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Otto Reich's poster
, 4/01

The Least We Know: Otto Reich and narcoterrorist Orlando Bosch
, 4/01
Washington Office on Latin America, Washington, DC

IMPORTANT ACTION ALERT on Herr Otto Juan Reich appointment as Assistant Secretary
, 3/25 What you can do!

Bush picks former envoy, 3/23

Iran-contra figure up for key aide's job. Critics say his views on Cuba could hurt relations with Mexico
, 3/4/01

Bush nominates Herr Otto Juan Reich  as 
Assistant Secretary of State
for Inter American Affairs

The Coca Contra boys are back in town...again, and again.  Otto Reich, backer of terrorist Orlando Bosch, promoter of prohibited propaganda inside US borders as Reagan's head Office of Public Information, one of Ollie North's boys. Now doing a stint as McCain advisor on Latin America.

Asesor de política exterior de John McCain - Otto Reich: "Obama no tiene ni un día de experiencia internacional"  5/25/2008 El Mercurio:  - "Aunque dice que nunca ha abandonado la vida política, lo cierto es que Otto Reich, ex jefe de la diplomacia estadounidense para América Latina, anunció su retorno con "bombos y platillos", nada menos que como asesor del candidato republicano a la Casa Blanca, John McCain." 

Otto Reich's Distinguished Career, 2/22/01 His support for terrorist Bosch

Essential Info On Otto Reich,
3/24/01 Rich set of links to basic documents outlining Otto's career.

Background On Otto Juan Reich, 2/01

Resources on right wing Cuban exiles

Otto Reich's poster


  • He is "obsessed with Cuba" and his prescription is "economic warfare." [Dallas Morning News, 3/4/01]
  • He ran a government office which engaged in "prohibited, covert propaganda activities" within the U.S to support the "contra" fighters against the Sandinista Government of Nicaragua as part of the Iran-Contra scandal under President Reagan; this was "beyond the range of acceptable agency public information activities," and in violation of "a restriction on the State Dept.’s annual appropriations prohibiting the use of federal funds for publicity or propaganda purposes not authorized by Congress," according to the Republican-appointed Comptroller-General of the U.S. [See letter of 9/30/87, at]
  • Reich is also Vice-Chairman of an apparel industry front group (WRAP), characterized "as a way for clothing importers to avoid serious scrutiny of their factories in the third world."

He is now Bush’s Nominee for Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs! Your senators still need to vote on his confirmation; call them toll free at 800-374-6702.

For more info, contact: Natl. Lawyers Guild Cuba Subcommittee, 606 W. Wisconsin Ave. Suite 1706, Milwaukee, WI 53203 (414) 273-1040;; 

The Least We Know: Otto Reich and Orlando Bosch, 4/01
Washington Office on Latin America, Washington, DC

The Least We Know: Otto Reich and Orlando Bosch, 4/01
Washington Office on Latin America, Washington, DC

Summary of the facts:

An incomplete documentary trail indicates that while serving as U.S. ambassador to Venezuela between 1986 and 1989, Otto Reich paid careful attention to the case of Orlando Bosch, a Cuban exile terrorist who was released from prison in Venezuela in 1987.

Bosch, a Miami resident but not a U.S. citizen, had spent years in U.S. jails for terrorist activities. Wanted for questioning in a murder case in 1974, Bosch had violated his parole by leaving the country. He traveled to Venezuela, Chile, Costa Rica and other parts of Latin America and then was arrested in Venezuela in 1976 for the dynamiting of a Cuban airliner in Barbados, with the loss for 73 lives. U.S. agencies and Venezuelan authorities both considered him the author of that crime. Bosch was regarded as one of the most notorious terrorists of the time.

About six weeks after Reich presented his credentials in Caracas, a Venezuelan judge ordered Bosch "absolved" of the aircraft bombing. Embassy cables show that Reich immediately inquired about Bosch's possible return to the U.S. in the first of several cables spanning about a year and a half, both before and after Bosch's actual release from the Venezuelan prison.

Upon Bosch's return to Miami in 1988, he was arrested for illegal entry into the U.S. and his detention triggered a political uproar in certain exile circles. Securing Bosch's freedom became a cause celebre for some politicians, who lobbied then-President Bush for a pardon.

In June 1989 the Justice Department concluded that Bosch should be deported from the U.S. because he "has repeatedly expressed and demonstrated a willingness to cause indiscriminate injury and death." Rejecting that recommendation, the Bush administration paroled Bosch in 1990, and granted him an administrative pardon in 1992.


The core issue is why a US ambassador would concern himself with the well-being of a foreign national whom US intelligence agencies had long considered a violent terrorist.

An additional question is why the Bush administration ultimately verruled the Justice Department and INS, issuing a pardon to a serial terrorist who showed no remorse and was still considered extremely dangerous.

The case suggests a complex relationship between Reich and members of the Cuban exile communities in both Venezuela and the U.S. and U.S. politicians. A full investigation would encompass the politically connected anti-Castro militants in Miami who in 1989-90 interceded with then-President George President on Bosch's behalf, as well as the anti-Castro exile community in Venezuela.

Venezuelan officials such as former President Carlos Andres Perez who were familiar both with the prosecution of Bosch and with Reich's record in Caracas may have a useful perspective both on the freeing of Bosch case and on Reich's record as a diplomat.


Before the bomb destroyed the Cubana de Aviacion flight on Oct. 6, 1976, US officials had suspected that Bosch was planning an attack on a civilian airplane. They had asked that he be deported from Venezuela to the U.S. on the grounds of his parole violation. Among the 73 people killed were 24 members of the Cuban Olympic fencing team, mostly teenagers.

When Otto Reich began his term as U.S. ambassador to Venezuela in June, 1986, Orlando Bosch had been imprisoned for 10 years as mastermind of the attack. On July 21, 1986, six weeks after Reich had presented his credentials in Caracas, a Venezuelan judge issued an initial ruling that Bosch was innocent of the aircraft bombing. Former President Carlos Andres Perez said that the Bosch file had been tampered with.

The ruling required an additional stage of judicial review and Bosch was not actually released from prison until the next year. But in the same cable in which Reich reported that Bosch had been "absolved", he immediately began querying Washington about Bosch's eligibility to return to the U.S.

On September 1, 1987 Reich informed the State Department that several Caracas papers had reported that Bosch, who had been released a few weeks earlier, had sent a letter to a conference of intellectual dissidents in Caracas thanking them for having invited him to serve as president of the conference. Reich's cable said the letter also thanked Bosch's "compatriot Otto Reich" for his efforts in behalf of their common goals. Reich denied contact with Bosch and said that the letter might be "Soviet-Cuban disinformation."

Other diplomatic cables from Reich to the State Department indicate that Reich warned Washington that Bosch was a candidate to be the target of a Cuban hit squad, and reported that Bosch's friends, with whom he was in contact, were ready to "whisk him out of the country on four hours' notice." In December 1987 a cable signed by Reich requested clearance for issuance of an immigrant visa for Bosch.

The U.S. visa was not issued and in February 1988 when Bosch returned to Miami, he was detained for the prior parole violation and for illegal entry. Bosch's rearrest became an instant cause celebre in certain Miami circles. The pressure for his pardon and release became a central focus of the 1988 political campaign of Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), whose campaign manager at the time was Jeb Bush, now governor of Florida. In 1990 the Bush administration paroled Bosch, and in 1992 it quietly granted an administrative pardon.

"The release from jail of Orlando Bosch," wrote the New York Times in a July 20, 1990, editorial, "is a startling example of political justice. The Justice Department, under no legal compulsion but conspicuous political pressure, has let him out, winning cheers from local politicians-and squandering American credibility on issues of terrorism.

"In the name of fighting terrorism," the editorial continued, "the United States has sent the Air Force to bomb Libya and the Army to invade Panama. Yet now the Bush administration coddles one of the hemisphere's most notorious terrorists. And for what reason? The only one evident is currying favor in South Florida."

After Bosch was pardoned, he remained defiantly unrepentant. Newspaper accounts indicate that he defended the bombing of the passenger plane as "a legitimate act of war" and called the agreement he had signed forswearing violence and setting conditions on his release "a farce."

Bosch reportedly boasted, "They purchased the chain, but they don't have the monkey."

The documentary evidence on Reich's dealings in behalf of Bosch is incomplete. In response to a 1993 Freedom of Information Act request filed by the National Security Archive the State Department reported finding 352 documents relating to Bosch, but it only released 188 of them. Material in 31 documents was excised, and 92 documents were withheld in full on the grounds of national security.

Backup documents that may be useful in understanding the case:

Kissinger cable, Oct. 1976
Reich cable, July 1986
Reich cable, Aug 1986 "Bosch's Friends Poised to Whisk Him Away"
Reich cable, Sept 1987, "Possible Soviet-Cuban Disinformation"
Reich cable, Dec 29, 1987, apparently requesting visa for Bosch
Levitsky memo to Donald Gregg, June 8, 1988, "Response by Vice President Bush..."

Newspaper Articles:

James LeMoyne, "Cuban Linked to Terror Bombings," New York Times, July 17, 1990. Jeffery Schmalz, "Furor Over Castro Foe's Fate,"New York Times, Aug. 16, 1998.
"The Bosch Case Does Violence to Justice," Editorial, New York Times, July 20, 1990.
Ann Louis Bardach and Larry Rohter, "Our Hit Man in Havana," Sacramento Bee, July 26, 1998
Rohter-Bardach, NYT, July 12-13, 1998 A Bombers Tale (three parts)
Rohter-Bardach, NYT, May 1, 1998, A Plot on Castro Spotlights Exiles
Rohter-Bardach, NYT Aug. 26, 1998, Cuban Exile Leaders Accused in Plot on Castro

Subject: IMPORTANT ACTION ALERT on Otto! 3/25


According to news reports, Sen. Graham is supporting the appointment of Otto Reich. 
Florida junior Sen. Bill Nelson has not committed - and HE IS ON THE FOREIGN 
RELATIONS COMMITTEE, who will review Reich's appointment before it is sent to 
floor for vote.

Please call/write to Senator Nelson and ask that he NOT SUPPORT THIS NOMINATION!!!

In this post is contact information for all Members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, 

1. a link to send letters to all members at once, or individually.
2. snail-mail addys, Phone and Fax numbers
3. IMPORTANT INFORMATION about getting your message delivered!
4. important information for FLORIDA RESIDENTS
For superb information on Otto Reich, go to National Security Archives at:

Important information for Florida residents!
taken from Miami Herald article, 23 March...
GRAHAM SUPPORT For his part, Florida Democratic Sen. Bob Graham ``is very 
supportive of the Reich nomination,'' said spokeswoman Caren Benjamin.

Graham is not a member of the Foreign Relations committee, but junior Florida Sen. Bill 
Nelson, also a Democrat, does have a seat there and has no position yet, said spokesman 
Dan McLaughlin. ``He wants to take a close look at his record and resume and 
qualifications for the office,'' he said.

Senator Bill Nelson U.S. Courthouse Annex 111 N. Adams Street Tallahassee, FL 32301 
(850) 942-8415
United States Senate Washington, D.C. 20510
(202) 224-5274

Sens. Torricelli & Helms (chair) are also on the committe and this is trouble! If you have time,
 please write to all committte members!

If you have experienced bouncing emails from Members of Congress, and really want your 
message to get through, please read the following before sending:

Email addressed to Congressmembers often bounces back. It appears now that a recent 
study has confirmed what has been long suspected, Capitol Hill is ill-equipped for email 
(the study refered to in the article is available online). This, combined with recent stories 
on problems with the Senate Email Servers suggests that if your message is really 
important you should consider sending it via fax or phone (numbers available here). 
It also suggests that spamming everyone in Congress just contributes to this problem. (March 20, 2001).
Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Phone: 202-224-4651 (Majority) 202-224-3953 (Minority)
Fax: 202-224-0836 (Majority) 202-224-5011 (Minority) 
Room: 450 Dirksen Senate Office Building (Majority) 
439 Dirksen Senate Office Building (Minority)

Email: The following links allow you to directly email Committee members with public email addresses listed below en mass. (Note: These group emailing links may not work with some browsers.) Mail all 17 Committee Members who have email,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
Mail all 9 Majority Party Committee Members who have email.,,,,,,,,
Mail all 8 Minority Party Committee Members who have email.,,,,,,,

Senate Foreign Relations Website: WWW Homepage:

*** All Senate addresses are Washington, DC 20510

Republican Members:

NC Sen. Jesse Helms (R) (Chair) 202-224-6342 919-856-4630 fax: 202.228.1339 403 Senate Dirksen Building
IN Sen. Richard Lugar (R) 202-224-4814 317-226-5555 fax: 202.228.0360 306 Senate Hart Building NE Sen. Chuck Hagel (R) 202-224-4224 402-758-8981 fax: 202.224.5213 346 Senate Dirksen Building
OR Sen. Gordon H. Smith (R) 202-224-3753 503-326-3386 fax: 202.228.3997 367 Senate Dirksen Building
WY Sen. Craig Thomas (R) 202-224-6441 307-261-5172 fax: 202.224.1724 522 Senate Hart Building
TN Sen. Bill Frist (R) 202-224-3344 615-352-9411 fax:202.228.1264 565 Senate Dirksen Building RI Sen. Lincoln D. Chafee (R) 202-224-2921 401-528-5294 505 Senate Dirksen Building
VA Sen. George Allen (R) 202-224-4024
KS Sen. Sam Brownback (R) 202-224-6521 913-492-6378 fax: 202.228.1265 303 Senate Hart Building

Democratic Party Members

DE Sen. Joseph Biden (D) Ranking Member 202-224-5042 302-573-6345 fax: 202.224.0139 221 Senate Russell Building
MD Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D) 202-224-4524 410-962-4436 fax: 202.224.1651 309 Senate Hart Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510
CT Sen. Christopher Dodd (D) 202-224-2823 860-240-3470 fax: 202.224.1083 448 Russell Building Washington, DC 20510
MA Sen. John Forbes Kerry (D) 202-224-2742 617-565-8519 fax: 202.224.8525 421 Senate Russell Building
WI Sen. Russ Feingold (D) 202-224-5323 608-828-1200 fax: 202.224.2725 716 Senate Hart Building
MN Sen. Paul David Wellstone (D) 202-224-5641 651-645-0323 fax: fax: 202.224.8438 fax: 202.224.8567 136 Senate Hart Building
CA Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) 202-224-3553 415-403-0100 112 Senate Hart Building
NJ Sen. Robert Torricelli (D) 202-224-3224 973-624-5555 fax: 415.956.6701 113 Senate Dirksen Building
FL Sen. Bill Nelson (D) 202-224-5274 850-942-8415 U.S. Courthouse Annex 111 N. Adams Street Tallahassee, FL 32301


 Sat, 24 Mar 2001 08:18:39 -0800

**I worked at the NS Archives for Peter Kornbluh in 1998...they are a superb source of info on this criminal...below are links to their Electronic Briefing Book on Otto Reich...please forward to your local media if you have time... interesting info for everyone!

In solidarity, Paddy Newell

* The Comptroller-General of the U.S., a Republican appointee, found that some of the efforts of Mr. Reich's public diplomacy office were "prohibited, covert propaganda activities," "beyond the range of acceptable agency public information activities.." The same September 30, 1987 letter concluded that Mr. Reich's office had violated "a restriction on the State Department's annual appropriations prohibiting the use of federal funds for publicity or propaganda purposes not authorized by Congress." The letter also said, "We do not believe, however, that available evidence will support a conclusion that the applicable antilobbying statute has been violated."

* The General Accounting Office in an October 30, 1987 letter and report found that Mr. Reich's office "generally did not follow federal regulations governing contractual procedures" in its contracting "with numerous individuals and several companies." The GAO quoted Mr. Reich as saying "he was generally unfamiliar with the details related to the office's contracting procedures. Instead he relied on his staff as well as State's procurement office to ensure that federal regulations were adhered to."

* The bipartisan report of the Congressional Iran-contra committees (November 1987, p. 34) found that "[i]n fact, 'public diplomacy' turned out to mean public relations-lobbying, all at taxpayers' expense." The committees concluded their discussion by quoting the Comptroller-General's findings in the September 30, 1987 letter. A detailed critique of the public diplomacy operation, written by Iran-contra committee staff, was deleted from the Iran-contra report after heated partisan debate (see Robert Parry and Peter Kornbluh, "Iran-Contra's Untold Story," Foreign Policy, No. 72, Fall 1988, pp. 3-30).

* A staff report by the House Foreign Affairs Committee (September 7, 1988) summarized various investigations of Mr. Reich's office and concluded that "senior CIA officials with backgrounds in covert operations, as well as military intelligence and psychological operations specialists from the Department of Defense, were deeply involved in establishing and participating in a domestic political and propaganda operation run through an obscure bureau in the Department of State which reported directly to the National Security Council rather than through the normal State Department channels.. Through irregular sole-source, no-bid contracts, S/LPD established and maintained a private network of individuals and organizations whose activities were coordinated with, and sometimes directed by, Col. Oliver North as well as officials of the NSC and S/LPD. These private individuals and organizations raised and spent funds for the purpose of influencing Congressional votes and U.S. domestic news media. This network raised and funneled money to off-shore bank accounts in the Cayman Islands or to the secret Lake Resources bank account in Switzerland for disbursement at the direction of Oliver North. Almost all of these activities were hidden from public view and many of the key individuals involved were never questioned or interviewed by the Iran/Contra Committees."

* Mr. Reich responded in detail to questioning by staff of the Iran/Contra Committees in a formal deposition on July 15, 1987. The full text of the 122-page deposition is included here. Part of the questioning revolved around a lengthy March 20, 1985 memo written by Oliver North to National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane, providing "the chronology of events aimed at securing Congressional approval for renewed support to the Nicaraguan Resistance Forces." The chronology contains repeated listings of actions to be taken by "State/LPD (Reich)"; however, Mr. Reich testified that he "never saw it as a tasking memorandum" and that he was unaware that his contractors were involved in lobbying efforts or ads targeted on specific members of Congress. North's memo also referred to an advertisement ("53 cents per day supports a freedom fighter") that was off-message; the text of the ad was attached to Mr. Reich's deposition as an exhibit.

* On March 12, 1985, one of Mr. Reich's staff, Daniel "Jake" Jacobowitz, on detail from the U.S. Air Force, wrote a detailed "public diplomacy action plan" that paralleled the North chronology, with candid commentary about the lobbying campaign including a three-item list of audiences: "U.S. Congress," "U.S. media," and "interest groups." 

* On March 13, 1985, Mr. Reich's deputy, Johnathan S. Miller, wrote a two-page report to White House director of communications Pat Buchanan, giving what Miller called "[f]ive illustrative examples of the Reich 'White Propaganda' operation." These included op-eds the office had written or placed covertly, without any acknowledgement of the government's role, and planned op-eds under the contra leaders' bylines.

* Mr. Reich sought and obtained staff for his office by getting them detailed from various U.S. military units engaged in "psychological operations." The declassified documents include requests for these detailees on March 5, 1985 and on September 18, 1985, a staff discussion of the need for detailees on December 10, 1985, a December 16, 1985 request for certificates of appreciation for five detailees, and a plaintive memo to NSC staffer and former CIA official Walt Raymond on January 5, 1986 complaining that the Pentagon had turned down a new request for detailees. Perhaps the most illuminating discussion of the psyops detailees can be found in a May 30, 1985 memo from Jake Jacobowitz to Mr. Reich about the impending arrival of five detailees, calling them the "A-team" and including the comment "Since he is a PSYOP type he will also be looking for exploitable themes and trends.."

 * The final document included here is an April 15, 1984 memo drafted by Mr. Reich for Secretary of State George Shultz to send to President Reagan, describing a specific intervention by Mr. Reich with CBS News as an example of the day-to-day work of the public diplomacy office. ************************************************************

Note: The following documents are in PDF format. You will need to download and install the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view.

Comptroller General of the United States to Dante Fascell, Chairman, Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, [Legal Opinion on Issue of Alleged Lobbying and the Development and Dissemination of Propaganda], September 30, 1987, 10 pp.

United States General Accounting Office, Report to Congressional Requesters, State's Administration of Certain Public Diplomacy Contracts, October 1987, 14 pp.

 Report of the Congressional Committees Investigating the Iran-Contra Affair, November 13, 1987, Excerpt, 2 pp. 

Committee on Foreign Affairs, U.S. House of Representatives, Staff Report, State Department and Intelligence Community Involvement in Domestic Activities Related to the Iran/Contra Affair, September 7, 1988, 34 pp.

Deposition of Otto J. Reich before the Senate Select Committee on Secret Military Assistance to Iran and the Nicaraguan Opposition, July 15, 1987, 70 pp.

 NSC Intelligence Document, Oliver North to Robert C. McFarlane, Timing and the Nicaraguan Resistance Vote, March 20, 1985, 8 pp.

Col. Daniel Jacobowitz (Office of Public Diplomacy), Public Diplomacy Action Plan: Support for the White House Educational Campaign, March 12, 1985, 9 pp.

Johnathan S. Miller (Office of Public Diplomacy) to Pat Buchanan, Director of Communications, The White House, "White Propaganda" Operation, March 13, 1985, Confidential, 3 pp.

Memorandum, Otto Reich (Office of Public Diplomacy) to Ray Warren Department of Defense), TDY Personnel for S/LPD, March 5, 1985, 3 pp.

Otto J. Reich (Office of Public Diplomacy) to Col. David Brown, Executive Secretary, Office of the Secretary of Defense, [Request for Detail of Military Officers to Office of Public Diplomacy], September 18, 1985, 2 pp.

Office of Public Diplomacy, Minutes of the Public Diplomacy Meeting, December 10, 1985, December 11, 1985, 1 p.

Otto Reich (Office of Public Diplomacy) to Mrs. Roosevelt, Request for Tributes of Appreciation, December 16, 1985, 7 pp.

Otto Reich (Office of Public Diplomacy) to Walter Raymond (National Security Council), Denial of Detail of Personnel by DoD, January 5, 1986, 3 pp.

Col. Daniel Jacobowitz (Office of Public Diplomacy) to Otto Reich (Office of Public Diplomacy), Duties of TDY Military Personnel, May 30, 1985, 2 pp.

Secretary of State George P. Shultz, Memorandum for the President, News Coverage of Central America, April 15, 1984, 3 pp.

Bush picks former envoy, 3/23

Washington Bureau, Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale)
Posted March 23 2001

WASHINGTON -- President Bush nominated Cuban-born Otto Reich as the State Department's top Latin America diplomat Thursday, drawing praise from Miami's exile community and fire from some members of Congress who don't trust the former Reagan Administration official.

Reich is a former ambassador to Venezuela and a state department official in the 1980s. A staunch believer in the embargo against Cuba, Reich has earned support from anti-Castro activists who say his appointment as assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs signals a strong Latin America policy by the Bush administration.

``From my point of view and that of the [Cuban American National] Foundation's, Otto Reich has always been a friend," said Jorge Mas Santos, CANF's leader. ``He is a man who believes in democracy and liberty."

But Reich, 55, also is distrusted by many in Congress who say the office he headed in the State Department in the 1980s covertly generated propaganda to influence Congress and the U.S. public in support of the Reagan administration's anti-communist policies in Nicaragua and the rest of Central America.

``Otto Reich's nomination raises a number of questions which need to be thoughtfully examined because of revelations that his office may have been the genesis of acts of propaganda not just prohibited in this country, but which reflect a kind of carelessness about the truth," said Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., a member of the evenly divided Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which will handle the nomination.

FOr the rest of this story, see

Iran-contra figure up for key aide's job 
Critics say his views on Cuba could hurt relations with Mexico, 3/4/01

SUNDAY - MARCH 4, 2001

HEADLINE: Iran-contra figure up for key aide's job Critics say his views on Cuba could hurt relations with Mexico

BY ALFREDO CORCHADO / The Dallas Morning News

WASHINGTON - A Cuba hard-liner who was a controversial figure in the Iran-contra scandal, Otto Juan Reich, appears poised to be tapped as President Bush's assistant secretary of state for Western Hemispheric affairs.

Critics fear the move will damage closer U.S. relations with the hemisphere, especially Mexico.

Mr. Reich, a Cuban-American who is a staunch anti-Communist and former ambassador to Venezuela, is undergoing a State Department background check. He would oversee U.S. foreign policy toward Latin America and Canada at a time when the region is undergoing its biggest political transformation in decades and the Bush administration is touting closer ties.

Mr. Reich didn't respond to several requests for an interview.

Although his views appear to reflect those of Mr. Bush, his nomination would probably create a conflict with some key U.S. trading partners in the region and halt momentum by a growing number of conservative business leaders and farmers who want to open new markets in Cuba.

Moreover, it threatens to set up a showdown during confirmation hearings between Florida's powerful Cuban-American exile lobby, which strongly supported Mr. Bush in the election and is firmly behind Mr. Reich, and a bipartisan group of congressional leaders.

Already, some members of Congress are preparing for a "contentious battle," said a legislative aide familiar with the process, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Some analysts say they fear that the nomination of Mr. Reich would not only set the tone for a more hardened U.S. policy to Cuba, but could also sour goodwill gestures to the rest of the Americas, setting up a showdown with Mexico.

Mexico, which has been touting a relationship with the United States complete with building "bridges of understanding" with Central and South America, has sharply disagreed with the 40-year-old U.S. embargo of Cuba.

"President Bush and [Secretary of State Colin] Powell have shown a very good will toward Mexico and Latin America, and we hope that will translate into naming people with adequate credentials for the job," said Rafael Fernandez de Castro, editor of the Mexican version of Foreign Affairs magazine. "Otto doesn't have those credentials. He will create unnecessary friction and tensions."

MANY OTHERS DISAGREE. Dennis Hays, executive vice president of the Cuban American National Foundation office in Washington, praised the prospect of Mr. Reich being appointed.

"I think he'd be a spectacular choice. He'd bring lots of experience to the region," Mr. Hays said.



The issue of Cuba apparently created tension in the recent meeting between Mr. Bush and Mexican President Vicente Fox. When the topic came up, according to sources knowledgeable about the meeting at Mr. Fox's ranch in Guanajuato, "the two sides seemed to talk over each other."

Nonetheless, an official with the National Security Council who was present at the meeting said: "Far from [that] characterization, all the exchanges were friendly, honest and direct. In fact, this frankness was what made the meetings so successful and valuable for both presidents."

One leading advocate of closer U.S. ties with Cuba says the proposed nomination may be an outgrowth of the hotly contested presidential election in Florida. Cuban-Americans strongly backed Mr. Bush in November, according to exit polls, and have also been strong supporters of his brother Jeb Bush, the Florida governor, who is expected to be running for re-election next year.

"Jeb's re-election bid in Florida and [President Bush's] debt to the Cuban-American community in Florida, I'd think, played a role in Otto being the front-runner," said Wayne Smith, a longtime Cuba analyst and former head of the U.S. Interest Office in Havana.

[END FIRST SECTION NOT IN EL NUEVO HERALD] -------------------------------------

Supporters of Mr. Reich, led by longtime ally Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., reject the view that Mr. Reich, or Cuban exiles, will set U.S. policy toward the region. They say the 55-year-old political diplomat is the ideal man for the job.




"One of the digs against Cuban-Americans is, 'Oh, you can't appoint him to any position because he's Cuban-American and he's obsessed with Cuba,' an attitude that totally unfair," said a congressional Republican official.

"That's like saying he's Irish-American and will be obsessed with Ireland all the time. The truth is Otto is immensely qualified. Yes, Cuba is a core interest ... however, he's a Latin Americanist in the clearest sense."


The Republican official added: "Whoever gets that job will do whatever the White House wants him or her to do."

Critics of the proposed nomination worry about a potential clash with key U.S. trading partners over the full implementation of the Helms-Burton law, which intensified the embargo against Cuba, imposing sanctions against countries that trade with the island.

Currently, the U.S. government has been issuing six-month waivers on the stiffer measures. But if the Bush administration implemented a provision allowing U.S. citizens and companies to sue foreign companies dealing with firms seized after Fidel Castro took power in 1959, some U.S. trading partners might threaten economic retaliation, including Mexico, Canada and the European Union.

The issue is particularly touchy for Mr. Reich, who was a paid lobbyist for Bacardi, the giant Cuban rum company that spent a lot to lobby for the Helms-Burton bill.

"If Mr. Reich becomes the assistant secretary of state for Bacardi and the Cuban American National Foundation, his credibility will be extinguished, thus his tenure will be limited," warned a businessman who favors more trade with Cuba and who spoke on condition of anonymity.

[END SECOND SECTION NOT IN TRANSLATION] -------------------------------------

When Mr. Reich headed the State Department's office of public diplomacy in the mid-1980s, he was accused by Congress of engaging in "prohibited, covert propaganda activities" in his efforts to promote the Reagan administration's policies toward Nicaragua.



Those policies included the transfer of weapons to the country's anti-Sandinista contra rebels, financed by the covert sales of weapons to Iran, despite a congressional ban. Those details were included in a 1997 report by the General Accounting Office.



Mr. Reich never was charged with any crime.



Over the years, he has been clear about his position on U.S. policy to Cuba, the homeland he left in 1960, a year after Mr. Castro took power. At a March 1999 hearing before the House International Relations Committee on Cuba, he said, "In our relationship with Cuba, we should remember how the Soviet Union was defeated," referring to the Reagan administration's policy of squeezing the former Soviet Union through "economic warfare."

He added: "A proactive policy toward Cuba, similar in scope, can likewise succeed in bringing about a peaceful and rapid end to communism in Cuba. But it will require imagination and resources."


Those views appear to run counter to the current mood in Congress, where many members favor lifting or easing the embargo and the travel ban for Americans.

Rep. George Nethercutt, R-Wash., who has sought for three years to open Cuba to American farm products, said without specifically referring to Mr. Reich's candidacy, "I am confident that the pesident will appoint an individual with an equal commitment to constructively engaging the region, an approach that will be welcomed by a majority in Congress."

Mr. Bush appears to be depending heavily on Cuban-Americans for key foreign policy advice.

Just a few days before his meeting with Mr. Fox, Mr. Bush called Mr. Diaz-Balart to the White House to brainstorm about the visit and to seek advice on issues that would be topics between the two men. The news that Cuba was on the official agenda unexpectedly hit Mr. Fox during a dinner in Mexico City with his foreign minister, Jorge Castaneda. "The news soured the mood," said one of the sources familiar with details of the Bush-Fox meeting.



[c] 2001 The Dallas Morning News

Otto Reich's Distinguished Career, 2/22/01

Date: 22-Feb-01 at 20:41

Otto Juan Reich, Cuban American

Otto Reich left Cuba when he was 14 years old in 1960. He worked as the top Latin America specialist in the Agency for International Development (AID) and was made head of the State Department's notorious Office of Public Diplomacy (PDO) for Latin America and the Caribbean when it was created under Reagan in 1983, ostensibly to lobby congress. Actually Reich worked for Col. Oliver North, the secret head of PDO, putting out disinformation or "White Propaganda."

For instance, the PDO writers bamboozled the New York Times and the Washington Post by writing anti-Sandinista articles that were published as op-ed pieces (NYT 12/13/85 and WP 4/7/87) under the names of contra leaders Robelo, Calero, and Cruz. One of their most successful pieces of disinformation occurred on election night, November 4, 1984: a report of Soviet MiGs being delivered to Nicaragua. Its authors included North and Col. Robert McFarlane. 

State Department spokesperson John Hughes later tried to play down that lie but not before it was effectively used by the Reagan Administration.

Shortly after the PDO was set up, Reagan named him on July 5, 1983, as ambassador in charge of promoting Central America policy with the U.S. public. He reported directly to Secretary of State George Shultz and had the "personal rank" of ambassador but was not subject to Senate confirmation. He left that job in 1986.

He was one of the prime movers in the Venezuelan release of Orlando Bosch in August 1987 (Bosch was being detained for his role in the bombing of the Cuban airliner in 1976 that killed 73 people).

Jane Franklin
Author of Cuba and the United States: A Chronological History

Background On Otto Juan Reich, 2/01

The Bush administration is considering appointing Otto J. Reich as the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter American Affairs. The Cuba research & Analysis Group - which produces Cuba-L, has prepared the following document with information on Mr. Reich. It has been noted that Florida Governor Jeb Bush is one of the Strongest advocates of Mr. Reich. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Background On Otto Juan Reich
Cuba Research & Analysis Group, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Otto Juan Reich, born October 16, 1945 in Havana, Cuba

He studied at the US Ruston Academy in Havana, the institution that initiated the CIA's operation Peter Pan in the fall of 1960.

1960 left Cuba

1966 naturalized citizen

1966 B.A. in International Studies from the University of North Carolina, developed ties with Jesse Helms then.

1967 to 1969 first lieutenant U.S. Army stationed in the Panama Canal Zone

1970 - 1971 he was staff assistant to conservative Democrat (Missouri) Congressman W. R. Hull, Jr., of the United States House of Representatives.

1971-72 research fellow, Center for Strategic and International Studies

1972-73 vice president for international development, Cormorant Enterprises, Miami

1973 M.A. in Latin American studies from Georgetown University

1973-1975 international representative, Florida Department of Commerce in Coral Gables.

1975-1976 community development coordinator, city of Miami, Fla.

1976-1981 head of the Washington office of the Council of the Americas before joining the administration in 1981. The council is an organization of American companies with interests in Latin America.

September 1981 special assistant to the Administrator, Agency for International Development.

December 15, 1981- 1983 Assistant Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development

July 1983-September 85 Special adviser to the Secretary of State in charge of Public Diplomacy efforts in Latin America and the Caribbean-coordinate foreign and domestic public policy efforts related to Latin America in general and Central America in particular. Worked with Oliver North.

November 1983 accorded the title of Ambassador while in charge of Public Diplomacy.

[August 1985 Luis Posada Carriles escapes from Venezuelan prison.]

September 1985 - 1987 U.S. ambassador to Venezuela

[1987 General Accounting Office, found that proper procedures were not followed in the 1984-1986 contracts awarded to a public relations firm involved in the Iran-Contra affair and to other contractors for research and reports, the sources said. The State Department's Office of Latin American Public Diplomacy awarded at least $419,000 worth of contracts to International Business Communications, a public relations firm which worked closely with fired White House aide Lt. Col. Oliver North on private efforts to help the Contra rebels in Nicaragua. IBC's president, Richard Miller, is one of two people who has pleaded guilty in the Iran-Contra case to conspiracy to defraud the government by illegally using a tax-exempt foundation to raise money for Contra weapons. Otto Reich, who headed the Public Diplomacy office when the IBC contracts were awarded, said that despite the finding of procedural violations, the State Department's internal report "clears the department" of allegations that government funds were spent illegally to lobby Congress through IBC. Separate from the IBC contracts, the General Accounting Office, the congressional watchdog agency, investigated some 25 contracts the Latin American Public Diplomacy office awarded to individuals for research and papers on Central America, said a GAO official involved in the investigation. AP, July 21, 1987]

1989-present Senior Associate of the Americas Program of the right-wing Center for Strategic and International Studies

1990 to 1996, director of the Brock Group-International Trade & Investment Consulting Firm.

[It should be noted that the Brock Group has as its founder William Brock, founder and chairman of the Brock Group, who was secretary of labor (1985-1987), United States Trade Representative (1981-1985), chairman of the Republican National Committee (1977-80), United States senator for Tennessee (1971-76), and congressman for the third district of Tennessee (1963-1970). He was vice president of the Brock Candy Company for five years after serving as a lieutenant junior grade in the United States Navy. He was one of the four founders of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Mr. Brock is a senior counselor and trustee of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Thus, Reich has followed on the steps of his private boss.

1991-1992, Deputy U.S. representative to the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva.

1994 to the present lobbied on RMA (Resource Management Account) International Bacardi Martini Inc Copyright/Patent/Trademark Trade (Domestic/Foreign) and for the British American Tobacco-Latin Amer/Crbn Trade (Domestic/Foreign. Bacardi Corporation retained Mr. Reich for $215,000 in 1997 and $200,000 in 1998. [This data was compiled using 1998 lobby disclosure reports and amendments filed under the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995.]

President of RMA International, a Washington-based international business consultancy and lobbying firm.

1995-2000 president, U.S.-Cuba Business Council

1998- Republican party political analyst

Throughout the 1990s he has appeared on a monthly basis, with different titles, in Univision and Televisa. He is also one of the main "debaters" at Choque de Opiniones of the Spanish version of CNN.

He is a member of the board of trustees of Freedom House. This organization has been used by the Democrats and Republicans to provide funding for counterrevolutionaries in Cuba.

Member of the Global Policy Council

(This material on Mr. Reich was produced by the Cuba Research & Analysis Group, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Do not quote without mentioning the source).

Resources on Cuban Exiles and Coca Contra

Luis Posada Carriles and the Cuban American National Foundation: Coca Contra lives on

Miami FBI Office: terrorism, drugs, and politics, 3/00

The Elian Page: the background in Miami, '00

Felix Rodriguez: Coca Contra Airport Manager: Che's Miami CIA killer in his role as CocaContra guru.

The Cuban American National Foundation (CANF)

Luis Posada's arrest in Panama: CANF supported terrorism, 11/00

The long hand of the Cuban American National Foundation in and around the Elian Case "La mas fea no perdona..." - compendium of resources up to 4/00

CANF supports end of Affirmative Action in Florida, 4/00

Miami FBI: terrorism, drugs, and politics, 3/00

The CANF, drugs, and the October 1997 plot to kill Castro, 1/99

Congressman Rangel calls for CANF investigation, 7/98

"The Family That Preys Together" -- on the Bushes and their ties to Cuban American criminals. Covert Action, Summer '92


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