. Many Zairians quickly sought to lure foreigners back to run the businesses, and others simply sold their inventories and left. Zaire's economy was near collapse, and the only ones to benefit were Mobutu and a small circle of relatives and friends. According to authors Crawford Young and Thomas Turner, the Bank of Zaire estimated that 50 Zairian companies in 1978 had illegally secreted some $300 million abroad. Eight of the largest of these companies were owned by Mobutu or his immediate family.
In 1974, Mobutu announced a 10-point program fashioned after that of China. He implemented Zaires "10 scourges." The dictator announced that a food shortage would be ended by organizing agricultural brigades. Unemployment was to be ended by decree. Every community was ordered to begin building nursery schools, and employers were told to provide free uniforms and supplies for their workers' children. But the economy continued to decline, and when copper prices collapsed in the mid-1970's, Mobutu reluctantly began to change economic course. However, no foreign countries would deliver loans to his regime. Mobuto saw no way out of Zaires growing economic and political crisis, and he briefly considered abandoning power when he took his family to Switzerland in March 1976. However, he returned home to confront a series of major new crises, the most serious of which were invasions of Shaba Province in March 1977 and May 1978 by remnants of the Katangese rebel force that had sought independence for that region shortly after independence. The United States responded with air support and helped to squelch the uprisings in the two provinces. Shaba was particularly vital, since it contained 80 percent of the world's cobalt reserves and 20 percent of its copper supplies.
Meanwhile, the United States continued to use Zaire as a weapons supply and staging area for support of the anti-communist UNITA rebel movement fighting the Marxist government in Angola.. With Mobutos support, the CIA assisted rebel movements fighting Angola's Marxist government. The first involvement was a disastrous CIA-backed effort to seize Angola's oil-producing Cabinda area which began in 1975.
Mobuto continued to receive American economic and political support in return for weapons. However, with the end of the Cold War, American aid to his regime quickly declined. Additionally, a wave of democratic change swept much of Africa, and Mobutu was forced to allow multiparty politics. In 1991, a national conference convened, and Mobutu was compelled to accept rival, Etienne Tshisekedi, as prime minister. When Tshisekedi sought to assert his control over state finances, however, Mobutu removed him from office, setting off a crisis that led to the first of two outbreaks of killings and looting in the capital by government soldiers. Popular support for Tshisekedi was so overwhelming that Mobutu left the capital, and he lived for the most part on his houseboat on the Congo River as well as in his palace in the northern town of Gbadolite.
The United States pressured Tshisekedi out of office and replaced him with a new prime minister, Kengo wa Dondo, a long associate of the president and former finance minister. Kengo was supposed to govern for a year, during which time he would organize national elections and work to lower runaway inflation.
Mobuto fled to Europe in May 1997 with personal assets of $5 billion.
Joal Goulart became Brazil's the first democratically elected president in 1961. Once a strong supporter of the United States, he turned his attention to domestic policy. The reform-minded Goulart proposed numerous social and economic reforms. He announced plans to distribute millions of acres of land to the poor and to nationalize seven United States oil companies. As an example, he pushed for legislation to nationalize some multinational corporations as well as to limit the amount of profits that others could earn in Brazil. A subsidiary of International Telephone and Telegraph was nationalized, and the American multinational was to be compensated. However, since Goulart had inherited a dismal economy, compensation was slow in coming.
Goulart sought to continue trading with the United States. However, when he requested to purchase military hardware, the United States refused. Goulart was forced to turn to Eastern Europe and purchased helicopters from Poland. At this point, the CIA set out to overthrow this new democracy. The agency spent up to $20 million in a campaign to support other candidates in the 1962 election. The CIA gained access to right wing newspapers and printed anticommunist articles. 50,000 textbooks were printed by the CIA and distributed to high schools and colleges. The agency organized women's groups which circulated rumors that the Goulart government was communist.
In 1963, the CIA was able to infiltrate the right wing element of the army and bought the support of Castelo Branco. The CIA provided him with weapons and the equipment with which to destroy oil refineries. The United States Navy deployed ships off the coast of Brazil and made available military personnel who would aid Branco when fighting was to erupt.
In March 1964, Branco and leading army officers carried out the coup in Rio de Janiero. Troops and tanks advanced through the capital city and thousands of enlisted men gave their support to the right wing. The city's largest military base was seized. Goulart refused to call upon his reliable officers and fled to Uruguay. The United States placed in power a repressive and murderous regime which kept the great mass of the population in conditions of severe poverty. The social and economic reforms of Goulart were terminated, and Brazil's standard of living quickly declined.
The new regime immediately created a very inviting climate for business investment. Labor unions were tightly restricted. Strikes were outlawed. Generous tax rebates and tax-exempt export earnings were granted to foreign investors. Within the next ten years the "Brazilian miracle" -- as it was referred to in the American media -- emerged. The gross national product tripled, growing faster than any in the world including Japan's. However, the growth reached only a small segment of the population. The real income of the poorest 80 percent declined by over half in the decade after Goulart. One-third of the population had tuberculosis; one-half of the children had no schools; and the infant mortality rate climbed to the second highest in the hemisphere. Hunger and starvation increased as they converted vast acreage of farmland to export crops.
Meanwhile, $12 billion a year was spent on the Brazilian army, the most powerful in Latin America. Thousands of trade unionists, students, clergy, peasants, and intellectuals were arrested, tortured, and murdered. Today, two multinational corporations control 80 percent of Brazil's electronics industry, since Brazilian firms were driven out of business. American and other foreign companies control 60 percent of heavy industry, 90 percent of pharmaceuticals, and 95 percent of automobile production. All these new investments were of no benefit to Brazilian workers. Under the military dictatorship the twelve-hour day was instituted; the unemployment rate climbed; and Brazilian workers had the highest industrial accident rate in the world.
Since American domination in the 1930s, the United States supported one dictator after another. When General Rafael Trujillo did not cooperate with American foreign policy-makers, he was murdered outside his palace. The CIA had supplied guns and training to the assassins. The agency stated that it was not totally positive that these were the identical weapons which had been used to carry out the murder.
The assassination led to another five years of United States intervention. In order to continue a pro-American rightist regime, the CIA and Dominican Republic military officers organized a training camp of Dominican exiles in Venezuela. The United States continued to furnish the country's paramilitary forces with weapons.
However, in Haiti's first free elections, Juan Bosch was democratically chosen president. He called for land reform, low rent housing, the nationalization of large companies, public works projects, civil liberties for all citizens, and an emphasis on education and health care. American ambassador John Martin urged the use of force in overthrowing the new government. After seven months in office Bosch was overthrown by a CIA sponsored coup. Three years later, the citizens of the Dominican Republic sought to restore Bosch to the presidency. Immediately, Bosch was branded a communist by the United States.
In 1964, Bosch was exiled by the military, and his supporters took to the streets. In 1965, President Johnson sent in 500 marines and two days later they numbered 4,000, and within one year this number climbed to 23,000. American troops remained until September 1966 when Joaquin Belaguer defeated Bosch. Belaguer remained president until 1978 while the rich became richer, while poverty increased, while police brutality soared, and while union organizers were tortured and killed.
In 1960, the CIA funneled in $21 million to help elect Eduardo Frei, a conservative Christian Democrat, in order to continue American pro-corporate relations with Chile. The major bulk of the American money was designated to promote a disinformation campaign on radio and television. This enabled Frei to defeat Allende by 56 to 39 percentage points.
THE ELECTION OF ALLENDE. However, in 1970, the tide turned when a socialist candidate, Salvador Allende, campaigned for the presidency. His primary goal was to transform the country from an oligarchy to a true functioning republic by initiating social programs. Allende took unused land from the big estates and divided it among the peasants. This was part of a 1967 statute which never was carried out by the previous rightist regimes. Allende was able to obtain property for one-third of the country's 100,000 landless peasants. As a result agricultural production increased; inflation was cut in half; and beef and bread consumption jumped by 15 percent between 1971 and 1972. Additionally, the government provided one-half liter of milk each day to every Chilean baby. The country's economy quickly improved, as the GNP increased by 8.5 percent in two years, enabling Chile to rank as the second highest Latin American country. Allende also abolished the death penalty, and became the first head of state to recognize all political parties, most of which leaned to the far right.
Not only did these social and economic reforms anger the United States, but the nationalization of American Anaconda Copper Mine and IT&T was intolerable to corporate America. Senator Jesse Helms stated, "$10 million is available, more if necessary. ...Make the economy scream." President Richard Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger made it clear that an assassination would not be unwelcome.
The United States first planned for the 1970 election in June of that year when the Forty Committee convened. CIA Director Richard Helms promised John McCone $400,000 of CIA funds to assist the anti-Allende news media. The CIA also contributed $1 million to Allende's opponents. Allende's election went to the Chilean congress sitting as an electoral college, where an additional $350,000 was paid out by the CIA in an attempt to buy votes.
After Allende's victory, Nixon met with Henry Kissinger, Helms, and John Mitchell to plot to bring down Allende. Then Chilean Agustin Edwards, the owner of El Mercurio, conferred with top officials of the Nixon administration. The El Mercurio maintained a monopoly on Chile's media, consisting of newspapers, radio station, advertising agencies, and a wire service. Between 1971 and 1972, the CIA spent $1.5 million on El Mercurio. All total, the CIA about $8 million between 1970 and 1973, including $1.5 million to rightist candidates in the March 1973 congressional election.
The CIA had a strong presence within Chile before the coup. Almost one-third of the staff at the American embassy in Santiago were on the CIA payroll and included 13 officials. An American Foreign Service officer told Richard Fagen in 1972 that the embassy had succeeded in infiltrating all parties of the Popular Unity coalition except Movement of the Revolutionary Left (MIR). This was confirmed by Colby's secret testimony in October 1973.
On the early morning of October 22, 1970, several Chilean army officers picked up submachine guns and ammunition from the military attache at the American embassy in Santiago. They plotted to kidnap General Rene who was the commander-in-chief of the Chilean army. Six hours later the officers ambushed Schneider's car and killed him.
In 1975, author Daniel Brandt evaluated American economic policy in Chile and covert operations carried out by the Nixon administration. Brandt wrote that the Department of Commerce reported at the end of 1968 that American corporate holdings in Chile amounted to $964 million with an investment of $200 million. During that year, United States corporations averaged 17.4 percent profit on invested capital, and mining enterprises alone turned an average of 26 percent. Copper companies, notably Anaconda and Kennecott, accounted for 28 percent of American holdings. These copper firms were extremely vital, since Chile was home to 21 percent of the world's copper.
During the 1970 election process, ITT, with consultants in the CIA, funneled $700,000 into the campaign of candidate Jorge Allesandri. Additionally, ITT president Harold Geneen offered $1 million to the CIA to help defeat Allende. When CIA Director John McCone stepped down five years later, he was appointed to ITT's board of directors. The anti-Allende movement also consisted of officials at Anaconda and Kennecott. Two years after Allende was elected, Kennecott tied up Chilean copper exports with lawsuits in France, Sweden, Italy, and Germany, and the firm forced the Chilean government to spend $150,000 in legal expenses. The campaign continued even after Allende agreed, in February 1972, to pay a Kennecott subsidiary $84 million and after the government made a down payment of $5.7 million.
Just a day prior to the inauguration of Allende in 1970, NIBSA, a subsidiary of Northern Indiana Brass Company and the leading producers of brass valves and other fittings, shut down its plant and laid off 280 workers. A representative of the parent company, Northern Indiana Brass, allegedly promoted the murder of the "communists." Finally, Purina, a subsidiary of Ralston Purina and the country's largest producer of animal feed, also cut production sharply.
A year after Allende was elected president, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that ITT vice- president William Merriam testified that he had attempted to establish a "united front," consisting of representatives of American corporations, to strategize how they should deal with the new democracy. The committee also consisted of Treasury Secretary John Connally and his assistant John Hennessy, a Wall Street broker.
American banks also plotted to disrupt the economy of Chile. By October 1971 the State Department also took a hard line against Allende. Chase Manhattan, Chemical, First National City, Manufacturers Hanover, and Morgan Guaranty all canceled their credits to Chile in an attempt to stifle the nation's economy. In a closed meeting with representatives of ITT, Ford, Anaconda, Ralston Purina, First National City bank, and Bank of America, Secretary of State William Rogers stated that the United States would cut off aid unless Chile provided prompt compensation.
The United States also pressured international agencies to participate in an economic boycott of Chile. The World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Agency for International Development (AID), and the Export-Import Bank either cut programs in Chile or canceled credits. The Allende government continued to pay off old loans from the IDB and the World Bank, but neither made new loans to Chile.
Between 1970 and 1972, Chile's foreign-exchange reserves fell from $335 million to $100 million. The country's imports with the United States began to plummet, declining from 40 percent to 15 percent in a three year span. In December 1972 Allende spoke to the United Nations General Assembly and complained of Chile's inability to purchase food, medicine, equipment, and spare parts. Almost one-third of the privately-owned buses, taxis, and state-owned buses had been immobilized by early 1972 because of the lack of spare parts. The scarcity of parts also fueled the truckers' strike, which in turn provoked more economic chaos.
THE ALLENDE COUP AND THE BRUTAL PINOCHET REGIME. After the successful 1973 coup, numerous American multinationals quickly jumped at the opportunity to attempt to bolster the Chilean economy. Manufacturers Hanover loaned $44 million to Chile, and ten other American and two Canadian banks loaned $150 million. In 1975 First National City, Bank of America, Morgan Guaranty, and Chemical Bank provided a $70 million renewable credit to Chile. Ford, General Motors, Chrysler, and six other firms sent representatives to Chile to bid for control of the country's automobile assembly industry. In addition ITT donated $25 million for a planned science research center.
All 323 firms that were nationalized constitutionally under Allende were returned to private ownership. ITT came out the biggest winner. Originally, the corporation requested that the Allende government compensate them with $95 million. However, after the 1973 coup the new military dictatorship rewarded ITT with a whooping $235 million.
A week before the coup the United States refused to issue credits to Chile for the purchase of 300,000 tons of wheat. Chile had been importing half of the amount annually for several years prior to 1970, but in 1971 and 1972, American exports to Chile declined to negligible amounts. Then immediately after the downfall of Allende, the military regime was given 120,000 tons of wheat credits. In addition AID, IDB, International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank all chimed in, as they provided the new right wing regime with an economic package which included funds for refinancing, and Chile's debt was guaranteed in 1975.
According to author Fred Landis, the CIA planned to "blow up bridges, railway lines, and kill people." The idea was to increase pressure on the military to act. There were 40 terrorist attacks daily in Santiago provinces which gave the military an excuse to enforce the Weapons Act with frequent searches for leftist arms before the coup. Women demonstrated at army barracks to get some action to show their opposition of the military. The CIA implemented Plan Z which was an effort to liquidate the armed forces and their families.
The CIA even purchased a radio station for its anti-Allende crusade. According to author Fred Landis, the El Mercurio network was used by the CIA to "launder propaganda, disinformation, fake themes and scare stories which were then circulated through 70 percent of the Chilean press and 90 percent of the Chilean radio. The USIA and the Inter-American Press Association (IAPA) in turn circulated these stories all over the world."
The CIA presumably helped to finance the truckers' strikes in 1972 and 1973 through the International Transport Workers Federation and may have funded and trained the Patria y Libertad,an right wing party in Chile. Michael Townley, a former Peace Corp volunteer in Chile recruited by the CIA, directed groups of Patria y Libertad to paint anti-Allende signs in Santiago.
On May 20, 1973, a member of the American embassy met at 1 a.m. on a navy cruiser in the port of Arica with "the high command of the navy and various officers of high rank in the northern army division," and in the months of June and July an American Naval Intelligence officer accompanied every ship of the Chilean fleet. American warships stood by off the coast of Valparaiso to give symbolic support for the military rebels. Three Chilean right wing leaders traveled to Washington prior to the abortive coup attempt in June 1973, and American Ambassador Nathaniel Davis met with Kissinger several days before the September coup.
In 1973, the United States moved to infiltrate the Chilean military. Many of these soldiers were trained on American military bases. Although American involvement was not direct, lower officers were paid off by the CIA. However, when the commander-in-chief of Chilean forces objected, he was kidnapped and killed. The United States Senate confirmed a CIA coup attempt after an American navy fleet appeared off the coast of Chile. Additionally, 32 American war planes landed in neighboring Argentina, helping to enable a successful coup by the pro-CIA Argentine officers.
After the assassination of Allende, a new military regime was established under General Augusto Pinochet. All political parties were suppressed, all newspapers -- except two to the far right -- were banned, and all trade unions were abolished. Thousands of suspected Allende sympathizers were imprisoned, tortured, and killed. When Pinochet was advised that the bodies were buried two to a coffin, he replied, "What a great saving." The tortures, as carried out by the Pinochet regime, included electric shock to different parts of the body, particularly the genitals; forcing friends to witness the torture of others; raping women in the presence of family members; burning sex organs with acid and boiling water; and mutilating, cutting off, and puncturing various body parts. The American media portrayed General Pinochet as a "powerfully built six-footer ... energetic and well disciplined ... and until recently he never talked politics."
Operation Condor was an "international organization" whereby the Pinochet regime carried out murders and tortures. A 1976 FBI report pointed to Manuel Contreras, head of Chile's secret police known as the DINA, as "the center of Operation Condor." In telexes to his counterparts, Contreras referred to himself as "Condor One."
Of the dozens of atrocities conducted by the DINA, several Condor operations have become infamous: the September 1974 car-bombing in Buenos Aires that killed Pinochet's only significant rival, former Chilean Commander in Chief General Carlos Prats, and his wife; the October 1975 shooting in Rome of Bernardo Leighton, the former vice president of the Christian Democratic Party, and his wife; and the September 1976 Letelier-Moffitt car-bomb assassination in downtown Washington, DC. Investigations into these attacks produced circumstantial and concrete evidence directly implicating Pinochet. According to former DINA agent Michael Townley, who arranged the Chilean regime's major international assassinations, Contreras and Pinochet used the occasion of Francisco Franco's funeral to meet with the Italian hit men whom the DINA had hired to kill Leighton. Townley wrote: "There were meetings between (Contreras) his excellency (Pinochet) and the Italians in Spain after Franco died." In an affidavit filed before the Chilean Supreme Court a year ago, Contreras confirmed the meeting and identified the Italian as "the terrorist who a month earlier participated in the attempt in Rome against Bernardo Leighton and his wife."
Additionally, American investigators learned that Pinochet directed a cover-up of the Chilean military's involvement in the Letelier-Moffitt assassination. When Major Armando Fernandez Larios was about to confess to American officials, Pinochet summoned him to the Defense Ministry. American investigators reviewed classified Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) documents on the military command structure in Chile and were convinced that the DINA could not have carried out its murderous attacks without Pinochet's direct approval. An April 1975(DIA report read: "Colonel Contreras has reported exclusively to, and received orders only from, President Pinochet."
Two American supporters of Allende were killed in Chile under circumstances that stirred suspicions of CIA involvement. American officials categorically denied any role in their deaths which were dramatized in the 1982 movie "Missing." Under the Freedom of Information Act, the government in 1980 released the results of classified internal investigations, heavily censored in black ink, that appeared to clear the American and Chilean governments of any responsibility. Then in February 2000 the State Department released further documents suggesting for the first time that the United States government was implicated in the murders of Charles Horman, 31, and Frank Teruggi, 24.
One memo read, "U.S. intelligence may have played an unfortunate part in Horman's death. At best, it was limited to providing or confirming information that helped motivate his murder by the government of Chile. At worst, U.S. intelligence was aware the government of Chile saw Horman in a rather serious light and U.S. officials did nothing to discourage the logical outcome of government of Chile paranoia." But the State Department refused to address questions about the two deaths, saying few of the people involved in the case still work for the government. The former officials, most of them retired, disavowed any responsibility for what happened.
Teruggi belonged to a group of young left-of-center Americans who supported Allende's democratic government. He and his wife worked for a newsletter that reprinted articles and clippings from American newspapers critical of United States policy. When Pinochet seized power, Horman was at Viña del Mar, a coastal resort, where American warships hovered off the coast in support of the coup.
Two days later, Pinochet's forces arrested thousands of people, including Horman. Around the same time, security forces also arrested Teruggi and took him to the national stadium where thousands of other political prisoners were held. No one saw Teruggi again.
The search for Horman was more tortuous. His body was never recovered. According to the New York Times (February 13, 2000), the American embassy claimed that it was doing everything in its power to locate Horman. But it was not until 1976 that the State Department investigated the murders. Rafael González, a Chilean intelligence officer who had defected, told reporters that he had witnessed Horman being held prisoner by Chile's chief of intelligence. González quoted the intelligence chief as saying Mr. Horman "had to disappear" because he "knew too much," and said a man he presumed was American was in the room.
Facing pressure from Congress, the State Department ordered two internal reviews in 1976. Investigators first examined only documents either publicly released or already available in the State Department. The documents showed that an embassy official had received a tip that Horman had already been killed before his father arrived in Chile. That tip was not followed up. Instead, embassy officials said that leftists may have kidnapped Horman, and this contradicted their own cables which quoted neighbors who said they had witnessed Chilean security forces taking Horman away. Documents also showed that the Pinochet government ignored numerous requests from the United States for an autopsy report on Horman.
The second investigation drew a similar conclusion. It blamed the Chilean government for both deaths and said it was difficult to believe that the Pinochet government would have carried out the killings. The report concluded that González not be interviewed again and that the actions of the CIA not be investigated.
Never having been democratically elected, Pinochet stepped down as the de jure head of state. In 1990, Eduardo Frei, who had been elected president back in 1960, returned and was elected president. After Pinochet abdicated his presidency, he was assured that he would maintain his constitutional role as commander-in-chief of the Chilean army where he could continue to wield his enormous power.
Three years later, the Chilean government tried to investigate a corruption case involving Pinochet's son, but that was quickly squelched. Then in March 1998, 25 years after taking power after the CIA coup, Pinochet turned his command over to General Ricardo Izurieta. He was immediately sworn in as "senator for life," a position which he created for himself. Presumably, Pinochet created the senatorial position for himself so as to evade prosecution. In his farewell address, Pinochet defended his 17 year dictatorship during which over 3,000 Chileans disappeared and thousands more were tortured, kidnapped, and imprisoned.
THE ARREST OF PINOCHET. In October 1998, the 88 year old Pinochet was arrested at a London medical clinic where he had just undergone surgery on a herniated disc. Chile's center-left coalition, Concertacion, was split over Pinochet's arrest. The Socialist party, which was the Christian Democrats' most important partner, maintained that Chile should not intervene in Pinochet's problems with foreign courts. Ultimately, the Chilean government filed a formal protest against the arrest by British authorities, arguing that Pinochet had diplomatic immunity as "senator-for-life" and that he traveled to London on his official passport. However, British officials said that diplomatic immunity did not apply in this case. Immediately, Spain, Switzerland, France, and Belgium called for Pinochet's extradition from Great Britain, while investigations were initiated in Denmark, Germany, Italy, Luxemburg, and Norway.
However, events unfolded differently in Spain where Supreme Court Justice Baltasar Garzon informed Interpol, the international police organization, that he was filing a formal extradition motion in the British courts. Interpol relayed the announcement to London which detained Pinochet pending action on the motion.
Spain began a coordinated effort through their courts to formally question, detain, and extradite Pincohet. Spain issued an arrest warrant, saying that Pinochet was "in charge of creating an international organization that conceived, developed, and carried out a systematic plan of illegal detentions, abductions, tortures, forcible transfers of persons, murders, and/or disappearances of many people, including citizens from Argentina, Spain, the United Kingdom, the U.S., Chile and other countries. These actions were carried out in different countries ... mainly to exterminate the political opposition."
On October 13, Spain sent two magistrates to London and requested that Scotland Yard detain Pinochet. Then Spain invoked the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism -- a mutual cooperation treaty which mandates countries to identify, locate, and hold suspected international terrorists.
Garzon said that he intended to charge Pinochet with genocide, torture, and terrorism, involving 94 people. About 80 of the victims were Spanish citizens, but Garzon's list also included Britons, Americans, and Chileans. The Spanish government made a request for his extradition, requesting that British authorities detain Pinochet for crimes of genocide, terrorism, and torture carried out between 1973 and 1990.
At first, Pinochet won his battle against extradition in a lower British court, but he was ordered to stay in detention in London pending legal appeals. British prosecutors and the Spanish government appealed to the country's highest court in the House of Lord's reversed the initial decision in a 3-2 vote. Lord Justice Donald Nicholls wrote, "It hardly needs saying that torture of his own subjects or of aliens would not be regarded by international law as a function of a head of state." Meanwhile, Spain's National Court, the country's highest court, ruled that it did have the jurisdiction to prosecute Pinochet for crimes committed during his reign. Meanwhile, the Swiss government also filed papers to extradite Pinochet.
Pinochet issued a 13 page letter, claiming that he was "the target of a judicial, political plot which lacks moral values. I have never desired death for anybody, and I feel a sincere pain for all Chileans who lost their lives during those years." He offered condolences to the victims of his regime.
Spain's Judge Garzon hoped to build a case against Pinochet from information documented in the Report of the Chilean National Commission on Truth and Reconciliation. The Rettig Commission was established when Patricio Aylwin, Chile's first civilian president in the post-Pinochet era, had been elected. Named for its chairman, Raul Rettig, the commission listed 3,178 cases of execution, murder, and disappearance of Chileans during Pinochet's regime. The report detailed thousands of cases of the most sadistic forms of torture, including "unnatural acts involving animals."
However, the Rettig Commission failed to find anyone accountable for the atrocities. This inability to identify human rights abusers made the proceedings in Spain all the more necessary and important. Under Spanish law, groups and individuals can initiate "popular actions" -- legal proceedings deemed in the public interest. The United Left, Spain's third largest political party, asked the National Audience, Spain's judiciary, to investigative the allegations made against the Pinochet regime.
The Spanish investigators ran into several roadblocks. First, there was the political opposition of the conservative Spanish government under Prime Minister José Maria Aznar. As relations between Chile and Spain turned sour, the chief prosecutor repeatedly sought to shut down the investigation. Only after Pinochet was detained in London did the Spanish high court rule definitively that the National Audience had full and lawful jurisdiction to pursue extradition.
Second, Spanish prosecutors had difficulty compiling evidence to prosecute Pinochet. Evidence was gathered from numerous witnesses and many victims, but Chile refused to cooperate, so concrete documentation exposing those who committed atrocities under Pinochet's command proved difficult to obtain.
Then the Spanish judiciary asked the United States to cooperate. A large bulk of evidence on human rights abuses in Chile were sealed in Washington D.C.'s secret archives, but a large amount of secret documents was declassified in early 1999. On February l1 the White House directed American national security agencies to collect and review for release documents "that shed light on human rights abuses, terrorism, and other acts of political violence in Chile." Then on June 30, 1999, the National Security Archive, Center for National Security Studies and Human Rights Watch released more than 20,000 pages of documents on Chile.
One secret report, "Chilean Executions," was prepared for Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in November 1973. It summarized the bloody atrocities that took place in the 19 days following the 1973 coup. "Chilean Executions" detailed the summary executions of 320 people, 1,500 murders, and 13,500 arrests.
But "Chilean Executions" also revealed that the United States was expediting economic and military aid to Chile while it had intimate knowledge of gross human rights violations under Pinochet's new military junta. Even though some evidence was declassified, much still remained secret, presumably because the United States had too much to hide while overthrowing the Allende government and installing the Pinochet regime. The CIA had records that detailed the atrocities carried out by the DINA. The CIA also knew about Operation Condor -- the campaign of kidnappings and assassinations of political opponents carried out by led by Chile. According to a United States Senate committee report, the DINA asked the CIA in 1974 whether it could open a Condor office in Miami, but the CIA refused to do so. CIA officials told the Senate investigators that they learned of assassination plots against Pinochet's opponents in France and Portugal. They alerted government officials there, thus preventing the attacks. While the DINA sponsored acts of international terrorism, the CIA's Santiago station chief, Stuart Burton, maintained "a close relationship" with DINA commander Colonel Manuel Contreras. As former embassy official John Tipton said. They "used to go on Sunday picnics together with their families."
Since the Spanish investigators knew that the United States had massive evidence implicating the Pinochet regime, they invoked a bilateral Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty in February 1997. Spain's judiciary asked the Clinton administration to turn over its records on Operation Condor and other human rights abuses by the Chilean and Argentine dictatorships. But the White House stonewalled for more than a year before producing any records. Finally, in mid-1998 the Justice Department turned over four boxes of "files" to the Spanish judiciary. One box was filled with 1,000 pages of Chilean newspaper clips, which the Spanish judge had not requested. Another held Pentagon documents on a Contra operation in Honduras called "Condor" that was unrelated to Chile's Operation Condor. The other boxes contained thousands of pages of legal files on the prosecution of anti-Castro Cubans who participated in a car-bombing.
Despite the fact that the Spanish prosecutors were not given much assistance by the Clinton administration, they continued to attempt to dig up more evidence against Pinochet. Spanish law forbids trials in absentia, and the prosecutors knew that extradition was highly unlikely, even though a Spanish-Chilean treaty was intact.
In March, Britain's high court announced that Pinochet could face extradition only on torture charges after 1988 when Britain adopted an international anti-torture convention. Only one of the original cases that the Spanish judge had presented against Pinochet fell into that category, but he subsequently added the others. The Chilean government maintained that 3,197 people were killed and 1,000 disappeared in the political violence that marked Pinochet's reign.
In September, nearly one year after Pinochet was placed under house arrest, extradition hearing began in London. Thirty-five allegations of torture -- including conspiracy to torture, beatings, burnings, and suffocation -- were brought against Pinochet during his 1973-1990 rule in Chile.
The initial charges brought against Pinochet by the Spanish government included intentionally inflicting severe pain or suffering on:
-- Marta Lidia Ugarte Roman, by suspending her from a pole in a pit; pulling out her finger nails and toe nails, and burning her.
-- Meduardo Paredes Barrientos, by systematically breaking his wrists, pelvis, ribs, and skull; burning him with a blowtorch or flamethrower.
-- Adriana Luz Pino Vidal, a pregnant woman, by applying electric shocks to her vagina, ears, hands, feet, and mouth, and stubbing out cigarettes on her stomach.
-- Antonio Llido Mengual, a priest born in Valencia, Spain, by applying electric current to his genitals and repeatedly beating his whole body.
In March, Britain's highest court rejected Pinochet's claim of immunity from prosecution, but it drastically reduced the charges that could be brought against him and the chances that he would be extradited to Spain for trial. In a 6-1 decision, the Law Lords upheld Pinochet's arrest and determined that he could escape judgment solely because he was a former head of state. The decision was much narrower than one issued by another panel of Law Lords four months earlier.
This tribunal said that Pinochet could be tried only for torture offenses committed after September 29, 1988 -- the year before he stepped down as the Chilean dictator -- when Britain signed the International Convention Against Torture. Chile, Spain, the United States, and 108 other nations were also signatories. Pinochet could be extradited to Spain based on only three crimes after the September 1988 international law went into effect. Marcos Quezada Yanez, a 17-year-old student, was killed by Chilean police, and two conspiracies of torture occurred in this time frame. Quezada's death was a result of state policy, and Spanish authorities contended that Pinochet was responsibility because he tolerated, instigated, and covered up the crimes.
While Pinochet's legal battles proceeded, the "Memcon," communications between Pinochet and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger were released by journalist Lucy Komisar. This transcript revealed Kissinger's "friendship" and "sympathy" at the height of the dictator's repression in Chile. This communique showed that Pinochet raised the name of former Chilean ambassador to the United States, Orlando Letelier, twice. It also accused Kissinger of giving "false information" to Congress. In response, Kissinger said nothing when he had the opportunity to defend free speech and dissent in the United States. Ultimately, Letelier and his associate Ronni Moffitt were assassinated in Washington D.C. three months later.
In Kissinger's third volume of his memoirs, he gave an account of a meeting with Pinochet just a day before the secretary of state gave a speech on human rights at an OAS conference in Santiago. However, Kissinger's accounts of his meeting with the dictator was considerably less candid than the memo of their conversation revealed. Kissinger portrayed himself as pushing the issue of democracy and human rights, while the transcript made it clear that he was briefing Pinochet that the speech was intended to appease the American Congress and that the Chileans should all but ignore it. During the meeting Kissinger never used the word "democracy."
In the memo to Pinochet, Kissinger said, "I will treat human rights in general terms, and human rights in a world context. I will refer in two paragraphs to the report on Chile of the OAS Human Rights Commission. I will say that the human rights issue has impaired relations between the United States and Chile. This is partly the result of Congressional actions. I will add that I hope you will shortly remove those obstacles. ... I can do no less, without producing a reaction in the United States which would lead to legislative restrictions. The speech is not aimed at Chile. I wanted to tell you about this. My evaluation is that you are a victim of all left wing groups around the world and that your greatest sin was that you overthrew a government that was going communist."
Pinochet responded to Kissinger: "We are returning to institutionalization step-by-step. But we are constantly being attacked by the Christian Democrats. They have a strong voice in Washington. ... They do get through to Congress. Gabriel Valdez has access. Also Letelier."
In October, a London magistrate ruled that Pinochet should be extradited to Spain to stand trial. Pinochet released a statement declaring his innocence: "Spain has not produced a single piece of evidence which shows that I am guilty." Pinochet's attorneys immediately appealed the verdict to Britain's High Court, claiming that too much time has elapsed since the alleged crimes. They also charged that Pinochet's extradition would be "unjust and oppressive" and that the extradition request was made in bad faith. They argued that Spain failed to connect Pinochet -- even indirectly -- to the alleged crimes, that the charges did not constitute extraditable crimes, and that Spain did not have jurisdiction to try him. Pinochet's attorneys also sought the dismissal of all but two charges of torture and conspiracy to torture, saying only those charges left standing by the House of Lords could be considered.
The arrest warrant lists one count of conspiracy to torture and 34 specific incidents of torture against Chileans that allegedly occurred during Pinochet's final two years in power.
Pinochet's next step was to appeal to the High Court which could return the ruling to Home Secretary Jack Straw -- who initially ruled the extradition case could go forward in the courts -- for a final decision.
Meanwhile in the United States, Democratic representative Maurice Hinchey of New York proposed a legislative provision requiring the CIA to submit a report to Congress on all agency activities in Chile related to the Allende coup. Hinchey said, "I think that after the passage of all this time, it is appropriate that the United States Congress and the people of the United States and the people of the world understand ... the specific events which took place in Chile." His amendment was passed as part of the Fiscal 2000 Intelligence Authorization Act which required the CIA file a report on covert operations in Chile within 120 days and attach to it "copies of unedited documents in the possession of any ... element of the intelligence community with respect to such events."
However, the Hinchey amendment that emerged from a House-Senate conference committee, beyond extending the CIA's due date from four to nine months, deleted the requirement that all unedited documents on Chile be included. Members of the conference committee substituted non-binding report language stating that they expected Congress to be given access to Chile documents by two ongoing reviews: one by the Justice Department for a Spanish court prosecuting Pinochet and the other by the National Security Council as part of a special declassification initiative ordered by President Clinton in February 1999.
A team of four British physicians examined Pinochet in January 2000 and unanimously agreed that he was not medically fit to stand trial. But the British government refused to release the physicians' findings, claiming that Pinochet's medical files were patient confidentiality. Home Secretary Straw said on January 11 that he was "minded" or inclined to set Pinochet free immediately because of his advanced age and deteriorating health.
Several weeks later, High Court Judge Maurice Kay also supported Straw's stance to release Pinochet from house arrest and let him return home to Chile. Kay turned down appeals from six human rights groups and the Belgian government contesting the government's finding that the general was medically unfit to stand trial. She was emphatic in rejecting the arguments presented in two days of hearings, saying they were "inappropriate (and) utterly without merit." Kay added that Straw acted "lawfully, fairly and rationally" in not disclosing the medical documents.
Reed Brody, advocacy director of Human Rights Watch, responded to the judge's statement. He said, "We are dismayed by today's decision, which is a setback for Pinochet's thousands of victims in their quest for justice. It is a shame that the attempt to prosecute General Pinochet for the worst international crimes may be halted on the basis of secret medical evidence examined behind closed doors."
On January 31, 2000, the London High Court rejected on humanitarian grounds the attempts by six human rights groups and the Belgian government to block the release of Pinochet. Since mid-January a Chilean jet was parked at a British air base northwest of London waiting to take Pinochet back to the Chilean capital, Santiago.
Straw said he had accepted the findings of a panel of eminent British doctors that a series of strokes last year had left Pinochet unable to understand or contribute to complex legal proceedings and that he was, therefore, unfit to stand trial. The governments of Spain, Belgium, France, and Switzerland, asked for further medical tests for the ex-strongman, but Straw rejected their requests. In March Straw announced that Pinochet would be returned to Chile because of "brain damage." Judge Garzon made a last attempt by the Spanish at blocking Pinochet's release. He argued that he had a right to appeal Straw's decision on the grounds that the case was still before British courts. The 17 months of house arrest and legal maneuvering finally ended, and Pinochet flew home to Chile on March 2, 2000 on a jet which had been waiting at a British air force base for weeks.
Foreign Minister Juan Valdes declared that Pinochet's ordeal was his own fault. And President Eduardo Frei, who had pledged to bring about Pinochet's return before leaving office, said: "No Chilean can be above the rule of law and justice. It will be the Chilean courts, without any other intervention, that decide whether Senator Pinochet is responsible for the crimes of which he is accused." And Chile's two right-wing parties kept their distance from Pinochet, continuing a significant policy shift in which prominent rightist leaders have gone so far as to say that he must face justice in his home country.
Surprisingly, Chile's Supreme Court stripped Pinochet's immunity in August, clearing the way for the former dictator to be tried on human rights charges. The court voted 14-6 to allow him to be prosecuted on charges stemming from his 1973-1990 rule. The court turned down Pinochet's appeal of a lower court decision in June stripping him of the immunity he had as a senator-for-life. As reported in the New York Times (August 8, 2000), defense lawyer Gustavo Collao claimed, "This is not a defeat. Our next step, if a trial actually takes place, is to prove the complete innocence of General Pinochet."
Chile's Supreme Court dismissed the kidnapping and murder charges against Pinochet. But the court ordered that Pinochet be interrogated in 20 days. In a 4-to-1 decision, the judges upheld an appeals court decision that an investigative judge had improperly ordered the general's house arrest because he did not first seek a detailed deposition. But the Supreme Court effectively ordered the judge, Juan Guzmán Tapia, to move forward with a process that could lead to a proper arrest under rules of due process. That ruling suggested that the Supreme Court did not respond to pressures from the military and right-wing congressmen, as some human rights advocates had feared.
In late January 2001, Pinochet was placed under house arrest once again. According to the New York Times (January 31, 2001), Judge Juan Guzmán charged Pinochet with being a co-conspirator in the murders and kidnappings of 75 leftists after the coup that brought him to power in 1973 and ordered that he be placed under house arrest for the second time in two months. Judge Guzmán determined that Pinochet was mentally unfit to stand trial and halt the proceedings. An examination found that the general suffered from "moderate dementia," a loss of some memory from a series of minor strokes. In his deposition last week, Pinochet declared his innocence to Judge Guzmán. But the judge said he had enough evidence to proceed.
In December, lawyers for Pinochet filed a court motion to block a house arrest order against the former dictator on charges of kidnapping and murder. But in March 2001, a Chilean appellate court dismissed charges of homicide and kidnapping but ruled that he could be tried on charges that he covered up abuses by a military death squad after his 1973 coup. Although Chile's government insisted that the justice system acted independently in the Pinochet prosecution, the 2-1 ruling was seen as a compromise.
In a 2-to-1 decision by the Santiago Court of Appeals, charges were dropped against Pinochet in July 2001. The court ruled that he could not be brought to trial because of his deteriorating health and mental condition. The ruling said that Pinochet suffered from such severe dementia that he could not be prosecuted. (Los Angeles Times, July 10, 2001)
DECLASSIFYING CIA DOCUMENTS. Clinton announced the declassification effort after the arrest of Pinochet in 1998, ordering agencies across the federal government to review and broadly release secret American documents relating to political violence and human rights abuses in Chile from 1968 to 1991. The CIA's Directorate of Operations initially declassified 600 documents in June 1999 during the first of four scheduled release dates under Clinton's Chile declassification initiative.
A year alter, the CIA promised to declassify more classified information about CIA operations in Chile, but senior CIA officials still refused to give up hundreds of documents compiled under a declassification process ordered by Clinton. In August 2000, Director Tenet decided against declassifying hundreds of documents inside the agency's secretive Directorate of Operations on grounds that releasing them would reveal too much about CIA sources and methods.
CIA spokesman Bill Harlow said that hundreds of other CIA documents will be released as scheduled on September 14, including some pertaining to covert operations in 1970 aimed at keeping Allende from taking power. But Harlow said that CIA officials decided hundreds of others could not be released without damaging intelligence sources and operational methods.
Another senior intelligence official said in the Washington Post (August 11, 2000) that "a compelling case (has) been made with regard to how methods would be affected" if certain documents related to later covert activities in Chile were released. "No one is hiding a human rights abuse in what's left. This was not a frivolous (decision). At the end of the day, we could only go so far."
But the CIA's reluctance to release documents compiled by its own personnel triggered criticism inside and outside the Clinton administration. P. J. Crowley, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said, "We have built an inter-agency process to declassify as many documents as possible, consistent with protecting sources and methods. Between now and next month, we will be pushing everyone involved to make sure we declassify as much as we can." Another administration official, demanding anonymity, offered a harsher assessment. "The credibility of the whole project has been hurt by the way the CIA has handled it." He added that tenet and others at the CIA seem to have backed away from commitments for broad declassification which they made in 1999 to national security adviser Sandy Berger.
American involvement in Angola initially began in April 1974 after a leftist coup ended hundreds of years of Portuguese domination. Early the next year, the Portuguese government negotiated with three tribal rebel groups -- the Popular Front for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), the National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA), and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA). The groups agreed to form a coalition government and to work towards setting up free elections. All three tribal groups were left of center and somewhat socialistic, and all had received some weapons and aid from communist countries.
The FNLA was founded in 1954 by Holden Roberto, and the group consisted of about 700,000 Bakongo tribal members. Ten years later, Roberto's top lieutenant, Jonas Savimbi, broke away and formed UNITA which consisted of two million members of the Ovimbundo tribe. Just prior to the 1974 coup, the CIA supported both UNITA and the FNLA. The agency provided intelligence reports to the FNLA while selling older bombers to UNITA. In addition the CIA permitted UNITA to recruit Cuban pilots.
After the Portuguese departed in 1974, the National Security Council "40 Committee" agreed to appropriate more funds in the amount of $300,000 to the FNLA while refusing to approve $100,000 for Savimbi's UNITA. Meanwhile, the Soviet Union decided to provide weapons to the MPLA which also had ties to Cuba and China.
The following year, the 40 Committee approved Operation Feature, a projected $100 million covert effort to place the FNLA in power. First, in July 1974 President Ford approved $14 million in weapons which were flown to the FNLA in Angola on Air Force transports. Then a shipload of personnel carriers and rifles was sent to both FNLA and UNITA troops at the end of August. Meanwhile, the South African government initiated its clandestine "Zulu" operation, providing arms and military personnel to UNITA forces.
Threatened by the FNLA and UNITA, the MPLA turned to the Soviet Union and Cuba. Castro provided 5,000 soldiers by the end of 1975, while the Soviets provided weapons which were valued at $100 million by the end of the year.
After the Hughes-Ryan Amendment became law, the American intelligence community was forced to notify various congressional committees about its covert war in Angola. Democratic Senator Dick Clark, chairman of the African Affairs subcommittee of the Foreign Relations Committee, was critical of the role of the United States in Angola and with the South African regime. During 1975 and 1976, the intelligence committees were briefed 35 times by the CIA. Director Colby continued to deny that American weapons were sent to Angolan rebels, and he also maintained that no Americans were in Angola.
Articles in the New York Times and the Washington Post first broke in September 1975, and they revealed American complicity in Angola. Three months later, CIA official William Nelson admitted the truth about the agency's involvement. This lie led to the termination of further American aid to the guerrillas.
Known as the Clark Amendment, all aid to Angola was terminated. The legislation passed the Senate by 54-22 in December 1975, and it passed in the House the following month. Despite the fact that he probably opposed the amendment, Ford signed it into law on January 9, 1976. For the first time, a covert operation carried out by the intelligence community was stopped by Congress. But when George Bush was appointed DCI, he refused to confirm whether American aid had been terminated.
Even before the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, the CIA moved quickly to aid the rebel Mujahaddin rebels and to shore up relations with Pakistan's General Mohammed Zia ul-Haq. Zia set up the Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) to oversee intelligence on the Afghan-Pakistani border as well as allying itself with the CIA.
In May 1979, seven months before the Soviets moved into Kabul, the first CIA shipment of arms began to flow to Pakistan and on to Mujaheddin camps. The hub of CIA activity center in Islamabad. The operation began with $30 million in weapons a year in the early stages. It then grew slowly and eventually reached $700 million in 1988. Within ten years the United States had funneled in $3 billion in aid to the Mujaheddin, and the CIA had provided the rebels with $2 billion in covert aid. This was the largest covert shipment of arms, next to that which was delivered to Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War, in the CIA's history.
However, much of those funds and arms earmarked for the Mujaheddin was funneled to other sources. First, Pakistani forces took a chunk off the top. Then Mujaheddin leader stole hundreds of millions of dollars of anti-aircraft guns, missiles, rocket-propelled grenades, AK-47 rifles, ammunition, and mines. Some of these weapons were sold to criminal gangs, drug kingpins, and the Iranian military. Other weapons were stockpiled by guerrilla leaders, waiting for the time when the Soviets would depart and when they could expand their territory. Estimates of the thefts and diversions of the CIA weapons ranged from $600 million to over $1 billion. State Department officials even acknowledged that the losses may have been as high as 50 percent or more of all the arms destined to reach the Mujaheddin. The department's estimate of losses was only $350 million.
The Mujaheddin also needed funds with which to purchase more arms, to bribe mule drivers, and to for oil from neighboring Arab countries. So the CIA counterfeited over $20 million in cash. Yet they still needed more CIA aid. CIA Director Casey then turned to areas where dollars could be hidden from Congress. The CIA formed partnerships with Saudi Arabia and surprisingly with China and its newest archrival, Iran, after the Shah had fallen from power. These countries contributed more than $750 million in weapons and money to the Mujaheddin cause.
In 1981, the CIA sold AWACs reconnaissance planes to Crown Prince Fahd of Saudi Arabia, and netted $8.5 billion from the sales. Then Casey began to urge the royal family to work with the CIA in order to finance the Afghan war. The CIA set up a secret bank account in Switzerland, and the Saudis contributed sums equal to the CIA's legal allotment to finance the Mujaheedin. In addition, the royal family also poured in millions of dollars to finance the Contras in Central America. In addition President Reagan used emergency war powers and arranged 400 Stinger missile sales to Saudi Arabia in 1984 and 1985 for over one-half billion dollars which was then channeled into secret accounts in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands. Between $500 million and $525 million was set aside specifically for the Afghan guerrillas, while $32 million was earmarked for the Contras.
In 1980, Chinese Defense Minister Geng Biao agreed to help the Afghan cause and allowed the CIAto coordinate shipments of Chinese-made weapons to the guerrillas. For two years the CIA paid China to ship arms by land through Pakistan and on to the resistance fighters in Afghanistan. Between 1983 and 1985, the shipment of weapons accelerated, and the CIA began purchasing anti-aircraft guns, rocket launchers, and surface-to-air missiles from China. The Chinese were willing to sell their outdated stockpiles of Soviet-made weapons and were eager to replace them with modern weaponry. In addition, Israel hoped to sell its modern weapons' components to China. So the CIA arranged for Israel to receive millions of dollars in credit toward the purchase of sophisticated American weapons systems. This allowed China to export numerous weapons to a dummy corporation set up by the CIA.
In 1987, more than $600 million in weapons poured into the Mujaheddin pipeline. The next year, the amount reached $700 million. In 1989, newly elected President Bush convened a meeting with the NSC and decided to continue with $700-per-year funding even though there were concrete signs that the Soviets were beginning to withdraw from Afghanistan. After nearly 10 years in Afghanistan, the Soviet Union packed up and departed. The war had promised nothing more than death and destruction. This was the cost of the CIA's involvement in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Since the 1980s Libya has repeatedly been charged with terrorism. In 1981 the Reagan administration chose to conduct military maneuvers approximately 100 miles off the coast of Libya, an obvious act of provocation. Libya had declared these to be national waters in the Gulf of Sidra. The White House declared that their waters did not extend more than 12 miles off their coast. When two Libyan jets approached the American warships, they were promptly shot down.
In the late 1980s, terrorist attacks in Europe were blamed on the Gadaffi regime. The Reagan administration claimed that Libya was responsible for the bombing of the German LaBelle nightclub which killed an American soldier. As a result, in 1986, Reagan directed the air force to strike civilian targets in Tripoli. Reagan stated that his goal was "contributing to an international environment of peace, freedom, and progress within which our democracy - and other fee nations - can flourish." Nine F-111 bombers from German bases carried 36 laser-guided 2,000 bombs. Not only were there extensive damage and casualties, but Gadaffi's home was bombed and two of his sons were maimed and his daughter was killed. In addition, a hundred residents were killed. Reagan stated that this was a mere coincidence, and that their home was not targeted by American bombers.
In the 1990s, the White House charged Libya with being behind the downing of Pan American Flight 103 which crashed over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 people. There was no evidence that the perpetrators had any links to Syria or Libya. A year later the Bush administration paid the Syrian government one billion dollars to be part of the coalition to support the war against Iraq.
The Reagan administration stepped up military aid to the Honduran government in the 1980s. Honduras became one of the more important Central American regimes, since it was used as a training ground for guerrillas in the Contra War. Reagan turned his back on dismal reports from human rights groups on abuses. In November 1998 the CIA declassified 211 pages of documents which indicated that the agency misled Congress about human rights abuses in Honduras in the early 1980s. Honduras' special military intelligence unit, trained by the CIA, killed and "disappeared" hundreds of Hondurans. Needless to say, the report said that CIA employees did not participate in torture sessions. However, the report was so heavily censored that even parts of the table of contents were blacked out along with at least 50 other pages in their entirety.
The CIA refused to name those involved in torturing, kidnapping, and executing civilians. The agency was protected under the Human Rights Information Act from disclosing any CIA relationship with people named in the documents. This in effect immunized the criminals because of their CIA association. But the report did identify General Alvarez Martinez as one of the individuals who personally approved illegal executions without discussion of his close relationship with the CIA.
According to a CIA cable in 1995 -- that was made public in 1999 -- the intelligence branch of Honduras' paramilitary security forces maintained a secret unit between 1980 and 1984. It was known as the Honduran Anti-Communist Liberation Army. The unit's stated purpose was to fight Honduran leftists, including a fledgling rebel army that was backed by both the Nicaraguan government and the FMLN guerrillas in El Salvador. According to the cable, the unit's operations "included surveillance, kidnappings, interrogations under duress, and execution of prisoners who were Honduran revolutionaries."/P>
Another declassified CIA document reported Honduran military abuses following a major army operation in 1983 in the northwestern province of Olancho. The army executed several prisoners. The CIA failed to properly investigate and inform Congress about the reports. One of those reportedly killed during the operation was an American Jesuit priest, the Reverend James Carney. Although the report did not explain how Carney died, it suggested that the CIA received numerous allegations that he was among the prisoners who were executed. Guerrillas with whom Carney was traveling said he died of starvation.
According to a CIA cable in 1995, the intelligence branch of Honduras' paramilitary security forces maintained a secret unit between 1980 and 1984 that was known as the Honduran Anti-Communist Liberation Army. The unit's stated purpose was to fight Honduran leftists, including the rebel army that was backed by both the Nicaraguan government and Marxist rebels in El Salvador. The cable stated that the unit's operations "included surveillance, kidnappings, interrogations under duress, and execution of prisoners who were Honduran revolutionaries."
THE DUVALIERS. In 1957, Francois Duvalier -- Papa Doc -- assumed power in Haiti. For over two decades, with the help of the secret police known as the "Tonton Macoutes," he ran a repressive government which was responsible for imprisoning, torturing, and killing thousands of dissidents. When he died in 1971, his son, Baby Doc, continued in his footsteps in Latin America's poorest country where 90 percent of the nation's population of 7.5 million live below the poverty level.
Many members of both the Republican and Democratic parties were ardent supporters of the Duvaliers. Particularly Republican Senator Jesse Helms and several Democrats had close ties with the Duvaliers and as well as with drug dealers in Haiti. Former DNC chair and Commerce Secretary Ron Brown headed a law firm that represented the Duvalier family for decades. Part of that representation was a public relations campaign that stressed Duvalier's opposition to communism in the cold war. United States support for Duvalier was worth more than $400 million in aid to the country.
By 1985, the cartels began to seek additional transit points for cocaine coming to the United States. Haiti was a particularly appealing option for drug traffickers because of its location, its weak and corrupt government, and its unstable political situation. Haiti is located on the most direct route from Colombia to the United States. Haiti has harbors and inlets which afford excellent protection to drug smuggling vessels. Moreover, the Haitian Air Force has no radar facilities and does not routinely patrol Haitian airspace. Drug planes can take off and land freely at any of the island's numerous secondary airstrips.
Since the day of "Papa Doc" Duvalier, Haiti's government has been notorious for its corruption. The Duvalier family and their associates profited enormously from the protection of many illegal enterprises, including narcotics trafficking. However, until 1987 most of the drug smuggling through Haiti was conducted by individual organizations which made their own arrangements with the Haitian government officials.
Since the departure of "Baby Doc" Duvalier and the presidential elections of 1987, the Colombians took advantage of the complete breakdown of government institutions and began to move into the country in force. They focused their efforts on corrupting key military officers who were in a position to assure that there would be no interference with their operations. According to DEA intelligence the number of Colombian narcotic traffickers residing in Haiti was growing daily and the narcotic organizations began to use Haiti as a base of operations. In addition, these organizations were buying up legitimate businesses to serve as front companies for their smuggling operations. Once having gained access to local commerce, they focused on corrupting public officials to protect their interests.
Osvaldo Quintana, a Cuban-American who became involved in drug smuggling from Haiti to Miami, Quintana later testified about his experience before a federal grand jury in Miami. He explained that the Colombians established a working relationship with Colonel Jean-Claude Paul by and with a Haitian named Cardozo. The Colombians agreed to pay Paul, the commander of the Desallines Barracks, for protection and use of the runway on his ranch for cocaine flights. Paul played a pivotal role in Haitian politics because his unit was responsible for the protection of the Presidential Palace. Paul was very influential during the 1987 election when much of the violence was attributed to soldiers and security officials known as Tontons Macoute which acted under his direction.
According to Quintana, the payoffs to Paul were to be made by Cardozo on a shipment-by-shipment basis. In October 1986 Paul became dissatisfied with the amount of money he was receiving and seized a shipment of drugs in protest. The Colombians investigated the seizure and found that their middle man, Cardozo, had been pocketing most of the money which they thought was going to Paul. The Colombians sent a team of hit-men to Haiti and brought Cardozo back to Colombia where he was tortured for this "theft." The money was repaid and Paul's demands were satisfied.
Quintana also testified in court about the efforts which Paul, his wife Marie Mireille Delinois, and his brother made to establish their own cocaine distribution system in Miami. Roger Biamby, a Haitian community leader in Miami, told the subcommittee that Paul and other military officers owned ships which sailed between Miami and Haiti carrying cocaine. Quintana's testimony coupled with that of other witnesses led to the indictment for cocaine trafficking of Paul and his wife by a federal grand jury in Miami. However, once indicted, they could not be prosecuted due to the lack of an extradition treaty between the United States and Haiti. Furthermore, the Haitian constitution in effect at the time prohibited the extradition of Haitian nationals.
THE KERRY COMMITTEE. In 1988, the Kerry committee hearings convened. Centered around Iran-Contra and allegations of drug trafficking during the Contra war, stories of Haiti's involvement in illicit trade first surfaced. Evidence, which was produced at the hearings, eventually led to the indictment in Miami in 1988 of Colonel Jean Paul. In November 1989, he was found dead after poison had been added to a bowel of pumpkin soup. Haitian officials accused Paul's wife of the murder, apparently because she had been cheated out of her share of a cocaine deal by associates of her husband involved in smuggling.
Fernando Burgos Martinez, a Colombian national with major business interests in Haiti, was heavily involved in cocaine trafficking. According to the Kerry report, Martinez was the "bag man" for Colombia's cocaine cartels, and he helped provide bribes paid to the Haitian military. According to Miami attorney John Mattes who was defending a Cuban-American drug trafficker cooperating with American prosecutors, Martinez was paid $30,000 to bribe Haitian authorities into releasing two drug pilots who were jailed in Haiti. Today he operates a casino which reportedly is a money laundering operation for cocaine trade.
A former agent in charge of the Miami DEA, Thomas Cash, told the Kerry committee that numerous small airstrips were used by drug smugglers, who were overlooked by Haitian air patrols. He further testified that corrupt public officials made Haiti a "very fertile ground for drug traffickers." More testimony was heard from drug trafficker George Morales testified that in the 1980's Haiti was a "parking lot" for drugs which were en route northward to the United States.
The Kerry committee heard testimony that former interior minister, General Williams Regala, supervised cocaine shipments. The testimony also charged the then Haitian military commander General Henry Namphy with accepting bribes from Colombian traffickers in return for the use of airstrips in the mid-1980's.
Furnando Burgos Martinez, a Colombian national with business interests in Haiti, allegedly was a major cocaine trafficker. The DEA claimed that he was involved in every major drug shipment to Haiti since 1987. According to the Kerry report Martinez was a "bag man" for Colombia's cocaine cartels and supervised bribes paid to the Haitian military. According to Miami attorney John Mattes, Martinez was paid $30,000 to bribe Haitian authorities into releasing two drug pilots jailed in Haiti. Martinez claims innocence and presently operates a Port-de-Prince plush casino which generates $50 million a week in the capital city.
The Kerry committee also heard testimony that former Interior Minister General Williams Regala and his DEA liaison officer protected and supervised cocaine shipments. The testimony also charged then-Haitian military commander General Henry Namphy with accepting bribes from Colombian traffickers in return for using Haiti as a transit point for delivering drugs into the United States.
In 1989, yet another military coup brought Colonel Prosper Avril to power. Under American pressure Avril fired 140 officers suspected of drug trafficking. Avril has been sued by six Haitians, including Port-au-Prince mayor Evans Paul, who claimed that they were imprisoned and tortured by the Haitian military under Avril's orders in November 1989. According to testimony before the Kerry subcommittee, Avril was a major player in Haiti's moving cartel cocaine into the United States.
Many of Haiti's leaders were kept on the CIA payroll. There is evidence that many of them have been involved in human rights violations which include tortures and murders when over 3,000 Haitians were killed and more than 2,000 others were injured. Additionally, some have had their American assets frozen and have been prevented from entering the United States.
In April 1994, a convicted Colombian drug trafficker, Gabriel Taboada, who was sentenced to 12 years in a Miami federal prison, told the Kerry committee that Francois collaborated in shipping tons of cocaine to the United States during then 1980s. Taboada said he met Francois while he was in the Medellin, Colombia office of drug king Pablo Escobar, when he was arranging a cocaine transaction in 1984. Taboada told the committee that the cartel Colombian planes would land in Haiti and were protected by the military. He maintained that Francois protected the drugs in Haiti and then allowed the drugs to continue to the United States. Taboada also told the committee that Haitian military figures often met Medellin cartel members in Colombia.
Since then the role of Haiti in the drug trade has grown, and the profits to the Haitian officials involved have skyrocketed. A confidential DEA report provided to Michigan Representative John Conyers told of the case of Tony Greco, a former DEA agent in Haiti, who fled for his life in September 1992, following the arrest of a Haitian military officer charged with drug running. Elie said that he received no assistance from the Haitian military in attempts to interdict drug shipments. When Greco received information in May 1991 that 400 kilos of cocaine were arriving in Haiti, the DEA man watched helplessly as the drugs were delivered to waiting boats. Greco told Elie that the military was absent at a moment they knew drugs were being imported.
Greco said he finally gave up and fled the country after he received a telephone death threat against his family. He stated that only Cedras and Francois had his private number. Despite Greco's experiences, the DEA defended their continuing presence in Haiti. Today there are still two DEA agents stationed in the country, and the DEA has continued its contacts with the military following Aristide's ouster. The DEA admits that in 1993 over 26,400 pounds of cocaine entered the United States from Haiti with the cooperation of the military.
The State Department's International Narcotics Control Strategy report stated that the drug-related activity in Haiti is low. According to the report, there is no evidence that links Haiti officials to drug trafficking. Representative Major Owens, who heads the Haiti committee of the Congressional Black Caucus, maintained that the State Department's failed to recognize evidence of corruption by Haiti's military commanders and that Secretary of State Warren Christopher was guilty of a double standard.
The DEA had great difficulty in developing cases against the principal Haitian traffickers in Miami. In order to penetrate the close-knit Haitian society, the authorities had to rely on wiretaps, informants and undercover operations. However, law enforcement agencies employed a limited number of French-Creole speaking officers, and undercover operations were limited as a result. DEA regional chief Tom Cash testified that his operations in Haiti were also affected by this problem. According to testimony, the drugs rarely came through the airport, but instead were moved by private ships and planes through other shipment points. Even if the surveillance provided useful information, United States attorney Gregorie argued that Haiti lacked an honest police force to make arrests and punish offenders. Moreover, when Haitian authorities seized drugs from traffickers, the smugglers were not only set free, but the narcotics were frequently resold by the authorities.
ARISTIDE ATTEMPTS TO RETURN. In 1990, Aristide was the popular candidate for president, primarily as a result of his promises to institute social reforms. However, he was labeled a leftist and consequently not acceptable to the Bush administration. The CIA initiated a propaganda campaign against Aristide, making him out to be a manic depressive and unfit for the presidency. Nevertheless, in 1990, he was elected to office with 70 percent of the vote. From the outset he sought to double the minimum wage from two dollars to four dollars per day. He attempted to establish a social security system and promised land for the peasants. However, seven months after his inauguration he was driven from office, as the military seized control. Aristide was forced to flee to Canada. When the military junta refused to abdicate, the United Nations imposed economic sanctions.
Eventually, coup leader General Raoul Cedras agreed to allow Aristide to return in exchange for an end to the embargo. In 1993, Aristide was elected with a 70 percent approval in Haiti's first democratic election. Speaking before the United Nations' General Assembly, Aristide maintained that Haiti's military exercised de facto control over much of the country and that many of the leaders were heavily involved in drug trafficking. Aristide said that Haiti was the transit point for Colombia's Cali cartel to ship 50 tons of cocaine, worth billions of dollars, each year into the United States. This money has netted Haiti's military rulers $200 million in profits.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairperson Jesse Helms immediately launched a disinformation campaign to keep Aristide out of Haiti. He enlisted CIA agent Brian Latell who testified to members of Congress that Aristide was a schizophrenic and incapable of governing his country. Latell maintained that Aristide was committed to a mental institution part of the time that he lived in exile in Canada. However, documents proved that Latell and Helms had lied. In fact, during this time frame Aristide was visiting Israel at the time.
Helms was not the only supporter of the repressive Duvalier family. Democrat Ron Brown had headed a law firm that represented the Duvaliers for decades. In addition, United States support for the Duvaliers added up to over $400 million while the family ran a brutal right wing dictatorship prior to 1986.
The Organization of American States (OAS) imposed an ineffective embargo on Haiti while its coup leaders remained in power. In 1993 just prior to Aristide's ascent to power, a confidential congressional report leaked to the media. It stated that "corruption levels within the (Haitian military-run) narcotics service are substantial enough to hamper any significant investigation attempting to dismantle a Colombian organization in Haiti." The report said that more than 1,000 Colombians were living in Haiti and were using forged passports from neighboring Dominican Republic. However, President Joaquin Belaguer of the Dominican Republic opposed a United Nations blockade of Haiti. Despite the embargo and the American naval blockade of Haiti, cocaine shipments could not be terminated.
In December 1995, Haiti's second free elections took place, but this time voter turnout dropped to 50 percent. The small percent of Haitians, the small business owners who have avoided the poverty level, turned out to cast their ballots. However, most did not vote because of their disappointment that Haiti's economic standards have not improved. The winner was Rene Preval, candidate for the three party Lavalas Platform coalition. He promised to run a "law-and-order" government and suggested that he would privatize much of the country's industries.
By the late 1990s, human rights violations continued to flourish under Aristide's government. Torture, executions, and political arrests still continue. Since 1994, little progress has been made in bringing to justice those responsible for human rights violations, past or present. In early 1998, at least three police officers were lynched. Since Aristide's return to power, victims and relatives of victims were encouraged to lodge complaints. However, very few protests reached the courts. Only three prominent human rights cases were brought to trial.
THE 2004 HAITIAN COUP. At the beginning of 1998, Haitian public security chief Robert Manuel warned of "macabre plots" by international drug cartels to infiltrate the country's government and police force. A large shipment of Colombian cocaine destined for the United States was abandoned in the village of Aquin, and peasants scrambled to grab the drugs. The police arrived, beat several villagers, and seized the cocaine for their own use. Twenty police officers were later arrested. The enormous amount of cocaine which are regularly seized by Haitian police, who are paid a mere $313 a month, continues to disappear. Cocaine trafficking continues to flourish. Shipments arrive by sea or air along a 955-mile coastline, and most of it is moved to the neighboring Dominican Republic which is the main staging area for transferring it to the United States.
The groundwork for the Haiti coup was laid soon after Aristide was reinstated by the Clinton Administration in 1994. From the outset, Aristide never had the support of the Haitian people. American Marines were sent into Haiti and remained for about one and one-half years. There was no attempt to disarm the Haitian army, as Clinton knew their weapons might, some day, be used against the Aristide regime. (The Nation, March 4, 2004)
After George W. Bush was elected, he his administration called the 2000 legislative elections corrupt and portrayed the elected government as illegitimate. Nonetheless, Aristide would have won overwhelmingly no matter what procedures were used. Even polls commissioned by the United States showed the opposition parties of the ruling elite enjoying the support of no more than 20 percent of the Haitian electorate. (World Socialist, March 3, 2004)
The Bush administration used this as a pretext to continue an aid embargo on Haiti, denying $500 million in humanitarian assistance from multiple lending organizations. Bush also mandated that aid would be funneled into Haiti only on the condition that new elections be held. While Aristide agreed to another vote, the opposition rejected all proposals, effectively blocking desperately needed funding and further deepening the country’s economic and social crisis. (World Socialist, March 3, 2004)
Bush denied he encouraged rebel Haitian forces to revolt. From the outset, the administration actively took the side of an armed band of “death-squad veterans and convicted murderers” against a government that had been democratically elected three times. The rebels in the Port-au-Prince slum consisted of “upper-class, urban paramilitaries who say they are protecting their property, families and country.” (Boston Globe, March 2, 2004)
But what really did happen? Did the Bush administration summarily deny military protection to Aristide, and if so, why and when? Did the Bush administration supply weapons to the rebels who were armed with sophisticated equipment that one year earlier had been taken by the United States military to the Dominican Republic? Why did the Bush administration abandon the call of European and Caribbean leaders for a political compromise, a compromise that Aristide had already accepted? Most important, did the Bush administration orchestrate the coup?
The White House signaled that it would welcome a coup. The Toronto Globe and Mail (March 2, 2004) reported, “U.S. officials made it abundantly clear to their counterparts in Ottawa that Washington had a ‘high tolerance’ for further Haitian bloodshed and would not be pressured into defending Mr. Aristide in order to prevent it.”
Secretary of State Colin Powell referred to the rebels as “thugs.” He initially rebuked the rebels’ call to forcibly remove Aristide. But the Administration soon said a solution in Haiti “could indeed involve changes in Aristide’s position.” (Miami Herald, February 12, 2004; Washington Post, February 19, 2004)
One week later, Powell’s story changed. He made it clear that the Bush administration was in close contact with the rebels. He told CNN, “We have ways of talking to the various rebel leaders, and (we’re) pleased that at least so far they’ve said they are not interested in violence anymore and want to put down their arms.” (CNN, March 1, 2004)
As armed gangs surrounded the Haitian capital, Powell made clear that “here is frankly no enthusiasm” or “ending in military or police forces to put down the violence.” That was a clear signal for the rebels to continue their insurgency. (Sun Sentinel, March 2, 2004; Vice President Cheney’s interview on Fox News, March 3, 2004)
The rebels -- disbanded by Aristide in 1995 -- took over the barracks facing the National Palace, freed 2,000 political prisoners, and declared their intention to reconstruct the Haitian Army. Notorious killers from previous dictatorships were liberated. They included Prosper Avril, who headed a military junta that ruled the country from 1988 to 1990 and was convicted on charges of illegally imprisoning and torturing political dissidents. (World Socialist, March 3, 2004)
Bush refused to use military leverage until the February 2004 coup had succeeded and Aristide had been whisked away to the Central African Republic in February 2004. He quickly ordered 2,000 Marines to Haiti. The Bush administration in essence supported political forces linked to decades of dictatorship and counterrevolutionary terror in Haiti. (UPI, March 2, 2004; New York Times, February 29, 2004; Financial Times, March 3, 2004)
The military intervention by the Bush administration clearly defined its commitment to nation-building, a position that Bush had vehemently opposed during the 2000 campaign.
Despite denials by the Bush administration, it was apparent that high-level officials were complicit in the coup. BBC reported that there was international “unease over Aristide’s fall” with the Caribbean regional group, Caricom. Caricom said that the Bush administration’s removal of Aristide could set “a dangerous precedent for democratically-elected governments everywhere.” (BBC, March 2, 2004)
The United States lawyer representing the government of Haiti charged that the Bush administration was directly involved in a military coup. Ira Kurzban, the Miami-based attorney who served as General Counsel to the Haitian government since 1991, said that the paramilitaries fighting to overthrow Aristide were backed by the Bush administration. (Common Dreams, February 25, 2004)
According to Aristide’s lawyer, the United States blocked reinforcement of Aristide’s own security detail. At the airport, Aristide said, United States officials refused him entry to the airplane until he handed over a signed letter of resignation. (Los Angeles Times, March 5, 2004)
After being hustled aboard, Aristide was denied access to a phone for nearly 24 hours, and he knew nothing of his destination until he and his family were summarily deposited in the Central African Republic. (Los Angeles Times, March 5, 2004)
The coup was a major victory for the Bush administration’s assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs. Noreiga, whose influence over United States policy toward Haiti increased during the past decade, “has been dedicated to ousting Aristide for many, many years, and now he’s in a singularly powerful position to accomplish it. … Also working hand in hand with Noriega on Haiti has been National Security Council envoy Otto Reich.” (Newsday, March 2, 2004)
AND THE MARCH GOES ON . . .
The CIA engaged in numerous other covert activities since its inception. Agents infiltrated China after Mao's revolution in 1949. The CIA sought to diminish the influence of the Soviet Union in eastern and southern Europe after World War II. The agency was active in Italy in 1947 and 1948, in Greece in the late 1940s and early 1950s, and in Albania between 1949 and 1953. It also intervened in Lebanon in response to the Eisenhower doctrine in 1958. The CIA actively sought to destabilize governments in Latin America: British Guiana in the 1950s and 1960s; Ecuador between 1960 and 1963; Peru in the first half of the 1960s; Uruguay in the late 1960s; Bolivia between 1964 and 1975; Jamaica in the late 1970s; and Suriname between 1982 and 1984. In Africa the CIA intervened in Algeria in the 1960s, in Ghana in 1966; in Angola in the mid-1970s; and in Morocco in 1983.