In June of 1976 a group of terrorists of Cuban origin, representatives of extremist organizations based in the United States, met in Bonao, the Dominican Republic.
The encounter was headed by the criminal Orlando Bosch Ávila, at that time a fugitive from U.S. justice, wanted for parole violation after being convicted of various crimes, including using terrorist tactics to extort Cuban émigrés.
The meeting was called to organize future attacks on Cuban entities, staff, and interests of countries which, despite pressure from the U.S., continued to maintain relations with the Cuban government.
Two meetings were held, the first to found the terrorist alliance known as the Coordination of United Revolutionary Organizations (COR), and the second to plan more than 20 terrorist attacks.
All those present agreed to participate, except members of the fascist Cuban Nationalist Movement (MNC), who claimed they were already planning another attack organized by Chile’s National Intelligence Bureau (DINA), later revealed to be none other than the assassination of former Chilean Ambassador in Washington, Orlando Letelier del Solar, on September 21, 1976.
In his ruling regarding Orlando Bosch-Avila’s application for admission to the United States, dated January 23, 1989, Associate Attorney General Joe D. Whitley noted that: “Bosch, while outside the United States, founded and let Coordinacion de Organizaciones Revolucionarias Unidas (CORU), an anti-Castro terrorist organization which has claimed responsibility for numerous bombings in Miami, New York, Venezuela, Panama, Mexico, Argentina, and elsewhere. (1)
“In October, 1976, Bosch was arrested in Venezuela in connection with the October 6, 1976 in-flight bombing of a civilian Cuban airliner, which resulted in the deaths of 73 men, women, and children. Though detained in Venezuela for eleven years on charges arising from this incident, he was finally acquitted. At his trial, evidence was presented that the two men convicted of homicide in connection with the bombing were in contact with Bosch both before and after the bombing.”
Whitley went on to state, “Upon release from criminal incarceration on May 17, 1988, Bosch was taken into custody by the INS (Immigration Service). At that time, the INS District Director in Miami served Bosch with a notice of temporary exclusion, alleging that he was excludable from the United States because:There is reason to believe he would seek to enter the United States solely, principally, or incidentally to engage in activities prejudicial to the public interest.
What is more the ruling also notes “That he is or has been an alien who advocates or teaches or has been a member of an organization that advocates or teaches the duty, necessity, or propriety of assaulting or killing officers of any organized government…the unlawful damage, injury or destruction of property… and advocates or teaches sabotage.
“That there are reasonable grounds to believe that he probably would, after entry, engage in activities which would be prohibited by the laws of the United States relating to espionage, sabotage, public disorder, or in other activity subversive to the national interest,” going on to note that “Bosch also is excludable on the grounds that he has been convicted of a crime of moral turpitude.”
So, what happened next? Going against the Department of Justice and the Attorney General’s ruling the criminal was pardoned by then President George H. W. Bush who, it is important to note, was also director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) when the Cubana de Aviación plane was blown-up mid-flight on October 6, 1976. (2)
After years of investigations, Cuban-born international terrorist Pablo Gustavo Castillo Díaz (3), known as “El Cojo,” was revealed to be one of the material authors of the murder of Cuban technician Artaigñán Díaz Díaz, in July 1976, in Mexico.
Castillo then escaped to Venezuela, where he studied Cubana de Aviación’s flight routes across the Caribbean and chose the aircraft that would later be bombed.
It has also been proven that Orlando Bosch and Castillo were together when the former was arrested on October 11, 1976, in Caracas. Castillo was responsible for making the bombs - that would later be placed in the Cuban plane by Venezuelan mercenaries Freddy Lugo and Hernán Ricardo Lozano - using explosives and detonators supplied by an explosives expert from Venezuela’s national intelligence service at that time, DISIP, in exchange for a parachute which belonged to anti-Cuban terrorist Rolando Otero Hernández, who called himself “Cóndor” and worked for Luis Posada Carriles during Operation Condor, led by Chile’s National Intelligence Bureau.
Meanwhile, the complicity of the CIA, ever-present when it comes to assassination conspiracies or attacks, is exposed in its very own documents, which prove that it had prior knowledge of plans to blow-up the Cuban plane, but did nothing to prevent it, failing even to issue a simple and timely warning to Cuban authorities.
A declassified CIA report dated October 14, 1976, identified the informant –Posada - to be "a former Venezuelan government official" who "is usually a reliable reporter.”
The cable also notes that Bosch was overheard stating: "Now that our organization has come out of the Letelier job looking good, we are going to try something else." Several days later Posada was reported to have stated, We are going to hit a Cuban airplane" and "Orlando has the details."
After the bombing, Luis Posada Carriles thought it wise Orlando Bosch leave Venezuela, crossing over into Colombia on October 9.
More proof that the CIA also had prior knowledge of plans to bomb Cuban aircraft, is found in a secret report involving “sensitive intelligence sources and methods…not releasable to foreign nations,” or “contractors or contractor consultants” dated and issued June 22, 1976, which quotes an informant, a “Businessman with close ties to the Cuban exile community” and “a usually reliable" source, reported, “A Cuban exile group of which Orlando Bosch is a leader, plans to place a bomb on Cubana airline flight traveling between Panama and Havana. Original plans for this operation called for two bombs being placed on the June 21, 1976 Cubana flight number 467, which was scheduled to leave Panama at 11:15am local Panama time.” (4)
Copies of the report were sent to the U.S. State Department, Military Intelligence Corps, Army, Navy, Air Force, FBI and CIA. This information however - which was not only known to the CIA four months prior to the October 6 attack which cost 73 people their lives, including 57 Cubans; but also detailed plans of the attack and identified the criminal Orlando Bosch as the author of the crime, was never sent to the Cuban government.
Everyone knows that sooner or later the truth comes out. New information continues to come to light regarding this horrendous crime, which occurred 41 years ago this 2017, while the authors of the attack live out their lives in the United States, free and under the protection of the country’s government. •
* Investigator at the State Security Historic Search Center
(1) File no. A28 851 622 of the Office of the Associate Attorney General
(2) The criminal Orlando Bosch Ávila died in the U.S. city of Miami without having ever been tried for his involvement in the terrorist attack.
(3) The terrorist was never punished for his crimes and died in Miami.
(4) For more information about the plan see the author’s book Cielo Amenazado.