On April 30, 2020 Alexander Alazo fired 32 rounds from an AK-47 assault-rifle through the gates and onto the grounds of the Embassy of Cuba to the United States in Washington, DC. Alazo was arrested at the scene in what police initially characterized as a “hate crime.” Three years later, there has been no trial, and the assault has not been characterized as a terrorist attack.
On Sunday, September 24, 2023 two “Molotov cocktails” were thrown over the fence at the same Cuban Embassy. Two months later, no arrests or charges have been made.
Counterrevolutionary elements within the Cuban American community have a rich history of violent assault, murder, and terrorism — by any criteria — against Cuban diplomats and properties in the United States as well as against opponents, especially Cuban American opponents, of the bipartisan US anti-Cuba policy. This history — over 60+ years — includes deep connections, training, resourcing, and financing by US government agencies.
This Fact Sheet focuses on the terrorist attacks by counter-revolutionary Cuban American organizations in the United States and worldwide in the opening decades of the Cuban Revolution through 1994. These were a complement to massive, violent campaigns inside Cuba that were under the direction and control of bipartisan Washington and its intelligence and other agencies.
As Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez stated before the United Nations General Assembly in 2021, “Cuba has been the victim of terrorist actions organized, financed, and executed by the US government or from US territory, which has cost the lives of 3,478 Cubans and disabilities to 2,099.”
The Cuban American community contains polarized and contentious views regarding US-Cuba relations, including strong support for normalization and an end to US punitive sanctions. There is also a thuggish minority that is violently opposed to US-Cuba normalization and has a history of intimidation, violence, and terrorism against its opponents, with special targeting of Cuban American organizations, businesses, and individuals in favor of normalization.
Prominent Cuban American figures like Democratic Senator Robert Menendez (NJ) – now in disgrace again for corruption -- and Republican Senator Marco Rubio (FL) and other lesser Cuban American elected officials are covers for a bipartisan policy spanning decades that aims to promote “regime change” in Cuba and the defeat – once and for all -- of the Cuban Revolution.
These Cuban American forces are NOT the horse drawing the cart in the formation and implementation of US policy. They are rather the most visible supporters and allies of that bipartisan – if often fractious -- Washington policy. And this policy is certainly under growing hemispheric and international pressure as shown again in the November 2, 2023 United Nations General Assembly vote of 187-2-1 against the US blockade, again overwhelmingly for the 31st time since 1992.
It is useful to recall this sordid and bloody history as the fight to end the ongoing US economic and political war against Cuba deepens in the 2020s decade -- and a new generation of Cuba solidarity and anti-blockade activists champions this international cause.
The New York-New Jersey Cuba Si Coalition has produced this Fact Sheet to give moral and political ammunition to all the organizations that are fighting to remove Cuba from the egregious State Sponsors of Terrorism (SSOT) list. Cuba’s inclusion is an obscenity, a spurious charge with no evidence whatsoever. In reality it is a key US economic and political tool aimed at the extraterritorial disruption and sabotage of normal economic exchange and trade between Cuba and the world.
Removing Cuba from the SSOT list is today at the cutting edge of the fight to defeat the entire anti-Cuba bipartisan US policy.
As we enter 2024 – a Presidential and Congressional election year in the US – we are seeing the accumulated economic and commercial damage of the US blockade. There has been bipartisan continuity carrying on the anti-Cuba asphyxiation policy between the Donald Trump and Joseph Biden Administrations — even during the worst period of COVID-19. Among the consequences of this brutal US policy is the over 400,000 Cuban citizens migrating out of Cuba.
While the bipartisan US policy under President Biden and Secretary of State Blinken has never been more isolated and hated on the hemispheric and international stage, the US-directed brutal economic war – necessarily accompanied by lies, sophistry, and half-truths – continues with mounting and accumulating devastation for Cuban working people, professionals, the vast tourism industry, and small business owners.
Ike Nahem -- Organizer, New York-New Jersey Cuba Si Coalition, US-Cuba Normalization Conference Coalition, Retired Teamster, December 1, 2023
YEAR 1961 1962 1964 1968 1970
During the spring of 1970, counterrevolutionary Cuban terrorists carried out a series of armed arson attacks in Los Angeles against the Haymarket, a radical meeting place and bookstore; the offices of the Socialist Workers Party 1970 California election campaign; and the Ashgrove, a coffee house that often made its facilities available to radical causes. 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 Much of the documentation in this Fact Sheet comes from the essential book Cuba and the U.S. Empire: A Chronological History (Monthly Review Press, NYC) by our dear sister Jane Franklin (1934-2023).
April 13 – placing bombs in stockroom dolls, CIA operatives destroy the Havana Department Store El Encanto, killing one in a series of bombings in the days leading up to the CIA-organized mercenary invasion at the Bay of Pig/Playa Giron
April 28 –Armed Cuban exiles attack the NYC offices of Prensa Latina, the Cuban News Agency, injuring three workers.
December 11 – The Cuban Nationalist Association (CNA) fires a bazooka shell from Long Island City, Queens across the East River towards the United Nations complex in Manhattan at the moment Cuban revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara was addressing the United Nations General Assembly. Three people were quickly arrested with charges later dismissed.
May 30 and subsequent weeks – A timebomb explodes outside the studios of WNET-TV in Manhattan NYC. The terrorists claim the TV’s coverage is not anti-Castro enough. A wave of bombings followed in the next weeks, detonated at the consulates or tourist offices of Australia, Canada, France, Japan, Mexico, Spain, and Yugoslavia.
July 23 – The publisher Grove Press, which published writings and speeches of Malcolm X, Fidel Castro, and Ernesto Che Guevara, is firebombed, along with Evergreen Magazine, and the Communist Party-affiliated Jefferson Book Shop in NYC
September 16 – Cuban exiles, including later-convicted Orlando Bosch, fire a bazooka shell at a Polish freighter docked at the Port of Miami
March 30 – A bombing of the United States Cuban Health Exchange at 41 Union Square in NYC occurred shortly after 11 A.M. A few minutes earlier an unidentified man called police headquarters and warned that a bomb would go off. The bomb blew out windows in the small, one room office on the sixth floor with fire damage. No one was in the office at the time of the blast. The Health Exchange steering committee issued a statement deploring the “ruthless attempt at intimidation obviously intended to prevent any humanitarian contact with Cuba for medical and scientific purposes.” The committee said the group had been set up by physicians, scientists, and health workers to “encourage the free interchange of medical and scientific personnel and materials.” Health Exchange steering committee members received letters signed by the “Cuban Secret Army” which saying “next we will start bombing buildings and start hurting people.”
(Health Exchange leader Margaret (Peggy) Gilpin remains today a staunch, active supporter of anti-blockade and Cuba solidarity work.)
April 4 – Cuban official Sergio Perez de Castillo is killed from a dynamite explosion at the Office of Cuban Commerce in Montreal, Quebec, Canada
December -- The Cuban Secret Government (CSG) bombs a travel agency in Queens and businesses in Miami, Montreal, and New York handling packages to Cuba
March 28 – A powerful bomb explodes at the Center for Cuban Studies in NYC before a pro-Cuban Revolution Exhibition ExpoCuba. Center founder Sandra Levinson was inside but uninjured (The Center for Cuban Studies/Cuban Art Space remains open and Sandra Levinson continues her life work for US-Cuba normalization and an end to the blockade.)
July 24 – The CSG bombed the headquarters of the Local 1199 Drug and Hospital Workers Union.
(now 1199SEIU United Health Care Workers East and still a stalwart force for US-Cuba normalization)
January 20 – Cuban Embassy in Mexico City is considerably damaged by powerful explosion
February 4 – Cuban Embassy official in Lima, Peru suffers serious burns from a letter bomb
April 9 – The Cuban Embassy in Madrid, Spain is destroyed by a powerful bomb
May 4 – A bomb explodes at the Cuban Embassy in London, UK
May 14 – two bombs cause major damage at Cuban Consulate in Merida, Mexico
July 3 – A bomb exploded at the entrance to the Cuban Embassy in Paris, France
September 11 – Omega 7 set up by Eduardo Arocena to carry out terrorists actions against Cuba
October 17 – bomb attributed to Bay of Pigs mercenary Rolando Otero explodes at Miami International Airport
December 29 – bomb attributed to Bay of Pigs mercenary Rolando Otero explodes at LaGuardia Airport in NYC
April 22 – Two Cuban diplomats, Efren Monteagudo Rodriguez and Adriana Corcho, die from wounds from a bomb explosion at the Cuban Embassy in Lisbon, Portugal
April 30 – Emilio Milian, a Cuban-American radio commentator who hasn spoken out against right-wing exile terrorism loses both legs when a bomb explodes in his car
June – CIA operative Orlando Bosch founds and leads the Coordination of United Revolutionary Organizations (CORU) as an umbrella organization for organizing terrorist acts against Cuba and targets worldwide deemed friendly to Cuba
June 6 – Omega 7 bomb explodes outside the Cuban Mission to the UN
July 1 – CORU operative and CIA retainer Luis Posada Carilles plants a bomb at Costa Rica-Cuba cultural center in San Jose, Costa Rica
July 9 – CORU bomb explodes in baggage for Cubana flight in Kingston, Jamaica
July 10 – CORU bomb explodes in Cubana Airline’s office in Barbados
August 18 – CORU bombs Cubana Airline’s office in Panama
September 21 – Orlando Letelier, an official in the overthrown Popular Unity government of Salvador Allende in Chile, and his co-worker Ronnie Karpen Moffitt at the Washington, DC offices of the Institute for Policy Studies, are both murdered by a car bomb in the streets of DC. Omega 7 and CORU operatives were recruited by the Pinochet regime to carry out the assassination.
October 6 – A bomb was – after several failed attempts in other airports – smuggled onboard Cubana Flight 455 departing from Barbados. It explodes killing all 73 passengers aboard, including 57 Cubans and the member of Cuba’s Olympic fencing team.
November 7 – Cubana Airlines offices in Madrid, Spain is bombed
October 5 – Omega 7 operatives explode a bomb at Madison Square Garden in NYC to protest the participation of boxers from Cuba in fights.
October 21 – Omega 7 operatives explode a bomb at the Spanish-language daily El Diario-La Prensa in NYC, following up on death threats against a Cuban American reporter investigating Omega 7 activities.
December 20 – Omega 7 takes credit for explosions in Elizabeth and Jersey City, New Jersey at the offices of Almacen el Espanol that sends food and clothing donations to Cuba
December 26 – Omega 7 operatives explode a bomb at the Venezuelan UN Mission in NYC protesting the imprisonment of Orlando Bosch for the Cubana 455 bombing
December 29 – Omega 7 claims responsibility for two bomb explosions: 1) at the Cuban Mission to the United Nations and 2) at the Lincoln Center in NYC forcing the cancellation of performances by the Cuban musical group Orquesta Aragon
March 25 – Omega 7 claims responsibility for 3 bomb explosions: 1) at JFK airport in NYC in a suitcase about to be loaded on a flight, injuring four workers; 2) at the offices – for the second time – of Almacen el Espanol; and 3) in Weehawken, New Jersey at a Cuban-American community organization run by the later assassinated Eulalio Jose Negrin, a member of the “Committee of 75” who favored US-Cuba normalization.
April 28 – Antonio Maceo Brigade leader and activist for US-Cuba normalization Carlos Muniz Varela is assassinated in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
May 18 – Extensive damage at the then-Cuban Interests Section (now Cuban Embassy) in Washington, DC from a bombing by Omega 7 operatives
November 25 – Omega 7 claims responsibility for the assassination of Eulalio Jose Negrin, gunned down in front of his young son in Union City, New Jersey
October 27 – Three people injured from an Omega 7 bomb at the Cuban Mission to the UN
December 3 – Charter service between Havana and New York is cancelled after one flight following bomb threats
December 7 – Two US police officers are injured from an Omega 7 bomb at the Cuban Mission to the UN
March 25 – Cuban Ambassador to the UN Raul Roa Kouri avoids certain assassination in NYC as Cuban Mission workers find an explosive devise under his car.
October 21 – As the US covert “contra war” heats up against the 1979 Nicaraguan-Sandinista Revolution, two Cuban teachers, Pedro Pablo Rivera Cue and Barbaro Rodriguez are murdered along with two of the Nicaraguan peasant students in the remote Nicaraguan countryside.
December 4 – Another Cuban teacher, Aguedo Morales Reina, is assassinated in Nicaragua
September 11-12 – Omega 7 bombs destroy the Mexican Consulate in Miami and damage the Mexican Consulate in NYC
September 2 – Omega 7 announces its responsibility for bombing the Venezuelan Consulate in Miami to protest the incarceration of Orlando Bosch for the Cubana 455 mass murder.
December 28 – Omega 7 leader Eduardo Arocena indicted for attempted assassination of Ambassador Raul Roa and 14 bombings in Miami and NYC. The FBI now labels the group as “international terrorist” and financed by drug traffickers for services rendered.
September 4 – At the trial of Omega 7 operative Arocena, his former fellow terrorist Gerardo Necuze, testifies that the organization were “enforcers” for drug dealers.
September 10 – Arocena himself is his only defense witness. He testifies as to his “American agency” training and financing in his counter-revolutionary efforts. Most explosively, and this has been further corroborated, Arocena testified that he carried “some germs” into Cuba that led to an outbreak of dengue fever in Cuba that affected some 350,000 people with 158 deaths.
September 24 – Arocena is convicted of 25 of the 26 charges against him and later sentenced to “life plus 35 years” (He was released June 25, 2021)
August 22 – Luis Posada Carriles “escapes” through the front door at a “maximum security” Venezuelan prison after substantial bribes are paid
August 7 – Orlando Bosch is “acquitted” in a rigged Venezuelan military court. US Ambassador to Venezuela Otto Reich applies pressure on Venezuelan government
May 3 – A pipe bomb shatters the front door of the Cuban Museum of Arts and Culture in Miami, which displays art by artists who live and work in Cuba May 26 – A bomb explodes in Coral Gables, Florida at the home of Miami-Dade Community College Professor Maria Cristina Herrera and head of Institute of Cuban Studies on the same day as a scheduled conference on US-Cuba relations.
February 16 – Bosch arrives in Miami and is taken into custody for his parole violation
June 23 – The US Justice Department rules that Orlando Bosch should be deported. The recommendation comes with voluminous documentation of Bosch’s terrorist crimes
April 13 – One week after large protests in solidarity with Cuba by the NYC “Hands Off Cuba” Coalition, NYC cops shut down the offices of the pro-Revolution Cuban-American group Casa de las Americas, a Coalition leader, on bogus charges of building code violations
June 14 – Another bomb explodes at the Cuban Museum of Arts and Culture in Miami
July 9 – The US Justice Department reverses itself, frees Orlando Bosch and annuls his deportation order
December 29 – Three members of the US-based Comandos L, which since 1962 has carried out dozens of raids and attacks in Cuba are captured in Matanzas Province, Cuba
October 7 – From a speedboat offshore fires shots at the popular resort Melia Hotel in Varadero Beach, targeting Cuba’s expanding tourist industry as the severe economic consequences for Cuba kick in and deepen from the rapid political collapse of Cuba’s extensive economic exchange with the former Soviet Union (and the Eastern European states allied to the USSR).
June 11 – The Miami City Commission unanimously votes to evict Cuban Museum of Arts and Culture from its premises.
January 6 – A Miami-based Federal Judge, James King, dismisses felony charges against Tony Bryant, top leader of Comandos L
January 7 – Bryant announces at a Press Conference more raids are planned and, warning tourist to stay away, says, “From this point on we’re at war, The Neutrality Act doesn’t exist.”
May 20 – Nine members of the notorious terrorist outfit Alpha 66 are arrested after US Customs agents board their speedboat and find it full of weapons.
August 24 – The same Federal Judge King in Miami dismisses the weapons charges against six of the nine.
August 25 – A jury finds the remaining three Alpha 66 terrorists not guilty of the weapons charges.
May 10 – Alpha 66 members announce the formation of Comandos F4 to pursue a more aggressive, violent course of action inside Cuba.
September 4 – Molotov cocktails are thrown at the offices of Replica magazine – the latest of numerous bombings since 1974 – whose editor Max Lesnick is a leading voice for US-Cuba normalization and an end to the US blockade.
(Max Lesnick remains at age 93 an activist for US-Cuba normalization in Miami.)
1970 During the spring of 1970, counterrevolutionary Cuban terrorists carried out a series of armed arson attacks in Los Angeles against the Haymarket, a radical meeting place and bookstore; the offices of the Socialist Workers Party 1970 California election campaign; and the Ashgrove, a coffee house that often made its facilities available to radical causes.
Much of the documentation in this Fact Sheet comes from the essential book Cuba and the U.S. Empire: A Chronological History (Monthly Review Press, NYC) by our dear sister Jane Franklin (1934-2023).
The Ash Grove and the Gusanos (1968-73)
Beginning in 1968 a group of anti-Castro Cubans, embittered sur- . vivors of Kennedy's Bay of Pigs fiasco, declared war on anyone and anything in Los Angeles that they deemed friendly to the regime in Havana. Apart from the violent labor war that led to the blowing up of the Times Building in 1910, their three-year campaign of, bombings and arson retains its title a half century later as the greatest wave of terrorism in California history.
The gusanos ("worms," in pro-Castro terminology) launched their attacks in spectacular fashion. More than a dozen sites in L.A. were bombed, including five during a single three-hour period on July 19, 1968. At first the targets were mainstream corporations with ties to tourist travel to Cuba: Air France, Japan Airlines, the offices of the Mexican National Tourist Council, and-for some reason-the Shell Data Processing Center.1 Less than two weeks later, they bombed the British consulate-and left their· name, "Unete Poder Cubano" (United Cuban Power).
The explosives. used in the attacks, the FBI told a grand jury, originally came from the CIA. Two bombers were later convicted and sentenced to prison terms; one said he had been trained by the CIA to use those explosives when he was part of a group preparing for the Bay of Pigs invasion. 2 In the fall the right-wing terrorists turned their attention to the Left, bombing the offices of the Free Press and the Socialist Workers Party -later returning to bomb the SWP headquarters in Boyle Heights a second time.
As during the summer attacks, "bombers of the SWP left a calling card above the rubble," the Berkeley Barb reported: "a sticker 492 REIGNS OF REPRESSION bearing the words 'United Cuban Power."' There were also dozens of bombings in New York and Miami claimed by the same group, events that propelled the FBI into action. Soon they had arrested and· charged a score of suspects, including the two implicated in the nine LA bombings, and it appeared that the case was closed.3 But then, on April 14 and 15, 1970, the Cubans launched a second wave of attacks.
The first target was the Haymarket, a nonsectarian movement center near MacArthur Park that housed a bookstore and coffee shop, a large meeting room, a printshop, and living quarters for three staff, plus offices of the National Lawyers Guild and the Cor,nmittee on Latin American Solidarity. Marilyn Katz, newly arrived in L.A. from Chicago, remembers it as "a center of activity for all. Here Bob Duggan and I taught martial arts, others taught dance, while it served as a center for political meetings, cultural events and more. Here I found a welcoming ready-made family-an extended left that had built a real counter-culture in the middle of America's dream world film culture."4 The Haymarket had scheduled a showing of the pro-Castro doc ;umentary Fidel.
Fully aware that it might invite some sort of attack, some of the staff had armed themselves and took turns on a night watch. Fortunately, wheri nine armed men stormed into the building, the volunteer on the roof laid down his shotgun and surrendered. The attackers ordered the twenty people inside to lie facedown on the floor, sprayed a caustic substance (most likely oven cleaner) in the faces of those who hesitated, and then set the building on fire.
All of the Haymarket people escaped, and although many required first aid, no one appeared to have any serious injury. Weeks later, however, a LACC student who had inhaled the full blast of the spray developed pneumonia and eventually died. The LAPD made no attempt to pursue this as a manslaughter case. Meanwhile, insurance adjusters _ told the landlord that the building was a total loss. The staff issued a defiant statement: "This attack was meant to teach us a 'lesson,' but the only lesson we have learned is that we must work even harder to defeat racism and repression."5 Within months, their ranks bolstered by new supporters, they opened an even larger center--the Long March near the old location, in an old union headquarters.
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