The Bush-Florida-Cuba connection
By Larry Chin
December 27, 2000 | 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.
1953. CIA operative George Herbert Walker Bush founds Zapata Petroleum in Texas. Its subsidiary, Zapata Offshore is used as a CIA front. Initiating his career-long foray into Latin American shadow politics, Bush establishes ties with CIA operative and narco-trafficker Manuel Noriega of Panama (later its dictator).
1960–1961. Bay of Pigs. Bush and fellow CIA operative Felix Rodriguez organize and train Cuban exiles in Florida and across the Gulf region for an invasion of Cuba, and the assassination of Fidel Castro, with assistance from elements of the Mafia (based in Florida). President John F. Kennedy pulls the plug on the operation, infuriating the Cubans, the CIA, the mob, and Bush.
1963. JFK is assassinated in Dallas. The involvement of Cubans, CIA operatives in Florida (Felix Rodriguez), and the questionable activities of Bush, Richard Nixon, Texas oil moguls and Texas politicians during the period, are detailed by numerous assassination researchers. J. Edgar Hoover interviews a "George Bush of the CIA" regarding "anti-Castro exile reaction" to the murder.
1968–1973. With Richard Nixon in the White House, Antonin Scalia in charge of the White House communications office, and George H.W. Bush heading the Republican National Committee, the Republicans maintain close ties to right-wing Florida Cubans. Bebe Rebozo, a prominent Florida Cuban with intelligence ties, is a close friend of Nixon. In 1971, journalist Ken Collier calls on Nixon to investigate 1970 Florida election fraud by Republicans. Scalia persuades Nixon to remain silent, Collier alleges.
1973. The Watergate Break-In is conducted by anti-Castro Cubans and CIA agents tied to the Bay of Pigs: Rodriguez, Bernard Barker (former Cuban secret police), Frank Sturgis, E. Howard Hunt, and Eugenio Rolando Martinez. Nixon tapes reveal that the objective is to hide evidence regarding "Dallas" and "the Bay of Pigs thing." Bush assists Nixon in the coverup, and the stonewalling of the Congress.
* 1976. CIA Director George H.W. Bush stonewalls Congress regarding the aerial bombing of a Cubana Airline jet and a car bomb slaying of a Chilean diplomat. Anti-Castro Cubans are arrested, including Luis Carriles. Carriles' immediate superior is Felix Rodriguez (who boasts to have assassinated Che Guevara).
During the Bush CIA years, the loyal Rodriguez is involved with the Phoenix program, Air America, and heroin smuggling in Southeast Asia.
1982–1986. Iran-Contra. With Vice President Bush "in the loop" with CIA Director William Casey and other members of the Reagan "firewall," Felix Rodriguez coordinates the contra resupply program in El Salvador under Oliver North. In Senate testimony, Rodriguez alleges to have passed ten million dollars to the contras from the Colombian Medellin cocaine cartel. In Florida, Jeb Bush (the head of the Dade County Republican Party) operates as the Republican administration's unofficial link with Cubans, the contras and Nicaraguan exiles in Miami. During this period, Jeb aligns with Leonel Martinez, a Miami-based right-wing Cuban-American drug trafficker associated with contra dissident Eden Pastora. Jeb forges business ties with contra supporter Miguel Recarey, a right-wing Cuban, and major contributor to PACs controlled by then-Vice President Bush.
Florida-based drug-running fronts funnel US government funds as humanitarian aid to the contras. Senator John Kerry investigates Miami-based Ocean Hunter, one of many Florida-based drug-running fronts, and discovers $200,000 channeled south.
1986. Reagan appoints Antonin Scalia to the Supreme Court. At his confirmation hearing, Ken and James Collier accuse Scalia of sandbagging their lawsuits against the Republican National Committee for election fraud in Florida.
1988–1992. With George H.W. Bush as president, the US invades Panama, toppling former CIA ally, contra compatriot and narco trafficker Manuel Noriega. Cuban operatives assist. As a link to that powerful and wealthy South Florida community, Jeb remains a tireless supporter of reactionary Cuban-American political causes, such as the freeing of right-wing terrorist Orlando Bosch. Bosch is responsible for more than 50 anti-Castro bombings in Cuba and elsewhere in the Western Hemisphere. Jeb is also a supporter of CANF projects like Radio and TV Marti (propaganda broadcasts into Cuba, in violation of telecommunications laws).
Jeb Bush is also involved with Florida-based BCCI banks and money laundering operations. The Miami US Attorney is rebuffed by the Justice Department in his efforts to indict BCCI and some of its principal officers on tax fraud charges.
1994. After benefiting financially and politically from oil, money and CIA ties to his father and brother, George W. Bush becomes governor of Texas.
1998. Jeb Bush becomes governor of Florida with strong backing from long-time friends in the Cuban community. Jorge Mas Canosa, president of the ultra-right wing Cuban American National Federation (CANF) succinctly describes Jeb's role throughout the 1980s and 1990s: "He is one of us."
The Elian Gonzalez affair ignites Florida, setting off partisan conflict (and violence). Anti-Castro Cubans are incensed at the Clinton/Gore administration.
2000. Jeb Bush "promises to deliver Florida" to his brother, presidential candidate George W. Bush. Florida is delivered, and the election sealed with help from Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. With the Southern Hemisphere foreign policy agenda (ranging from the American involvement in Colombia to the future of Cuba) about to be handed to a right-wing George W. Bush administration, the Bush-Florida-Cuba connection will continue to be a play an active and dangerous role.
After the election, Fidel Castro mocked the incoming president as "the little idiot son of the former CIA director friend of mafia worms." The gauntlet has been thrown.
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