Monday, November 27, 2006

The Herald needs to clean up its own house

So says Indiana University professor Antonio de la Cova.

The Herald's investigative reporting has always focused on Cuban exile activities and never on Cuban Communist espionage in the United States, especially when it appears to be infiltrated in their newsroom.
Those were de la Cova's words to Herald Watch in an email this evening. Last night de la Cova sent the email below to Miami Herald publisher David Landsberg, in it de la Cova names names and backs it up with what he claims is a transcript of an FBI debriefing of a former Cuban DGI agent.
From: de la Cova, Antonio Rafael
Subject: FBI debriefing of Cuban DGI officer Jesús Raúl Pérez Méndez
Date: November 27, 2006 12:24:49 AM EST
1 Attachment, 23.9 KB

Mr. David Landsberg, Publisher
The Miami Herald

Dear Mr. Landsberg: Attached you will find a bilingual copy of an FBI debriefing report of Jesús Raúl Pérez Méndez, taken when he defected in Miami on July 13, 1983. Pérez Méndez at the time was chief of the Department of the Community Abroad of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP) and was also a captain in the Cuban Directorate General of Intelligence (DGI).

In 1987, when I was the editor of Crónica Gráfica magazine in San Juan, Puerto Rico, I was shown a copy of the original document, typed on a sheet emblazoned with the FBI logo and routing markers, by an intelligence officer of the Police of Puerto Rico. The policeman was part of a Task Force on Terrorism between his agency and the FBI investigating the Cuban connection in Puerto Rican terrorism. I was not allowed to photocopy the original document, but was permited to transcribe it as it appears attached here. I have made no omissions or additions to the original draft as it was shown to me. The police intelligence officer wanted my opinion regarding the authenticity of the statements made by Pérez Méndez, since our magazine had published various articles on Cuban espionage and subversion in the United States and Puerto Rico. One of the Castro agents mentioned in the debriefing, Raúl Alzaga Manresa, resided in Puerto Rico.

According to a recent statement by retired DEA agent Juan Pérez, who lives in Miami, Pérez Méndez was supposed to defect to the DEA and the CIA in New York City, but was handled by the FBI upon his arrival in Miami in 1983. Pérez Méndez was immediately relocated under the federal witness protection program. He publicly surfaced for the first time after twnety-three years when he appeared on the Miami TV program "Polos Opuestos" directed by María Elvira Salazar on November 9 and 10, 2006. he defector's face was blotted out during the interviews to maintain his anonimity. He was accompanied on the program by retired Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) agent Sergio Piñón, who resides in Miami.

Pérez Méndez stated during the TV interviews that he was asked by the FBI to testify before the U.S. Congress soon after his arrival in Miami, but feared doing so due to the retaliation that the Castro regime would take against his family that remained in Cuba. He also said that his U.S. government handlers moved him around various covert locations after learning that Cuban and Soviet intelligence agents were on his trail.

Pérez Méndez acknowleged during his TV interviews that he "gave birth" to the Antonio Maceo Brigade (BAM). This group was created by the DGI in 1977, with Cuban Americans under the age of thirty, whose mission was to act as agents of influence in the United States on behalf of the Cuban Revolution. Pérez Méndez added that he was also in charge of recruiting agents of influence in U.S. academic circles. He refused to mention during his TV interviews the names of those that he dealt with in what amounted to espionage activities. Pérez Méndez concluded that he is writing a book that will explain how Cuba uses agents of influence in the United States.

Since Pérez Méndez is apparently still under the witness protection program, I am sure that his handlers will edit his book. Therefore, I have decided to publicly release the information that he provided during his debriefing in 1983, in the hope that upon this becoming public knowledge, he will be allowed to give a full account of everything that he knows.

In 1993, I wrote an academic study entitled "Academic Espionage: U.S. Taxpayer Funding of a Pro Castro Study" for the Institute for U.S. Cuba Relations in Washington, D.C. The report was translated into Spanish and published in Miami’s "Diario las Américas" newspaper. I used only one quote from the Pérez Méndez debriefing, which indicated that one of the participants of that project, Professor Marifeli Pérez-Stable, "was a DGI agent who responded to Cuban intelligence officials Isidro Gómez and Jesús Arboleya Cervera. Pérez-Stable, who had organized another DGI front group called the Cuban Culture Circle, was receiving $100 for every person that traveled to Cuba through that organization. According to Pérez-Méndez, Pérez-Stable replaced DGI agent Lourdes Casal after her death in Havana, and the DGI and ICAP prepared the yearly plans for Pérez-Stable."

Pérez-Stable is currently on the board of contributors of the Miami Herald and is also a professor at Florida International University (FIU). Three other FIU professors, Carlos Alvarez, Lisandro Pérez, and Guillermo Grenier, were founding members and/or collaborators with Pérez-Stable in the DGI controlled Areito magazine, the BAM, and the Cuban Culture Circle. Professor Alvarez and his wife Elsa Prieto, an FIU employee, are presently awaiting trial in Miami under charges stemming from his admission to FBI agents that for decades they were spies for Cuban intelligence.

The possibility of Castro agents working at the Herald was recently raised when El Nuevo Herald reporter Pablo Alfonso indicated in his resignation letter of November 18, 2006, published in the Diario las Américas, that the Herald "has not investigated how its special reports have been filtrated [leaked] to and continue being filtrated [leaked] to the castroite press before they reach the Herald readers." Pérez Méndez could shed some light on this issue. He and the FBI can attest to the veracity of the attached document. I believe that the Herald has the responsibility to investigate the statements made by Pérez-Méndez, especially since he indicated that an actual member of your board of contributors has been controlled and financed by Cuban intelligence.


Dr. Antonio de la Cova
Latino Studies
Indiana University, Bloomington
Here is Landsberg's response as submitted to Herald Watch by professor de la Cova:

Date: Mon, 27 Nov 2006 10:33:57 -0500
From: "Landsberg, David"
Reply-To: "Landsberg, David"
Subject: RE: FBI debriefing of Cuban DGI officer Jesús Raúl Pérez Méndez
To: "de la Cova, Antonio Rafael"

Thank you for your thoughts. I will share them. DL


Anonymous said...

If Havana could place and maintain a mole at the Pentagon in a high-level position for years, doing that at the Herald would be child's play, relatively speaking. Anyone who says it couldn't happen at the Herald is at best extremely naive.


life just good

Fantomas said...

The Herald Soap continues

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Oscar Corral:

This is the first time that I have seen this on Miami's Cuban Connection or any other blog: You present 3 different threads with articles from The Washington Post, The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times on the very same subject: Varela's attempted
"coup" at The Miami Herald. Really wallowing in it, aren't you? Well, I guess that anything which you believe discredits your critics is a source of comfort to you, the most discredited of all Cuban-American journalists.

But don't despair: so long as you have Tom Fiedler to protect you — and he is rather fond of you — you'll be able to hold on to your job. Of course, it comes at the price of being Fiedler's chihuhua, but more onerous compromises are made in jail.

The question (for you) should be: "How long will Fiedler be allowed to remain at The Miami Herald?"

Personally, I have only contempt for Fiedler since he exposed Gary Hart's personal life. It is very difficult to respect a man who made his name by sticking his nose in another man's drawers.

Anonymous said...

Fiedler's response sounds to me like "Just leave your little unsolicited resume and don't call us; we'll call you." I doubt we'll hear any more about it from the Herald, unless something unforeseen forces them to do otherwise.

I wonder what would happen if a liberal academic sent Fiedler some similarly juicy dirt on some anti-Castro figure(s) in Miami?

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

I wish that Diario Las Américas were willing to take on The Miami Herald. The information on Marifeli Pérez-Stable would be that paper's greatest scoop and would certainly prod The Herald to action.