Bush -Florida -Cuba connection
By Larry Chin, 12/ 27/00
W's Coup d'Etat, Consortium News, 12/13/00
Miami-Dade Reversal -- A Cuban Terrorist Payback To Bush Family? 12/7 Peter Dale Scott
Miami's Cuban Americans May Get The Last
Word, 12/4 Peter Dale Scott
W's Triumph of the Will,
11/27, Wayne Newton sings 'Danke Schoen'
Editorial in Granma - "Banana Republic", 11/8/00
The Miami Machine:
On November 22, a violent Republican-sanctioned mob shut down the Miami-Dade canvassing board, stopping a decisive ballot recount, and snuffing out Al Gore's chances for victory.
This incident, which was instrumental in seizing the American presidency for George W. Bush, was not (as most media accounts suggest) merely the work of [Tom] DeLay congressional aides and angry pro-Bush protestors.
In fact, the true intimidation came at the hands of hundreds of militant right-wing Cuban operatives. It is important to note that the recount shutdown was the latest chapter of an alliance between the Bush family, right-wing anti-Castro Cubans, Florida-based covert operatives and extreme elements of the Republican party that has persisted for nearly half a century.
[there follows a nice summary of the history behind the Miami Machine and the Bush contingent at http://www.onlinejournal.com/Special_Reports/Chin122700/chin122700.html]
|By Robert Parry, Consortium News, 12/13/00
Let it be remembered that Texas Gov. George W. Bush, the loser across the United States by a third of a million votes, “won” the presidency through two key acts of raw power.
Bush's campaign sponsored a violent demonstration by Republican activists as ballots were about to be counted on Nov. 22. He then enlisted partisan Republicans on the U.S. Supreme Court to prevent a statewide recount in Florida before a Dec. 12 deadline.
On Nov. 22, about 150 rioters - led by Republican congressional staffers dispatched from Washington - charged the offices of the Miami-Dade County canvassing board as it was about to commence a partial recount of votes. With the mob roughing up Democrats and pounding on the walls, the canvassing board abruptly reversed itself and decided not to count those votes after all.
Rather than criticize this bizarre attack on what was then a court-ordered process, Bush reveled in its success.
His campaign sponsored a celebration for the demonstrators the next night at a swanky hotel in Fort Lauderdale. The "president-elect" even called to joke with the rioters about their Miami operation, according to the Wall Street Journal [Nov. 27, 2000]. At the party, singer Wayne Newton crooned Danke Schoen.
For the rest, see http://www.consortiumnews.com/121300a.html
|USA'S MAJOR ELECTORAL SCANDAL OCCURS IN TERRITORY OF RIGHT-WING EXILES Havana, December 9 (RHC)--Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque told Notimex News Agency yesterday that it is very significant that the US State of Florida, where the majority of right-wing Cuban exiles live, is the site of the first major electoral irregularity in the history of the USA. Perez Roque added that Cuba has offered the US some unsolicited advice regarding the holding of clean elections. The Foreign Minister pointed out that Miami-Dade county and the Miami area have the largest number of powerful ultra-rightwing Cuban exiles, who -- even before the triumph of the Revolution -- were already corrupt. They had previous experience of electoral manipulation before arriving in Miami and now they effectively control the city. Perez Roque mentioned that George W. Bush is putting a great deal of emphasis on the support received by Cuban voters in Miami, ignoring the fact that only 170,000 Cubans cast their vote compared with the total of 6.5 million voters in Florida. However, they are very influential and have money to finance electoral campaigns. The Cuban Foreign Minister recalled that Vice Presidential candidate and Democrat, Joseph Lieberman, has also received large sums of money from the rightwing Cuban American National Foundation.|
|Most anti-Castro groups shun partisan presidential politics, but not Miguel Saavedra and his merry band of protesters
By Jacob Bernstein
Miami New Times
The call came over the airwaves as it had so many times before. On Wednesday, November 22, Radio Mambí (WAQI-AM 710) and La Poderosa (WWFE-AM 670) reverberated with the cries of political advocates, among them U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and state Sen. Mario Diaz-Balart, urging people to descend on the Stephen P. Clark Government Center in downtown Miami.
For more, see: http://www.miaminewtimes.com/issues/2000-12-07/metro.html
By Jim DeFede, Miami New Times
My dinner with Alex: After breaking bread Alex Penelas and Carlos Lacasa began dividing up county government
Less than 24 hours before the Miami-Dade County Canvassing Board met to halt the manual recount of ballots in the presidential race -- a decision that all but doomed Al Gore's chances of winning the White House -- Alex Penelas was dining with a Republican state legislator at the Governor's Club in Tallahassee. This fact was reported last week in a front-page New York Times story that, citing unnamed Democratic sources, suggested our sexy little mayor had deliberately double-crossed the Democratic Party by remaining on the sidelines during the recount controversy in order to curry favor with Republicans in Tallahassee. The Times story noted that Republican lawmakers "are significant to Mr. Penelas because Florida's legislature will draw new congressional districts in 2002 and Mr. Penelas, political observers say, has hopes of running for Congress."
The Times story was the latest in a series of articles and television reports since the election portraying Penelas as a political traitor. There was only one problem: The Times got it wrong. I don't know who these unnamed observers are, but they misread Penelas. He has absolutely no interest in being a congressman. (Late last week he issued a statement to that effect.) And unless he moves to Central Florida, where the new congressional district is likely to be created, he'd have no hope of winning a House seat in Miami-Dade County as long as Lincoln Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen are still drawing breath.
Although the Times didn't identify the individual with whom Penelas met at the Governor's Club, that particular assignation truly was significant. Penelas's dining companion was Republican state Rep. Carlos Lacasa of Miami. They didn't get together to discuss new congressional seats, but rather Lacasa's plan for reorganizing Miami-Dade County government.
For more, see: http://www.miaminewtimes.com/issues/2000-12-07/defede.html
By Peter Dale Scott
Strident broadcasts from a violently anti-Castro radio station influenced the Miami-Dade Canvassing Board's decision to reverse itself and vote to stop recounting ballots. The radio station's founding was sponsored by the Reagan-Bush administration. PNS correspondent Peter Dale Scott is author of Deep Politics and the Death of JFK and co-author of Cocaine Politics. Scott's website is http://socrates.berkeley.edu/~pdscott.
If Gov. George W. Bush wins the presidency because votes in Miami-Dade County were not recounted, consider it a payback for past favors granted Cuban terrorists by George Bush Sr.
When the Miami-Dade Canvassing Board reversed itself and voted to stop recounting ballots, at least one of the three members said his decision was influenced by the vehement protests of Radio Mambi.
This stridently anti-Communist station is an arm of the violently anti-Castro Cuban American National Foundation (CANF), founded in 1981 by a former CIA terrorist, Jorge Mas Canosa, with the encouragement (some say, at the behest) of the newly elected Reagan-Bush administration.
Author Gaeton Fonzi, who has deep roots in the Miami Cuban community, has written that the CANF was "secretly seeded" by the "public diplomacy" program set up at the time by CIA Director William Casey "as cover for a covert domestic propaganda effort."
Certainly the Reagan-Bush administration showered federal funds on Radio Marti, which beams anti-Castro propaganda into Cuba. As president, Bush established TV Marti and shielded it against the criticism that no one in Cuba could see it.
Mas Canosa was chairman of the advisory board on broadcasts to Cuba, and kept tight control over the activities of the two stations.
But from the outset the CANF was involved in more than propaganda. It quickly became a haven for former CIA terrorists, many of them known to Mas Canosa from the era when he himself plotted to blow up a Cuban ship for the CIA.
For example, Mas Canosa appointed the brothers Guillermo and Ignacio Novo to the CANF's "Information Commission." The two were implicated, though ultimately not convicted, in the September, 1976 assassination of former Chilean Ambassador Orlando Letelier. At that time, George Bush was director of the CIA.
For the rest of this most important article, see
Miami's Cuban Americans May Get The Last Word
The Clinton administration willingness to defy Miami's Cuban-American community in the case of Elian Gonzales was widely seen as a sign that the community had lost its political muscle. But the decision to stop recounting votes in Miami-Dade suggests that it's the Cuban Americans who are getting the last word. PNS correspondent Peter Dale Scott is author of Deep Politics and the Death of JFK and co-author of Cocaine Politics. Scott's website is http://socrates.berkeley.edu/~pdscott.
The Clinton administration's hard-nosed action in returning six-year-old Elian Gonzales to his family in Cuba was widely interpreted as a sign that Miami's Cuban American community was losing its political clout.
But in fact bitterness over that action may have cost Al Gore the presidency -- even though he broke with the administration over the decision to let Elian return home.
The Miami-Dade refusal to recount votes can certainly be seen as one more blow in the fight over Elian that supposedly ended last spring.
Miami Mayor Alex Penelas led the Cuban American revolt against the Justice Department last spring. Elections supervisor David Leahy of the Miami-Dade Canvassing Board, who voted to stop the recount, works for Mr. Penelas.
For the rest of this dynamite story, see http://pacificnews.org/jinn/stories/6.24/001204-miamis.html
|11/27, by Chuck 45 of The Gully
NOVEMBER 27. A 900-pound gorilla may be sending George W. Bush to the White House. Chanting its name, a mob of angry Republican operatives staged a calculated near-riot on Wednesday November 22 inside the Miami-Dade county building.
The gorilla's name is FLOCO, short for Fear of those Loco Cuban-Americans. It was the mere mention of the dreaded tire-burning, car-bombing, vote hoarding, billionaire beast, and not the silly yelling, pushing, shoving, stomping, banging, and showing of fists of the well-fed, heeled, and organized Republican apparatchik, that made the three-member canvassing board pull the plug on a vote recount that would have put Al Gore on top.
Since the fabled Bay of Pigs debacle, FLOCO has ruled the Banana Republic of Miami with an iron claw. Now FLOCO, who taught Jeb and Katherine everything they know about certification and obstruction, has national ambitions. He wants to forge a more perfect union - the United States of Banamerica.
FLOCO's On The Way!
The Wall Street Journal's tautologically conservative columnist Paul Gigot, who witnessed the "bourgeois riot," gleefully reported that "the Republicans marched on the counting room en masse chanting 'Three Blind Mice' and 'Fraud, Fraud, Fraud,'" letting it be known "that 1,000 local Cuban-American Republicans were on the way - not a happy prospect for Anglo judges who must run for re-election."
An even unhappier prospect, if you already owe your re-election to FLOCO, as two of the three canvassing board members do. County judges Myriam Lehr, an Independent, and Lawrence D. King, a Democrat, were re-elected to the bench thanks to the cut-throat political consultant Armando Gutierrez, last spotted as the "spokesman" for Elian's Miami relatives. Gutierrez is the man who delivers the indispensable FLOCO vote, without which nary a Republican or Democratic leaf flutters in South Florida.
The talented Mr. Gutierrez was the eminence grise behind the tawdry Elian soap opera, scripting it from beginning to bitter end. The umpteenth hours of free publicity he got from the networks during the six-month run must be the envy of every p.r. hack in the land.
For the rest of this outstanding article, see
The irresistible ascension
DECEMBER 1. Among the legions of Republicans who will cash in their chips if George W. Bush gets to the White House is the heretofore nationally obscure U.S. Representative John E. Sweeney, an upstate New York Republican insider.
The suddenly prominent Mr. Sweeney is credited for giving the signal for last week's productive Republican fracas inside the Miami Dade county offices, after which the canvassing board abruptly canceled a hand recount of votes that would have helped Al Gore. "Street-smart New York Rep. John Sweeney, a visiting GOP monitor, told an aide to "Shut it down," and semi-spontaneous combustion took over," The Wall Street Journal's Paul Gigot admiringly wrote...
...Last year, for example, Sweeney voted in favor of the Child Custody Protection Act, which makes it a federal crime for anyone other than a parent to transport a minor girl across state lines to get an abortion "and circumvent state parental-consent laws." The bill, approved by Congress and now waiting on the Senate pipeline, was introduced by Miami Republican congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, of Elian fame.
Ros-Lehtinen, who is Cuban-American, was protesting against the recount outside the Miami-Dade county building last week while Sweeney was getting ready to utter his fateful phrase inside. Both she and Representative Lincoln Diaz-Balart, the other Cuban-born Republican in the U.S. Congress, had called on Cuban-Americans to join the protest, in on-site interviews granted to Radio Mambi, Miami's biggest Spanish-language station...
For the rest of this article, see
|By Robert Parry, The Consortium, 11/27
Texas Gov. George W. Bush has claimed the mantle of president of the United States after one of the most brazen – and effective – power grabs in political history.
The loser of the national popular vote by about 337,000 votes and apparently not even the favorite of the six million Floridians who went to the polls, Bush assured his victory by deploying Republican foot soldiers to Florida and revving up the powerful conservative propaganda machine across the country.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Bush even called to offer words of encouragement to GOP operatives who had physically intimidated the Dade County canvassing board before it abruptly reversed its decision to count disputed ballots and instead cast those 10,750 ballots aside. [For details, see below.]
Now, barring an unlikely court ruling in the weeks ahead, the result of Bush's bare-knuckle strategy appears to be that the will of the American voters has been overturned for the first time in 112 years. The first popular-vote loser since Benjamin Harrison will ascend to the presidency.
In Bush's victory, the Republican Party also cast aside any remaining shreds of the notion that logical consistency has any place in modern politics.
Before the election, for instance, the Bush team feared that Vice President Al Gore would win the majority of the Electoral College while losing the popular vote to Bush.
In such an eventuality, the Republicans had prepared a national strategy that would have relied on talk radio and conservative pundits to demand that Gore step aside and accept the popular will. The Electoral College was to be denounced as an anti-democratic "relic" and Bush hailed as the choice of the people....
...After their victory in shutting down the Dade County recount, the national GOP operatives from the Bush campaign and Capitol Hill celebrated at a party at the Hyatt on Pier 66 in Fort Lauderdale. The Journal reported that "entertainer Wayne Newton crooned the song 'Danke Schoen'," the German words for thank you very much.
For more of this great article, see
|LAST NIGHT'S presidential
election has yet to be decided, and it seems Florida is the straw that
will break the electoral camel’s back. This takes place amidst
accusations from both sides that the media called Florida’s results
too soon. There are also a number of allegations regarding voting
irregularities in several counties in the Sunshine State. It seems,
however, that Florida’s history of voter fraud is just as storied as
the Bush political legacy. The most famous -- or infamous -- case
involves the now derided ex-mayor of Miami, Xavier Suarez, whose last
election in 1997 was overturned because of charges of voter fraud and
falsification of records. And Suarez's relevance might not be limited to
past election irregularities....
...However, a civil case was later brought by eleven Dade County absentee voters and resulted in overturning the Suarez election. In that case, the jury found that Suarez and his staff did engage in vote fraud, specifically tampering with 5,000 absentee ballots. In an interview this morning, Suarez told FEED that he was "in no way involved in any wrongdoing," and boldly promised to run for the office yet again in the next election.
What is most stunning, though, is that Suarez now sits on the executive committee of the Miami-Dade Republican party and was specifically involved this year in helping get out the Republican vote. Suarez, who told FEED that he is working to become the committee’s chairman, said that leading up to last night’s election he "helped fill out absentee ballot forms and enlist Republican absentee voters in Miami-Dade County." If the 2000 or so disputed votes in the Palm Beach area are in fact returned from Buchanan to Gore, these same ballots may very well decide the presidential election in the coming hours.
"Dade County Republicans have a very specific expertise in getting out absentee ballots," he said. "I obviously have specific experience in this myself."
When told of this, Kendall Coffey, lead attorney in the original Suarez suit, said, "He said that?" Coffey, a recognized expert in absentee ballot law, added, "This is striking. Florida has a troubled history in absentee ballots. Republicans often tell voters that they can use absentee ballots if it is more convenient for them, but the law requires that there must be an inability or barrier to voting in person."
For more of this fascinating story, see http://www.feedmag.com/templates/daily.php3?a_id=1389
|Appeals court upholds Miami-Dade's decision to halt
Murray A. Greenberg, a lawyer for the election canvassing board, said
a state appeals court turned down a bid by Democrats to force the board
and vote counters to get back to work.
The ruling is a serious blow to Al Gore's campaign, which sees
Miami-Dade as a potential source of hundreds of votes that could help
wipe out George W. Bush's 930 vote in official statewide totals.
Jenny Backus, a spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee,
said the Gore camp planned an appeal to the Florida Supreme Court.
The canvassing board's surprise decision to give up the hand count
came earlier Wednesday -- after a morning of protests and bickering over
access. Board members said they didn't have time to do the job....
..."We will abide by it,'' Greenberg said of the court's decision.
Republicans welcomed the canvassing board's move. GOP protesters who
earlier were yelling angry slogans erupted into applause and cheers. At
least one Bush supporter broke down in tears.
``I think the Miami-Dade canvassing board realized that the rush to
judgment simply couldn't go on,'' said U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart,
``We're happy that there's finality coming with respect to this
election,'' added Al Cardenas, Florida's GOP chairman. ``Finally, we're
getting some semblance of the rule of law here.''
Early results of the Miami-Dade hand counts had showed Gore gaining
157 votes on Bush in the first 135 of 614 precincts recounted.
Miami-Dade -- whose canvassing board has one Democrat, King, and two
members who claim no party affiliation -- had been on track to complete
a full hand recount Dec. 1. But late Tuesday, the state Supreme Court
said they must be completed five days earlier, by this Sunday.
It was the second time the board had changed its mind about whether
to conduct hand recounts. Last week the board initially voted 2-1 not to
do any hand recounts. Then it decided to proceed with the recount when
one member -- Myriam Lehr -- flipped her vote.
The board's earlier decision to stop the full hand count and focus
only on the ballots with dimpled or partially separated chads -- the
tiny pieces of paper in perforated punchcard ballots -- was met with a
demonstration by Republicans.
About two dozen banged on the door of the room where the board was
meeting, shouting ``Voter fraud!'' and ``Cheaters!'' They also swarmed a
Democratic lawyer, and urged the police to arrest him for stealing a
ballot. It turned out the ballot was a sample....
...He said the three members had hoped to retire to a room on the 19th
floor -- a smaller place where they could have used machines to help
count. But the Republicans and the media objected because they would
have little access to watching the process.
Republicans had demanded that if the board makes any recount that it
be all 654,000 ballots.
"You cannot count less than all votes. You either count all of them
or you don't,'' said former Republican state Rep. Miguel De Grandy.
Murray A. Greenberg, a lawyer for the election canvassing board, said a state appeals court turned down a bid by Democrats to force the board and vote counters to get back to work.
The ruling is a serious blow to Al Gore's campaign, which sees Miami-Dade as a potential source of hundreds of votes that could help wipe out George W. Bush's 930 vote in official statewide totals.
Jenny Backus, a spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee, said the Gore camp planned an appeal to the Florida Supreme Court.
The canvassing board's surprise decision to give up the hand count came earlier Wednesday -- after a morning of protests and bickering over access. Board members said they didn't have time to do the job....
..."We will abide by it,'' Greenberg said of the court's decision.
Republicans welcomed the canvassing board's move. GOP protesters who earlier were yelling angry slogans erupted into applause and cheers. At least one Bush supporter broke down in tears.
``I think the Miami-Dade canvassing board realized that the rush to judgment simply couldn't go on,'' said U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, R-Fla.
``We're happy that there's finality coming with respect to this election,'' added Al Cardenas, Florida's GOP chairman. ``Finally, we're getting some semblance of the rule of law here.''
Early results of the Miami-Dade hand counts had showed Gore gaining 157 votes on Bush in the first 135 of 614 precincts recounted.
Miami-Dade -- whose canvassing board has one Democrat, King, and two members who claim no party affiliation -- had been on track to complete a full hand recount Dec. 1. But late Tuesday, the state Supreme Court said they must be completed five days earlier, by this Sunday.
It was the second time the board had changed its mind about whether to conduct hand recounts. Last week the board initially voted 2-1 not to do any hand recounts. Then it decided to proceed with the recount when one member -- Myriam Lehr -- flipped her vote.
The board's earlier decision to stop the full hand count and focus only on the ballots with dimpled or partially separated chads -- the tiny pieces of paper in perforated punchcard ballots -- was met with a demonstration by Republicans.
About two dozen banged on the door of the room where the board was meeting, shouting ``Voter fraud!'' and ``Cheaters!'' They also swarmed a Democratic lawyer, and urged the police to arrest him for stealing a ballot. It turned out the ballot was a sample....
...He said the three members had hoped to retire to a room on the 19th floor -- a smaller place where they could have used machines to help count. But the Republicans and the media objected because they would have little access to watching the process.
Republicans had demanded that if the board makes any recount that it be all 654,000 ballots.
"You cannot count less than all votes. You either count all of them or you don't,'' said former Republican state Rep. Miguel De Grandy.
|MONDAY NOVEMBER 13 2000
The Times, London
Gore camp demands FBI inquiry
FROM DANIEL MCGRORY IN MIAMI
THE FBI is being asked to investigate how thousands of mainly black supporters of Al Gore were given ballot papers that had allegedly already been marked for rival candidates.
Yesterday Democrat officials were examining claims that up to 17,000 ballot papers in the Miami area had been tampered with in what they described as "organised corruption". Lawyers from across the United States descended on Miami and were busy taking statements from those complaining that they had been cheated or intimidated out of voting for Mr Gore.
A senior Democrat official in Miami, who has hired a team of 20 investigators to carry out an inquiry, told The Times: "Until now in Florida, we have been arguing foul-ups, human error and stupidity. But this is deliberate corruption to spoil votes for Gore and that must be a matter for the FBI.
"We don't want to be seen as playing the race card here, but the areas where this happened are in poorer precincts, which are predominantly black areas that would be expected to vote almost unanimously for Vice-President Gore. We are not accusing the Republican Party or any other ethnic groups for being behind this. All we are saying is the vote was corrupted. There are just too many double-punched papers."
Jewish leaders in staunch Democrat areas of the city claimed that they, too, had evidence of voting slips being marked before they reached polling stations in areas populated by retired Jewish couples. At a rally in a Miami synagogue, Lisa Versaci, Florida director of People for the American Way, said: "There can be no innocent explanation for a pre-punched ballot sheet."
Republican leaders in Miami dismissed the allegations as "dirty-trick claims". A spokesman said: "A spoiled ballot is not uncommon. There is no dark plot here."
How can a corrupt Miami FBI office, whose SAC is in bed with the CANF and whose spokesperson has been indicted in Canada for felony drug trafficking, properly investigate? See Miami FBI Office: terrorism, drugs, and politics, 3/25/00
Jeb: Liaison to Anti-Castro Right
Jeb was contacted in February 1985 by a friend of Castejon, who gave him a letter from Castejon to be passed on to then Vice President Bush. In his letter Castejon, a pediatrician and later an unsuccessful National Conservative Party presidential candidate, requested a meeting with George Bush to discuss a proposed medical aid project for the Contras. Jeb forwarded the letter to his father. In a March 3, 1985, letter, Vice President Bush expressed interest in Castejon's proposal to create an international medical brigade.
"I might suggest, if you are willing, that you consider meeting with Lt. Colonel Oliver North of the President's National Security Council Staff at a time that would be convenient for you," Bush wrote. "My staff has been in contact with Lt. Col. North concerning your projects and I know that he would be most happy to see you. You may feel free to make arrangements to see Lt. Colonel North, if you wish, by corresponding directly with him at the White House or by contacting Philip Hughes of my staff."
Castejon later met with North in the White House, where he also saw President Ronald Reagan. When Castejon returned to Washington for a second visit, he was introduced to members of North's secret Contra support network, including retired Maj. Gen. John Sing- laub and Contra leader Adolfo Calero. Castejon also met with a group of doctors working with Rob Owen, North's liaison with the Contras.
"He [Castejon] was offering us a pipeline into Guatemala," said Henry Whaley, a former arms dealer who said he was asked by his intelligence community connections to help Castejon. Whaley was optimistic about opening a new shipping route to the Contras through Guatemala. "If you can move Band-Aids," he reportedly said, "you can move bullets."
With Castejon, Whaley prepared a proposal to the State Department for the purchase of medical supplies for the Contras from the Department's newly established Nicaraguan Humanitarian Assistance Office. The document included requests for mobile field hospitals and light aircraft to evacuate wounded Contra guerrillas. Congress approved $27 million in "humanitarian" aid to the Contras in 1985. The Castejon proposal was hand-delivered to TGS International Limited in the Virginia suburbs of Washington. Whaley said he sent the report to TGS so it would be "quietly" forwarded to the CIA. TGS International is owned by Ted Shackley, who was CIA Associate Deputy Director of Operations when Bush Sr. headed the Agency in 1976-77.
Jeb had another Contra connection in his involvement with Miguel Recarey, Jr., a right-wing Cuban who headed the International Medical Centers (IMC) in Miami. In 1985 and 1986, Recarey and his associates gave more than $25,000 in contributions to political action committees controlled by then Vice President Bush. In 1986, Recarey hired Jeb, a real estate developer, to find a new headquarters for IMC. Jeb was paid a $75,000 fee, even though he never located a new building.
In September 1984, two months after IMC's $2,000 contribution to the Dade County Republican Party, which was headed by Jeb, the vice president's son contacted several top HHS (Department of Health and Human Services) officials on behalf of IMC. "Contrary to rumors, [Recarey] was a good community citizen and a good supporter of the Republican Party," one official of the HHC remembered Jeb telling him in late 1984. Jeb successfully sought an HHS waiver of a rule so that IMC could receive more than 50 percent of its income from Medicare.
Leon Weinstein, an HHS Medicare fraud inspector, worked on an audit of IMC in 1986; he has charged that IMC used Medicare funds to treat wounded Contras at its hospital. *31 The transaction was arranged by IMC official José Basulto, a right-wing Cuban trained by the CIA, who arranged for Contras to receive treatment in Miami. Basulto was praised for his commitment by Felix Rodriguez: "He has been active for a decade in supporting the Nicaraguan freedom fighters ever since the Sandinistas took power, and is constantly organizing Contra support among Miami's Cuban community. He has even been to Contra camps in Central America, helping to dispense humanitarian aid."
At the same time as Recarey was providing medical assistance to the Contras, he was embezzling Medicare funds. IMC, one of the largest health maintenance organizations in the United States, received $30 million a month for its Medicare patients, clearing $1 billion in federal monies from 1981 to 1987. While he headed IMC, Recarey's personal wealth jumped from $1 million to $100 million, U.S. investigators believe.
"IMC is the classic case of embezzlement of government funds," according to Robert Teich, the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration's Office on Labor Racketeering in Miami. Reich described IMC's skimming Medicare funds as a "bust-out" where money was "drained out the back door." A Florida state investigator concluded in a 1982 report that some federal funds IMC received "are being put in banks outside the country."
Recarey's links to the Mafia also raised eyebrows in Washington. "As far back as the 1960s, he had ties with reputed racketeers who had operated out of pre-Castro Cuba and who later forged an anti-Castro alliance with the CIA," the Wall Street Journal reported. The Journal added that the late Santos Trafficante, Jr., the Mafia boss of Florida, "helped out when Recarey needed business financing." Trafficante, a major drug trafficker, joined a failed CIA effort to assassinate Cuban President Fidel Castro in the early 1960s.
Recarey's access to Republican circles was probably one reason he was able to rip-off U.S. tax dollars for so long. He hired former Reagan aide Lyn Nofziger, the public relations firm Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly, which was close to the Reagan White House, and attorney John Sears, a former Reagan campaign manager, to look out for his interests in Washington. Recarey fled the United States in 1987 to avoid a federal indictment for racketeering and defrauding the U.S. government. The Bush administration has made no effort to extradite him from Venezuela where he is currently living.
JEB LINKED TO SMUGGLERS AND THIEVES
Federal prosecutors in Miami have a photograph of Jeb and Martinez shaking hands but won't release the photo to the public. Whether Jeb was aware of Martinez's drug trafficking activities is not known, but it is known that Leonel and his wife Margarita made a $2,200 contribution to the Dade County Republican Party four months after Jeb became the chair of the local GOP.
It is also known that Martinez wrote $5,000 checks to then Vice President Bush's Fund for America's Future in both December 1985 and July 1986 and made a $2,000 contribution to the Bush for President campaign in October 1987.
Martinez's construction company gave $6,000 in October 1986 to Bob Martinez (no relation), the GOP candidate for governor in Florida; he was governor from 1987 to 1991. At that time, Vice President Bush was serving as head of the South Florida Drug Task Force and later as chair of the National Narcotics Interdiction System, both set up to stem the flow of drugs into the U.S. While Bush was drug czar, the volume of cocaine smuggled into the U.S. tripled.
President Bush later appointed Bob Martinez in 1991 head of the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy- the drug czar to succeed the controversial William Bennett.
for the full article, see The Family that Preys Together, Covert Action Information Bulletin, No. 41 (Summer 1992), pp. 50-59. The building that houses CANF's headquarters also happens to be owned and managed by IntrAmerican Investments, whose president is Jeb Bush.
|By Anthony Boadle
WASHINGTON, Aug 11 (Reuters) - At a time when the U.S. embargo against Cuba has come under unprecedented attack, Democratic vice presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman is a firm opponent of relaxing the pressure on the island's communist government.
Since his election to the Senate in 1988, Lieberman has been a close ally of anti-Castro exiled in Florida and has voted to toughen the four-decade-old embargo at every turn.
By picking the Connecticut senator as his running mate, Democratic nominee Al Gore can hope to recover support among Cuban Americans lost by the Clinton Administration's decision to return the shipwrecked boy, Elian Gonzalez, to Cuba in June.
This year, Lieberman was the top recipient among three senatorial candidates of campaign contributions by the Free Cuba PAC, the political action committee of the largest exile organisation, the Cuban American National Foundation (CANF).
Free Cuba PAC contributed the maximum $10,000 to the senator's reelection campaign, according to the Centre for Responsive Politics, which tracks campaign funding.
``He's been a friend of the Cuban cause,'' CANF executive director Joe Garcia said.
``We have no questions where Joe Lieberman stands. He's a friend and the foundation stands with its friends,'' he said.
Garcia said Cuban Americans went to bat for Lieberman when he first ran forthe Senate, to block his Republican rival and incumbent Lowell Weicker, a former Connecticut governor.
Weicker advocated closer relations with Cuba and visited Havana, returning with a box of cigars given to him by Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
``We were very happy we got a man of Joe Lieberman's integrity and honesty,'' Garcia said. ``His entrance into the U.S. Senate displaced one of the greatest enemies the cause of a free Cuba ever had.'' Lieberman voted for the 1992 Cuban Democracy Act and the 1996 Helms-Burton Act tightening the embargo, which critics say is a Cold War relic that has failed to budge Castro.
U.S. farmers and the pharmaceutical industry have been lobbying hard to get into the Cuban market. In the growing debate on whether to relax the embargo to allow food and medicine sales to Cuba, Lieberman voted in June against a proposal to create a national commission to review U.S. policy toward the island that had been introduced in the Senate by fellow Connecticut Democrat Christopher Dodd.
Lieberman joined Republican politicians in asking Attorney General Janet Reno to delay the return to Cuba of six-year-old Elian Gonzalez, the shipwrecked boy caught in a custody battle between his father in Cuba and exiled relatives in Miami.
The senator has also consistently supported funding of the controversial U.S.-government's Radio and TV Marti stations that broadcast to Cuba. CANF spokeswoman Ninoska Perez said Lieberman was a friend of the organisation's founder, the late Jorge Mas Canosa, the figurehead of the anti-Castro hardliners.
CANF has been a a powerful lobby in Washington for two decades. Until 1996, officers, directors and trustees of CANF and the Free Cuba PAC paid out $3.2 million in political money, according to a 1997 study by the Centre for Public Integrity.
A spokesman for Lieberman, Dan Gerstein, said the senator has strongly supported the Cuban exiles community and received strong support in return. But he stressed: ``His views on this have nothing to do with any contributions he has ever received, This is something he believes in his heart. He firmly believes this policy is based on principle.'' Lieberman and Gore have identical views on the goals of U.S. policy on Cuba, that the embargo should stay in place until Castro undertakes reforms, Gerstein said.
``They agree very strongly that American policy should do nothing to prop up Castro or extend his ability to oppress the Cuban people,'' the spokesman said. Both men broke with the Clinton Administration on Elian Gonzalez, opposing a decision to send the boy back to Cuba. U.S. agents stormed a Miami home to seize the boy from his relatives to end the seven month drama.
Gore's change of position may have endeared him to some Cuban Americans, but the shift was seen poorly in the country, opinion polls showed. Most Cuban Americans vote Republican and are expected to do so once again in the November election in which the party has a tough anti-Castro platform that calls for active U.S. support for dissidents in Cuba.
|By DAVID ADAMS
© St. Petersburg Times, published August 9, 2000
MIAMI -- With Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman as his running mate, Democratic presidential hopeful Al Gore may win back alienated Cuban-American voters in South Florida.
Still smarting from the Clinton administration's handling of Elian Gonzalez, hard-line Cuban-American exiles can take heart from Lieberman's impeccable anti-Castro voting record.
In his 12 years in Congress, Lieberman has supported legislation to tighten the U.S. embargo against Cuba, including the 1992 Cuban Democracy Act and the 1996 Helms-Burton Act. He has also consistently backed funding for Radio and TV Marti, controversial government-financed stations that broadcast pro-democracy programming into Cuba.
Lieberman's Cuba connection dates to his 1988 Senate campaign when he challenged incumbent Republican Lowell Weicker, Connecticut's former governor.
Weicker was targeted by Cuban exiles after he met twice with Fidel Castro in Cuba and publicly advocated warming relations with the communist-run island. After one meeting, Weicker returned from Havana with a box of Cuban cigars, a present from Castro.
In a recent interview, Lieberman recalled being introduced that year to the late Jorge Mas Canosa, founder of the Cuban American National Foundation, by supporters within Miami's Jewish community.
"Jorge Mas Canosa and I really just struck it off," Lieberman said. "To me, part of the coming together was natural. I agreed with their position on Castro."
But there was also a financial side to his sympathy for the Cuban cause. His campaign won substantial financial backing from the CANF that helped Lieberman defeat Weicker by just 10,000 votes.
Lieberman has since proved a popular senator, and in 1994 he was re-elected in a landslide.
Cuban-Americans have continued to put their faith -- and money -- in Lieberman's stand on Cuban issues. This year, Floridians have donated more than $100,000 to his Senate re-election campaign, including major donations from the leaders of CANF.
"Joe Lieberman is a great friend of the Cuban cause," said Joe Garcia, CANF's director. "He's never missed one vote on Cuba and he's never failed to be with us."
Lieberman was one of a number of politicians who asked Attorney General Janet Reno to delay Elian Gonzalez' return to Cuba.
In his public comments on Cuba, Lieberman has lately shown some frustration with U.S. policy. He recently said that Castro no longer represented a national security threat to the United States.
"I am not happy with (the embargo) mostly because it hasn't brought about change," he told the Hartford Courant in May. But he added that the embargo remained true to the U.S. principles of opposing dictatorships and human rights abusers.
"I am still not for easing the embargo, unless we first see some actions by Castro," Lieberman said. "I'd like to see him grant more human rights for the people there. He needs to free some political dissidents. He needs to take concrete steps."
Lieberman also conceded that public opinion seems to be changing. "There certainly looks like a shift in opinion, both in Congress and the public. And that is away from the position I have taken."
Despite Lieberman's voting record, it may be too late to sway Cuban-Americans who make up 8 percent of registered Florida voters.
On Tuesday, Cuban radio commentators praised Gore's selection, but urged listeners to vote Republican.
Some Cuban-American Democrats in Miami who favor softening U.S. policy on Cuba were disappointed in the choice of Lieberman. "I think it's very good for the future of American democracy that Mr. Gore picked a minority as his running mate," said Max Lesnik, a Cuban-American commentator in Miami who is Jewish.
"But I don't think he (Lieberman) understands the Cuba issue. Like all politicians, he's in it for the money."
See also http://www.seattlecuba.org/the%20cuba%20obsession.htm for more on Lieberman and the CANF
|November 8, 2000
ELECTORAL FRAUD IN FLORIDA
U.S. presidential election still undecided
EDITORIAL in Granma
A BANANA REPUBLIC
SOMETHING unprecedented, which perhaps hundreds of millions of people in the world and even in the United States never imagined possible, occurred during the U.S. presidential elections this Tuesday.
Word of a huge scandal is sweeping the globe. When television channels, deceived by the authors of the fraud, announced his victory at 3 a.m. on Wednesday, messages of congratulations were sent hastily from all over by political leaders to candidate George Bush, but subsequently they had to be rectified or withdrawn by those who sent them.
The United States was left without a president-elect. The epicenter of this political earthquake, at this moment so damaging to that country’s prestige, was once again the state of Florida and especially Miami, where the Cuban-American terrorist mafia is based and rules. That selfsame mafia, allied with the U.S. extreme right, engineered the kidnapping of Cuban child Elián González.
On that occasion they broke laws, showed no respect for institutions, and — what’s worse — psychologically tortured and even physically mistreated, over the course of several months, an innocent boy who was barely six years old when he was retained for no reason or by any law of that country. Armed men conspired, criminally plotted, organized plans for violent resistance, disturbed the peace of the city, and finally trampled and burned the U.S. flag, in furious protest against the rescue of the child. Thanks to our people’s intense struggle and the support, on the part of the immense majority of that country’s population, for the rights of the boy, his father and his legitimate family, he was returned to Cuba.
On that occasion, there were scenes that deeply distressed the U.S. public.
Barely six months had passed since those shameful events when, as fate would have it, the state of Florida became a decisive factor in the presidential election. This time the mafia risked everything. Thirsty for revenge, anxious to recover lost territory, with the complicity of its allies in the U.S. Congress, prior to the elections it had finagled a strengthening of the blockade against our country, frustrating initiatives in favor of the sales of food and medicines, converting into law the ban on U.S. citizens traveling to Cuba and managing to wrest away the funds belonging to Cuba that have been frozen in the United States. When the day of the very close presidential election arrived, it considered itself empowered to decide who would be the next president of the United States.
It became clear early yesterday morning that this group had not only
invested copious sums of money, but had also shamelessly resorted to
electoral fraud, as had their predecessors before the Revolution. These
experts in assuring that even the votes of dead people are counted—as
they had already done more than once in Miami—stole ballot boxes,
mixed up votes, surrounded polling places with the aim of pressuring
voters, resorted to changing the order of the candidates on the ballot
in order to trick the voters, many of them retired and elderly citizens
who, determined to vote for a particular candidate, accidentally voted
for his rival, and later cried bitterly out of frustration and because
they had fallen victim to such deception. [See Gore camp demands FBI
inquiry, 11/13: voter fraud in Miami]
What will they say to the world? How will they quash the indignation, the jeers and the scandal? How will they right this wrong? Amid so many tricks, anomalies and irregularities, in the attempt to determine the real winner, no one will be satisfied any longer by mere vote recounts and similar formulas which in no way nullify the results achieved and the votes obtained through fraud, pressure and deceit. The votes in Florida can be recounted a thousand times, but the fraud will remain intact.
Putting aside the colossal figure of $3 billion USD in electoral expenses and propaganda, which in and of itself discredits any claims of a democratic model and a government of the people and by the people, under the current circumstances the leaders of the United States have no alternative but to hold a new election in the state of Florida, to find out who is the winner and to maintain the fiction that in that country there is something resembling a democracy, and not what they themselves so disparagingly call a "banana republic."
|By ALEX VEIGA
Associated Press, 1/11/00
MIAMI -- A spokesman for the relatives of Elian Gonzalez was paid $10,000 as a paid political consultant for the judge who awarded temporary custody of the 6-year-old boy to a great-uncle in defiance of an immigration ruling that the boy be returned to his father in Cuba.
Armando Gutierrez, who runs a public relations firm, said Tuesday that he was paid $10,000 by Miami-Dade County Circuit Judge Rosa Rodriguez during her 1998 election campaign...
...Gutierrez has been involved in organizing a trip to Disney World for Elian and his relatives and a number of other public appearances.
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