Conviction of Five Castro Spies Overturned: Court Cites 'Pervasive Community Prejudice'

On September 14, 1998, the FBI  uncovered a Castro spy ring  in Miami and arrested ten of them. Four others managed to scoot back to Cuba. These became known as  the "Wasp network." According to the FBI’s affidavit these Castro agents were engaged in, among other acts:

  • Intelligence gathering against the Boca Chica Air Naval Station in Key West, the MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa and the headquarters of the U.S. Southern Command in Homestead Florida.
  • Compiling the names, home addresses and medical files of  the U.S. Southern Command’s  top officers along with those of  hundreds of officers stationed at Boca Chica.
  • Infiltrating the headquarters of the U.S. Southern command.
  • Sending  letter bombs to Cuban-Americans.
  • Spying on MacDill Air Force base, the U.S. armed forces’ worldwide headquarters for fighting "low-intensity" conflicts.
  • Locating entry points into Florida for smuggling explosive material.

At the bail hearings, Assistant U.S. District Attorney Carolyn Heck Miller said the urgency to act on the case was because  "the defendant has made allusions to the prospect of sabotage against buildings and airplanes in the Southern District of Florida."  

These Castro agents also infiltrated the Cuban exile group Brothers To The Rescue. From them, Castro got the flight plan for one of their flights over the Florida straits, also known as "the cemetery without crosses." The estimates of the number of Cubans dying horribly in the "cemetery without crosses,"   run  from 50-85,000. Brothers to The Rescue risked their lives almost daily, flying over the straits, alerting and guiding the Coast Guard to any balseros, and saving thousands of these desperate people from joining that terrible tally.

By February of 1996 they’d flown 1,800 of these humanitarian missions and helped rescue 4,200 men, women and children. That month Castro’s Wasp spies passed a Brothers’ flight plan to Havana. This allowed Castro and his military to ambush and shoot down (in international air space)  two unarmed Brothers’ planes. Four members of Brothers to the Rescue  met a fiery death from the gallant Castro’s Migs. Three of these men were U.S. citizens, the other a legal U.S. resident.

Armando Alejandre Jr. came to the U.S. at age ten in 1960. His first order of business when he reached the age of  18 was fulfilling his dream of  becoming a U.S. citizen. His next was joining the United States Marine corps and volunteering for service in Vietnam. He returned with several decorations. As a member of  Brothers to the Rescue he often dropped flowers over the sea, in memory of the thousands they’d been unable to rescue in time.

A man with a weapon or with both hands free to fight has always palsied Castro with fright. The notion of  Fidel Castro facing a United States Marine in combat mode is simply laughable, in a pathetic sort of way. So Castro waited for Armando and his Brothers to be carrying flowers–and made his move, murdering them in cold blood. Migs against Cessnas, cannon and rockets against flowers.

This is a Castro specialty. In high school Fidel got into an argument over a debt (he was always a deadbeat) with a schoolmate named Ramon Mestre, who pounded him like a gong. Fidel cried uncle and slunk away whimpering that he’d go fetch the money he owed Ramon.

Instead he came back with a cocked pistol, hoping to surprise and murder the unarmed Mestre, who’d already gone home. There’s  your genuine Fidel in all his macho splendor. He does have a long memory however. Six months after he grabbed power, Castro had his goons grab Senor Mestre, who then suffered 20 years in Castro’s dungeons. 

The pre-meditated atrocity against Alejandre and his brothers is what added the "manslaughter" and "conspiracy to commit murder" charges (on top of the ones listed above, 26 charges total) against the Wasp Network spies.

Came the trial and Castro’s agents’  lawyers all ranted and raved that "no Cuban-Americans should be on the jury!"  Interestingly, Leonard Wineglass, who represents Gerardo Hernandez , the Brothers To The Rescue infiltrator/spy charged with manslaughter, has represented  Jane Fonda, Pentagon Papers defendant Anthony Russo, Angela Davis, the Symbionese Liberation Army, The Chicago Seven, Amy Carter and Mumia-Abu-Jamal. He’s renown as a specialist in "Civil Rights’ and "Human Rights."

But ah! When it came to Cuban-Americans? Now Weinglass argued vehemently against their right to serve on a jury based simply on their ethnicity. The U.S. Supreme Court itself supposedly prohibits this: "The Equal Protection Clause guarantees that the State will not exclude from the jury venire anyone on account of race, or on the false assumption that members of his race as a group are not qualified to serve as jurors." This from a case titled Batson v. Kentucky (1986.) "By denying a person participation in jury service on account of his race, the State also unconstitutionally discriminates against the excluded juror," it continues.

Apparently not when it comes to Cuban-Americans. As we all know by now, none of the usual liberal bugaboos and standards apply to a minority that votes overwhelmingly Republican. During the Elian circus the New York Press ran an article by Stalinist Alexander Cockburn urging the "nuking" of  Little Havana. Okay, so it was in  jest.

But the same jesting with regard to Harlem, the Bronx or East Los Angles would have sent Cockburn to the unemployment office, mandatory "sensitivity-training" or maybe to Weinglass himself to defend him against a "hate-speech" rap. At any rate, not a peep was heard from the usual "civil rights watchdogs" (the Miami Herald, for instance) about the expressly racist request by the "civil rights" attorney and "activist" Weinglass–and one that violated a decision by the Supreme Court itself.

And no objection by the judges either. They agreed with Weinglass and the rest of the defense and excluded Cuban-Americans from the jury like the very plague. "The case would be infected with prejudice," argued another defense lawyer, Paul McKenna.  And again, after the judges’ decision in agreement with Weinglass and McKenna, nary a peep from "civil rights" mongers. 

Well, came June of 2001 and that jury–utterly free from "infection" by a single Cuban-American– found all five of the Castro spies guilty as charged on all 26 counts. The evidence against them was absolutely overwhelming and devastating. The jury concluded that these five were patently agents of America’s most hate-filled enemy, and  bent on damaging their country. It didn’t take a Cuban-American to see this. 

Last week, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta (the same one that ruled Elian Gonzalez could not apply for political asylum even though the very INS manual has examples of 6 year olds applying for asylum — Fidel: Hollywood’s Favorite Tyrant, p. 169 ) overturned the conviction of the Castro spies. The 93 page opinion states that seating an impartial jury (even one thoroughly disinfected against Cuban- Americans) was an "unreasonable probability because of pervasive community prejudice."

“Never before in the history of the United States has a Federal Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a trial court’s finding with respect to venue. This is a first!" crowed a triumphant Leonard Weinglass from atop his dunghill of cases.

Apparently, just having Cuban-Americans in the same community as other jurors infects them! By the way, Cuban-Americans only make up 1/4 of the Community in which the trial was held. You really gotta hand it to us. We are one influential bunch! It’s starting to go to my head. We make up a minuscule 1/300 of the U.S. population, yet – from all I keep hearing and reading in the MSM – we not only decide jury verdicts  through some form of  telepathy, osmosis or bribery, we also control U.S. foreign policy with a firm testicular grip.

"Cuba Policy isn’t made in Washington," harrumphed Bill Press in a CNN column. "It’s made in Miami by former Batista supporters who think they can reverse history!"

"A small number of powerful exiles in South Florida cow our politicians into keeping the crazy Cuban policy!" snapped media baron Al Neuharth in USA Today column.

"Man, we bad!" I finally started shouting, while strutting around like Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor in the movie Stir Crazy.

There are others beside Weinglass and McKenna  simply delighted by last week’s decision. "This Atlanta court decision was demonstrative of the dignity, decorum and professionalism of the three judges, who merit all our respect." That ode comes from none other than Ricardo Alarcon, Castro’s "President" of Cuba’s "National Assembly," which is to say:  the representative of a regime who’s first order of business on January 9th 1959 was abolishing Habeas Corpus and introducing the death penalty to apply retroactively.

This is the same regime who’s main executioner and magistrate at the time, Che Guevara, took a brief breather from murdering hundreds of men (and boys, some as young as 15) without trial to declare: "to send men to the firing squad, judicial proof is unnecessary. Judicial evidence is an archaic bourgeois detail. This is a revolution! We execute from revolutionary conviction!"

The three Atlanta judges should feel very proud of their accolades by such august adherents of civilized  jurisprudence.