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FBI Faget Hoax collapses

The Faget case: an attack on Elian's repatriation and the rights of all Americans by José G. Pérez,  3/7/00

The Miami FBI Office: terrorism, drugs, and politics, Felix Martinez, 3/7/00

Imperatori Statement on Leaving Canada: Accuses Elian's uncle of molesting children when a young man

Imperatori expelled, 2/26

US seen orchestrating a severing of relations, 2/26

Cuban diplomat Imperatori goes on hunger strike, 2/26

Imperatori statement to the American people, 2/26

Granma on the FBI fabrications, 2/25

Faget "spy partner" staunch anti-Castro businessman, 2/21

COINTELPRO Rises Again, 2/19

Links with further news

Imperatori.jpg (10792 bytes)
Imperatori

Cuba resists Miami FBI hoax

Felix Wilson, Fernando Remirez, and Kurt Schmoke

Felix Wilson, Fernando Remírez, Kurt Schmoke

The FBI set a trap for a Cuban-born Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) officer, Mariono Faget, leading him to believe that a Cuban diplomat he had had perfectly normal dealings with over family matters was about to defect. On 2/11, Faget told his business partner, like him a staunch anti-Castroite, and the FBI arrested him on 2/17 for spying, just before the Elian case was due in court. The State Department  expelled Jose Imperatori, a vice-consul at the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, DC, who refused to leave and was finally escorted out of the country by 8 FBI agents on 2/26.  Imperatori was represented by former Baltimore mayor Kurt Schmoke, who organized the exchange of baseball games with Cuba last year.  Schmoke is accompanied in the photo on the right by Fernando Remírez, the chief of the Cuban Interests Section, and Felix Wilson, the deputy chief.

We received an article on 2/19 by Jose Perez about the FBI's latest entrapment, and we were compelled by the solidity of the argument. It was followed on 2/21 with an article with reinforcing information about INS official Mariano Faget's supposed spy partner, Pedro Font, and how he is in fact a staunch anti-Castro businessman.  Of course, we don't see the fearless agents arresting him...

Cuba refused to withdraw the diplomat accused of being Faget's control, Jose Imperatori, in the Cuban Interests Section.  Imperatori announced a hunger strike, then was expelled on 2/26. As one long time observer of the Miami scene puts it: "An impartial and fair investigation of the FBI charges would have revealed the extent of a long tradition of political collaboration between the FBI office in Miami and the most rabid sectors of the Cuban exile counterrevolution." Clearly that cannot be allowed to happen, it would make the FBI - Bulger collaboration in Boston look benevolent.

Ricardo Alarcon, president of Cuba's Asemblea Nacional, had this to say, according to an interview in the Miami Herald, published 2/25:

Alarcon asserted that the spying allegations were crafted by Cuban exiles and FBI officials in Miami to divert attention from the highly publicized case of Elian Gonzalez, the 6-year-old Cuban boy who is the subject of a custody battle across the Florida Straits.

``It was an attempt to undermine the position of the [U.S.] immigration service in the Elian Gonzalez case,'' Alarcon said. He blamed Cuban exiles, and the Cuban American National Foundation, the leading anti-Castro lobby group, for stirring up the spy case to delay the boy's return.

Finally, on 3/25, this whole hoax started to unravel as the FBI admitted that Faget was not spying for Cuba!

Let Bill Clinton (president@whitehouse.gov) and Janet Reno (web@usdoj.gov) 202-514-2001 know how you feel.

Note: see our Miami FBI Office: Terrorism, Drugs, and Politics for the background to this affair.

The Faget case: an attack on Elian's repatriation and the rights of all Americans
by José G. Pérez,  3/7/00

Federal prosecutors trying the case of Mariano Faget, the INS bureaucrat accused of being a Cuban spy, are trying to deny him basic due process rights, including the right to a speedy trial, to a lawyer of his own choosing, to an impartial jury and to see the evidence against him.

Faget was publicly branded a Cuban intelligence agent after he told a Pedro Font, a business associate and life-long friend, about a Cuban diplomat acquaintance of the two men who supposedly was defecting to the United States. Published reports initially identified the defector as Cuban diplomat Jose Imperatori; later reports indicate it was his predecessor as second consul in the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, Luis Molina. Font apparently had a meeting scheduled with the Cuban the next day, and Faget testified he was afraid his friend would become enmeshed in some Cuban intelligence operation.

In fact, the defection story was fabricated out of whole cloth by the FBI, which has not stopped the government from accusing Faget of betraying "national defense" information by alerting his friend to the supposed defection.

The charges against Faget were made public at the end of February on the last working day before a scheduled federal court hearing on the Elián González case. González is a six-year-old boy being retained against his father's wishes by distant relatives in Miami. The Immigration and Naturalization Service has ruled that the boy must be returned to his father, a decision endorsed both by Attorney General Janet Reno and President Bill Clinton. The boy remains in Miami with the acquiescence of the authorities, who more than two months after that ruling, have not lifted a finger to enforce it.

Last week, a federal grand jury multiplied the charges against Faget from two to five. He is accused of both revealing the (false) information as well as of "conversion" of government property (the same fraudulent report) for personal use. He is also accused of not having told truth about his meetings with the two Cuban diplomats and about his relationship to CubaAmerica, a corporation he and a life-long friend set up to do business with Cuba once the blockade ended.

This piling on of charges reveals just how absurd the government's case is. There is no suggestion that Faget passed on any information except the phony defection report that the government quite evidently WANTED him to pass on. There is no suggestion of impropriety in his contacts with the Cuban diplomats. And far from having tried to hide his connection to the CubaAmerica company, Faget quite openly registered with the Secretary of State of Florida as one of the officers of the corporation!

At a bond hearing a couple of weeks after his arrest, the 34-year INS veteran testified that he had always been loyal to the United States since his father --one of Fulgencio Batista's most notorious henchmen-- brought him to live here after the victory of the Cuban revolution. Faget testified that despite his "secret" security clearance, he in fact did not handle national security information and it had been years since he'd seen a classified document. He was totally convincing in portraying himself as a staunch anticommunist who hoped to contribute to and profit by the restoration of capitalism in Cuba.

Dozens of Miami area Cubans attended the hearing to testify to Faget's good moral character, meaning his anticommunism and his loyalty to the United States. Nevertheless, a judge allowed the government to keep Faget imprisoned without bail, presumably because Faget might defect to Cuba.

At a new hearing on Mon., March 8, Faget plead not guilty to the augmented charges. At that hearing, U.S. prosecutors sought to torpedo Faget's right to a fair trial. They are demanding that Faget's lawyers obtain security clearances, stating that they will not give them the evidence against their client without it. This is part of the government's propaganda campaign that Faget is a dangerous spy, rather than a hapless bureaucrat who at most committed an indiscretion by trying to prevent a life-long friend from becoming enmeshed in the spy-versus-spy sparring between Washington and Havana. It is meant to prejudice potential jurors by generating a lot of newspaper stories vaguely referring to the "national security secrets" involved in the case, although in fact there are none. Moreover, security clearances can take anywhere from two months to two years to grant -- and are issued by the FBI, the very same agency that entrapped Faget to begin with. In essence, it gives the FBI veto power over Faget's right to counsel of his own choosing.

The timing of these new developments coincides with a rescheduled federal court hearing March 9 on the Elián González case (the original hearing at the time of Faget's arrest had to be postponed after the judge suffered a stroke).
And it is no coincidence that at the same time Faget was in court, the spokesperson for the Miami relatives seeking to keep  Elián González in the U.S. was demanding the government turn over documents about José Imperatori, a Cuban diplomat expelled from the United States for his contacts with Faget.

The Cuban government charges the Faget case is a conspiracy hatched by right-wing elements within the U.S. government to torpedo Elian Gonzalez's repatriation by placing a cloud of McCarthyite suspicion over the INS and its decisions, and that the accusations of spying against its diplomats are false. Imperatori even offered to stay in the U.S. *without diplomatic immunity* to be available to testify in Faget's case. In what will surely become an important issue of prosecutorial misconduct in the Faget matter, federal authorities expelled Imperatori anyways, thus putting this potentially important witness beyond the jurisdiction of the U.S. courts and thus beyond the reach of Faget's defense.

Despite Faget's avowed anticommunism, the case against him undoubtedly forms part of Washington's forty-year was against the Cuban revolution. Like Faget, there are many other Cuban Americans who would like to take advantage of renewed trade with the island, some rationalizing it in terms of strengthening capitalist influence in Cuba, but all of them motivated fundamentally by that most venerated of American institutions: profit.

Whatever illusions such people may harbor about gradually smuggling capitalism back into Cuba, the emergence of a layer of Cuban businessmen who want trade re-established with Cuba represents a significant advance for the revolution. It splits the Miami Cuban capitalist circles, who have been the main prop for the U.S. policy of continuing the economic blockade. Although the Miami Cuban community is sharply divided over this policy, the right-wing pro-blockade capitalist element maintains a tight lid over Miami politics and news media, perpetuating the myth of a homogeneously counterrevolutionary community.

The Faget frame-up is a warning to all those Cuban Americans and their Anglo partners to stop preparing for and working towards a lifting of the economic blockade. At the same time it is also an attack on the right of all Americans, and especially Cuban Americans and working people, and their right to have a dialogue with Cuban diplomats assigned to the United States.

José Perez



Faget arrest: COINTELPRO Rises Again
COINTELPRO was the program used in the 60's and 70's to entrap, neutralize, and assassinate US dissidents, especially in the black nationalist and native american struggles, courtesy of J. Edgar Hoover.

Special by Jose G. Perez
Saturday, February 19, 2000

   Today's online edition of the Miami Herald carried additional details about the spy charges against Mariano Faget. The details are sufficient to convince any reasonable person that

   1. Faget is not a Cuban intelligence agent;
   2. His supposed contact in the interests section is not a spy
       master; and
   3. Both are being framed with a very clumsy entrapment.

   The basic outline of the case against Faget is this: a year ago he made an "unauthorized" call to the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, picked up by the FBI. On the basis of this call, Faget was placed under surveillance by U.S. intelligence agencies. He has twice been seen meeting in public places with Cuban diplomats attached to the Interests Section.

   On the basis of this "evidence" the FBI and INS cooked up a "sting" to "get" Faget, who is a middle manager of the INS. (The government has tried to present him as being virtually commissioner of immigration, but his salary --$82,000 a year-- tells a different story.)

   Faget --this is a matter of public record-- is a founding officer and director of a Florida corporation AmericaCuba, whose stated purpose is to carry out trade with Cuba. The CEO of the coporation is a New York-based Cuban businessman.

   Supposedly, the spy ring consisted of Faget, the businessman, and a diplomat from the U.S. interests section who hasn't yet been publicly identified, but has been given 7 days to leave the country [Jose Imperatori], and perhaps others.

   On Feb. 11, high ranking FBI and INS officials in Miami met with Faget to ask him to prepare political asylum papers for a Cuban defector. Normally, Cubans do not need to formally apply for political asylum; the cold-war era Cuban Adjustment Act automatically grants them the right to stay in the U.S. However, the Act does not cover Cuban government officials or Communist Party members.

   Who was the supposed "defector"? Why, none other than the supposed Cuban Interests Section spymaster, who Faget has met with, and who his business partner was scheduled to meet for lunch the very next day, according to the FBI's account of the case as related by the Miami Herald.

  Moreover, the FBI and INS officials showed Faget official-looking "secret" documents with the "spy master's" picture on them and told him --contrary to all rules of espionage and elementary common sense-- that the spymaster had been collaborating with American intelligence services for two years, how this was absolutely hush hush, not a word to anyone, very delicate. All the standard fourth grade "secret club" regalia.

   Now, imagine Faget is REALLY a Cuban spy. Not, mind you, one of the world-class operatives Cuba demonstrably has, as is shown by their track record in preventing assassinations of Fidel, which, in terms of the number of separate plots involved, must now have a scorecard that reads something like Cuba: 187,662 Yanquis: 0.

   No, let's suppose Faget was a bumbling, dim-witted, incompetent spy.

   I submit that anyone with an IQ above absolute zero in that position would have drawn the following conclusions: either a) My boss the spymaster is really a turncoat and if he hasn't given me up yet, he will as soon as he defects, which will be any second otherwise they wouldn't ask me to draw up asylum papers; or b) My boss the spymaster is really NOT a defector, the papers presented to me are a fabrication. This therefore must be an FBI-INS sting, which means they know or strongly suspect what I really am, a Cuban
spy.

   Even if you suppose Faget was slow as molasses on a cold winter morning, he would have figured out that, whichever variant was true, he had been or would soon be exposed and arrested, and make a run for it. If the alleged defector had been anyone else BUT the head of his spy ring with whom Faget had personally met, and if he had not been told that the spymaster's cooperation with the Americans began BEFORE Faget's meeting with him, then a truly and profoundly intellectually challenged spy might have overlooked the obvious. But with THIS set of circumstances, ANY idiot would be able to tell he'd been caught.

   But Faget did NOT make a run for it. Instead, he called up his business partner, who was meeting with the Cuban representative the next day, to warn him that this guy was working for the Americans. This, of course, because if the meeting was in pursuit of some business deal, and since it is the declared policy and systematic practice of the U.S. government to sabotage all of Cuba's business deals, the fact that this Cuban representative was in fact working for the Americans was of great significance to Faget and his partner's business enterprise.

   And EVEN IF Faget had been so slow to not figure it out for himself, he did immeidately convey the information up the chain. You'd have to assume EVERYONE in the Cuban intelligence service had the intelligence of an average chimpanzee to believe that NO ONE figured out that Faget was in danger.

   Conclusion: Faget was in no way, shape or form a Cuban government
operative. It is the INESCAPABLE conclusion.

   So  much for the "spin," the way the story is being presented to the public. As for the actual formal charge, that Faget passed on classified national security information to a person not authorized to receive it, he is clearly innocent. Faget did not pass on any classified national security information on February 11 because he did not receive any to pass on.

   What is most striking, what proves CONCLUSIVELY that the FBI and INS themselves don't believe the cock and bull story they fed the press, is that the they waited almost a WEEK before putting Faget under arrest. In the meantime Faget's business partner and alleged fellow-spy left the country. What would it have cost the FBI and INS to wait a few MORE days until Faget's partner came back, so he, too, could be arrested? I Faget hadn't fled after a week, he wasn't likely to, and the FBI/CIA/NSA presumably do not lack resources to keep him constantly in their sights if he DID make a break for it.

   This brings us to exploring the REAL motive for this hoax. And that, I'm afraid, is transparent. The FBI and INS went public with this hoax on THE LAST WORKING DAY before the court hearing in Miami on Elian's case. Moreover, the weekend talk shows, given that the hearing was coming up, were likely to deal with Elian's case, and once again the absolutely untenable position of the right-wing Miami Mafia, and of the administration would have been savaged. Now, of course, it won't be possible to discuss anything about Cuba without the discussion being dominated by lurid tales of Castro's
henchmen handling asylum petitions in the INS.

   This farce was probably concocted by gusanos and rabid anticommunists within the U.S. government to torpedo Elian's repatriation. But this outrageous fabrication and entrapment could not have proceeded unless it had been cleared at top government levels. Even if the *initiative* for this hoax came from "below," approval came from top political appointees. This provocation could not have been carried out without Clinton and Reno having been in on it. All diplomatic niceties aside, the United States is at war with Cuba and the U.S. government is as likely to tolerate free-lancing in this war by its own troops as it would have been likely to tolerate a do-it-yourself invasion of Europe by a couple of lieutenant colonels during the war against Hitler.


Faget "spy partner" staunch anti-Castro businessman

N.Y. ad exec becomes entangled in Miami-based Cuba spy scandal 
By Ellis Berger, Sun-Sentinel

Web-posted: 11:45 p.m. Feb. 21, 2000

A New York advertising executive embroiled in the latest South Florida spy scandal is described by current and former associates as a "consummate businessman" determined to return one day to a free Cuba.

Pedro Font, 57, who once resided in Miami and whose work still brings him here, has not been charged and was not identified by name in an affidavit released Friday by the FBI.

But the affidavit leaves little doubt that Font was the person Mariano Faget called 12 minutes after the FBI entrusted Faget with "secret and very sensitive" information about a Cuban spy who wanted to defect.

Faget, a 34-year veteran of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, was arrested Thursday on charges of spying for the Castro regime.

In the affidavit, the government alleges that Faget called New York and passed on the information to a New York businessman who is also the chief executive officer and president of a Florida corporation, of which Faget is vice president and secretary.

Florida records show that only one corporation, America-Cuba Inc., lists both Font and Faget as officers.

The government has offered no explanation of why it did not name Font, while leaving little doubt about who the affidavit referred to.

"I'm highly upset at what is happening," said Jose Goyanes, a beauty supplies wholesaler who is another officer in America-Cuba. "This is terrible. Everything is so highly untrue. Everybody is a spy. It's guilt by association. We're having to explain things to our neighbors."

Font could not be reached for comment and may be out of the country. No one responded at his most recent address listed, an estate with a two-story guest house and gazebo in Greenwich, Conn.

Goyanes said Monday that America-Cuba was set up "to prepare ourselves for the day when Cuba becomes a free and democratic country. I believe this is the dream of every Cuban-American."

He referred to himself and Font, who he said he has known for 25 years, as "staunch anti-Castro people." Font, he said, "is a man of his word, a strong family man, a lot of values and morals. He's a reputable man, a consummate businessman."

Los Angeles advertising executive Rochelle Newman, who a dozen years ago helped launch a company called Font & Vaamonde, described her former colleague as "an eccentric who invented himself." She said he now makes novellas and low-budget movies.   According to an industry publication, Font was also named last year as an independent broker for sales to Eastern Europe and Asia for a company called Global Media Distribution.

Newman, now president of Enlace Communications, Inc., an advertising and marketing company that targets Hispanics, said that during her four years with Font they produced commercials for such major companies as Kraft, Procter & Gamble, and Gerber.   "He is a consummate salesman and businessman," Newman said. "He could convince people to spend money on programs when they didn't even know what he was talking about."

Both Newman and Henry Lopez, a Miami sound and video technician who frequently handled assignments for Font, described Font as "driven" when working. They said he always smoked big cigars and wore various toupees, frequently changing his hair color.   When Font would join the crews on the set for lunch, Lopez said, he insisted that his food be served on china and his drink in a glass while everyone else used plastic foam. He was always driven to the set by a chauffeur, who waited as long as it took for him to finish.

"He used to hire me and others when he would come down here for Procter & Gamble commercials," Lopez said. "It was hard working with him. He would stay on a shoot for 14, 16 hours. But he was very fair about paying you, so you made a lot of overtime."  "I haven't seen him in three or four years, and it was my very big surprise" to see Font referred to in the recent news stories. "It's all very weird. Either he or someone else told me his father owned a big company that had all the concrete contracts with the Batista government."

Staff Writer Rafael Olmeda contributed to this story.

Links

Cuba says diplomats will fight charges, Miami Herald, 2/25/00
http://www.herald.com/content/archive/news/spy2000/docs/021763.htm

A day before today's deadline to recall an accused Cuban spy from the United States, the Cuban government said the official is willing to surrender his diplomatic immunity to fight the allegations against him in U.S. courts.

In addition, a second Cuban diplomat is prepared to return to the United States from Cuba to disprove spying allegations against him, Cuban authorities said.

El hombre vinculado a Mariano Faget, El Nuevo Herals, 2/24/00
http://www.elherald.com/content/sun/docs/007100.htm

Pedro Font, el empresario cubanoamericano vinculado comercialmente con el supuesto agente castrista Mariano Faget, negó enfáticamente tener ningún tipo de relación con agentes de inteligencia cubanos y haber pasado información al gobierno de la Isla.

El miércoles durante una entrevista con la periodista de Univisión María Elena Salinas, Font reconoció que él era el hombre de negocios amigo de Faget, que se menciona en el affidavit acusatorio de la Oficina Federal de Investigaciones (FBI), pero rechazó de plano cualquier vínculo con la inteligencia cubana.

Cuba Won't Withdraw Official, Washington Post, 2/23/00
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A18993-2000Feb22.html

Cuba's government has refused to remove Jose Imperatori, a diplomat with the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, DC. Havana declares he is innocent and ready to testify to prove it. Karen DeYoung, reported this in the Washington Post of 2-23-2000:

In a statement issued over the weekend, the Cuban Interests Section said it was determined that Imperatori "remain in the United States to testify and prove full falseness of that accusation no matter what the consequences might be." A Cuban spokesman reiterated that position yesterday....

Cuban diplomat to go on hunger strike to clear his name
Envoy accused of helping alleged Cuban spy
February 26, 2000
Web posted at: 1:35 p.m. EST (1835 GMT)
http://cnn.com/2000/US/02/26/us.cuba.02/index.html

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Cuban diplomat ordered out of the United States is refusing to leave and said on Saturday that he'll go on a hunger strike to clear his name of allegations that he was a contact of a U.S. immigration official charged with spying for Cuba.

"From this moment I declare myself on a hunger strike until I have been absolutely cleared of the accusations brought against me," said Jose Imperatori, vice-consul at the Cuban Interests Section in Washington.

He told reporters at a news conference on Saturday that he is innocent of all charges.

"I have become the victim of a major slander," Imperatori said. "I have been wrongly accused of doing intelligence work in the United States. ... The accusation brought against me is absolutely false."

Imperatori Statement, 2/25

TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE:

"I have become the victim of a major slander. I have been wrongly accused of doing intelligence work in the United States.

"It has been said that an Immigration and Naturalization Service official, who according to his own bosses has rendered major services to his country for 34 years, was a spy and a traitor passing information to the Cuban government through me, thus affecting the security of this nation.

"Such news has been disseminated around the world and my diplomatic delegation has been asked to recall me from this country within seven days. This happened hardly 72 hours before a federal court hearing was to decide on the fate of the 6-year-old Cuban child Elian Gonzalez, who has been held captive in Miami for three months now.

"This arbitrary action comes as a devastating blow to the prestige and authority of the INS commissioner, who has recognized the legitimate right of full parental authority to the surviving parent who lives in Cuba with the child's four grandparents.

"Ever since its opening 22 years ago, the (Cuban) Interests Section officials were categorically and precisely instructed not to do intelligence work in the United States. Such instructions have been strictly observed and with absolutely no exceptions.

"This is not only the first time that something like (this) happens with a Cuban official in our Interests Section but it also occurs in a rather untimely and bizarre way at a time when an extremely sensitive legal case is unfolding.

"The accusation brought against me is absolutely false. Therefore, I feel it is my duty to state that the INS official is innocent of the accusation of espionage made against him and I can help to prove it.

"Today (Saturday), at 7:00 a.m., six-and-a-half hours before the deadline set for my departure, I submitted my resignation to the position I held at the Interests Section of Cuba in Washington.

"In so doing, I also gave up the guarantees and immunity I enjoyed which would have been effective until 1:30 p.m. I have also refused to be covered by the immunity accorded to the premises occupied by our diplomatic delegation.

"My wife and 3-year-old son left for Cuba last night, since by said time they too would have been without guarantees or immunity.

"This decision I make of my own free will. I no longer belong to the Interests Section. I assume all responsibilities and the consequences thereof. I am just a Cuban revolutionary who loves very deeply my homeland, my wife and my children.

"I shall firmly endure any sacrifices regardless of how hard it may be.

"But, not only me; also my predecessor, deputy consul Luis Molina, who has been targeted with the same accusation, is willing to travel to the United States without any guarantees or immunity, taking similar risks, to contribute to clear up this case.

"I shall remain in the same apartment where I have lived and as from this moment I declare myself in a hunger strike until I have been absolutely cleared of the accusation brought against me. I shall not resist arrest, not even if I am handcuffed and jailed. My morale and my truth will be my shield.

I beg the American people to understand me and to excuse me."

Mr. Jose Imperatori -- 11:00 a.m., February 26, 2000

US seen orchestrating a severing of relations

US Provokes Diplomatic Crisis: LEAPING OVER THE EDGE:
FBI Joins State Department and INS in orchestrating crisis on US Turf

by Lisa Valenti, LisaCubaSi@aol.com

With total impunity and right under on noses, the US Government is discrediting the Cubans' right to engage in standard and commonplace consulate duties within the US.

By using the "spin of spies" they are intimidating people from having normal contact with the Cuban Interests Section. Each of us who has met with a Cuban Interests Section representative, is suspect and subject to this kind of FBI setup if we allow this to go unchallenged. Many of us have already had some contact or harassment by the FBI over our relationship to representatives coming from the section.

Those of us engaged in the process of normalizing relations with Cuba, cannot allow the Cuban Interests Section, or its personnel to be attacked or demonized like this. The Cubans charged, Jose Imperatori and Luis Molina, are personally vulnerable, and have given up all diplomatic immunity to try and get a public hearing -- subjecting themselves to US courts and laws to defend the integrity of the Cuban Interests Section. The Cubans know that if these charges stand unchallenged, it will impact by default, on their ability to carry out any of their diplomatic duties in the future.

We must do more than bear witness to this incredible act of principle and courage on the part of the Cubans, in defense of their diplomatic integrity, and defending their fundamental obligations to perform consulate duties related to protecting Cuban citizens within the US : (Like accompanying Elian's grandmothers to Florida; insisting on a floorplan and security of the building where the meeting was to be held; having communication with the ONLY person able to make determinations about Elian, his father; requesting to meet Elian as per Juan Miguel's letter to Janet Reno.)

Imperatori's presence with the grandmothers (as per all the TV shots of him) seem to be key to targeting him to leave the country. Imperatori, as all consulate personnel, routinely meet with anyone who has questions or concerns on Cuba. Its within their normal job description. Just like US embassy personnel do, everywhere in the world. Plus, the state department requires all Cuban Interests section personnel to file reports of their movements: who they are meeting with, where they are going, staying, license plates of cars they are driving, etc., for any travel outside the 25 mile limit of DC. Therefore, the idea of "covert" is absurd. The US State department knew/knows where they were at all times. An airport bar isn't exactly clandestine.

And for the FBI to "sting" someone by claiming a diplomat from ANY country is about to defect, would seem provocative, because of national security and international implications. The FBI is no runaway train here. This is the US government spinning the set of circumstances to justify escalating conflict; a situation that everyone concerned with the normalization of relations cannot ignore. Its intentional. And its VERY DANGEROUS, especially if the US arrests or deports Imperatori, who has declared himself on a hunger strike until his name is cleared of these false charges.

As American citizens, to allow the Cubans to come under this type of attack for engaging in the same type of activities all of us have shared with Interest section employees is OUTRAGEOUS. In Cuba, the US Interests Section is openly engaging and promoting meetings with Cuban dissidents! Calls to the state department and FBI and White House don't seem out of order. Tell them their new clothes look like the same old bare butt to us. Cut the 007 stuff. That dog won't hunt. If they want to enforce some laws, SEND ELIAN HOME.

The US is orchestrating a severing of relations right under our noses, right here on US turf: HELLO !!!!!!!!!!!

Imperatori expelled, 2/26
http://cnn.com/2000/US/02/26/us.cuba.04/index.html

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Cuban diplomat Jose Imperatori has been escorted out of the United States by FBI agents, after he was expelled for alleged links to a U.S. immigration official charged with spying for Havana, according to a statement from State Department spokesman James Rubin.

"At 8:45 p.m. EST today, the Cuban diplomat we declared persona non grata on February 19 was escorted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to Washington National Airport, from where he departed the United States," Rubin said late Saturday.

"The diplomat in question no longer enjoys the privileges and immunities conferred by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. He has been expelled from the United States for not voluntarily departing by the appointed time. We do not have any further comments on the case."

Imperatori Statement on Leaving Canada
Accuses Elian's uncle of molesting children when a young man

EMBASSY OF CUBA IN CANADA
NEWS RELEASE
GOVERNMENT STATEMENT

Today, March 2, at 1:40 a.m., Jose Imperatori put an end to his hunger strike. He is already on his way back to Cuba on board a Cubana de Aviacion IL-62, which departed the Ottawa airport at 1:50 p.m.

A short while before the cessation of his brave and risky protest, a reasonable and satisfactory settlement had been reached, with dignity and honor for him, preserving the maximum possibilities that could be attained to travel to the United States, if that were necessary and convenient, for taking part in the legal proceedings ensuing the false accusation of espionage against a senior INS official concocted in Miami and which implicated two officials of our Interests Section.

The same possibilities, under identical circumstances, would prevail for former consul Luis Molina.

With his contribution to the exposure of the perfidious fabrication concocted to destroy the INS credibility, at grave personal risk and sacrifice, Jose Imperatori has rendered an invaluable service to the struggle for Elian's liberation.

*****************************

EMBASSY OF CUBA IN CANADA
NEWS RELEASE
MESSAGE OF JOSE IMPERATORI TO THE CANADIAN PEOPLE

I did not arrive of my own free will in this magnificent and hospitable country, which I admire and respect and where I have stayed for over four and a half days.

I was at the department where I lived in Washington as an official of the Cuban Interests Section in the United States. I had been wrongly accused of doing intelligence work against that country, therefore, I was declared "persona non grata" and required to leave.

The reason for that absolutely false accusation was a conspiracy concocted in Miami by a terrorist mob of Cuban Americans in an attempt to definitely discredit the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) whose Commissioner, Mrs. Doris Meissner, had acknowledged the right to paternal authority to Juan Miguel Gonzalez Quintana, a Cuban citizen living in our country who is the father of a six-year-old Cuban boy, Elian Gonzalez, already known all over the world, whose mother perished during a shipwreck off the United States coasts.

The illegal journey had been organized by the child's stepfather, a violent man with gruesome penal records, who unknown to the father and without his consent took the boy away from his school, his maternal and paternal grandparents, his ambiance and his homeland as well as from the only parent with the full right to paternal authority. The child, who miraculously survived the wreckage, was provisionally placed in the hands of a distant relative living in Miami. This person is an ambitious and alcoholic man who has caused traffic accidents in the United States while driving under the influence of alcohol for which he has been tried and convicted. As for his background in Cuba, American journalists have unearthed and confirmed unpublished events that took place at the time he was a professor of Physical Education and Sports in a school for children who he sexually molested. Such behavior shows that the man is absolutely unfit to receive the custody of any child in any civilized country of the world.

Following instructions from the Cuban American Foundation, the distant great-uncle has kept the child. The INS had decided that he should be returned over to his father but then a corrupted Miami judge gave the child's custody to the sinister character. The U.S. Attorney General had endorsed and supported the INS through a legal resolution thus overriding the judge's decision. Then, the Foundation mobsters filed an appeal with a Florida Federal Court contesting the Attorney General's resolution.

The hearing on the case was scheduled for February 22, but four days before that decisive step, a senior INS official was publicly charged of espionage activities involving both the former vice consul and myself.

I have felt the unavoidable need to provide the Canadian people with this background information.

In order to prove my innocence and the absolutely false charges brought against the INS official as well as to save that Cuban child who has been kept captive in Miami for over three months in violation of every standard of International Law, the Convention on the Right of the Child and the most basic ethical principles, I decided to resign my position in the Cuban Interests Section in Washington and the diplomatic immunity thereof, to stay in the United States' territory and to declare myself on a hunger strike.

This I did at great personal risk and assuming all the consequences therein.

For that reason, at 8:35 p.m. that same day I was arrested and brought to Canada on an American airplane. I had not applied for a visa, nor did I know what would happen with me. I decided to continue with the hunger strike at my country's embassy in Canada. I had not made any pledge to anybody. So, this is the true story behind my presence here. I did not intend to come to Canada, I wanted to remain in the United States facing up to the lies and the slanders and defending the rights of the child whatever the consequences.

I harbor no complains against the Canadian people. I neither want to accuse the authorities of this country who undoubtedly acted in good faith. Perhaps, they were trying to help me when they accepted that I was forcibly brought here.

After a reasonable solution was found with honor and dignity for my homeland and for me, I begged the Cuban ambassador in Canada that as soon as I departed Ottawa for my homeland he deliver this message to the press since out of courtesy and respect for the governmental authorities I had refrained from making any public statement while on this country that on extremely difficult days was friendly towards Cuba, a blockaded nation subjected to a harsh economic warfare. I hope that, whatever the lies and the slanders, the Canadian people will understand what happened and believe in the sincerity of this message.

Jose Imperatori Garcia
9:35 a.m., March 2, 2000

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