The Miami Herald
Lawmakers push a united, hard-line front
are beginning an offensive to persuade foreign
governments to take a hard line on Cuba.
By Pablo Bachelet, pbachelet@MiamiHerald.com.
Posted on Fri, Aug. 31, 2007.
WASHINGTON -- After beating back efforts
to ease U.S. sanctions on Cuba in Congress,
Cuban-American lawmakers are embarking on
a major push to isolate the Castro government
on the international stage.
Miami Republican Reps. Lincoln and Mario
Díaz-Balart and New Jersey Democrat
Albio Sires are today wrapping up a three-day
trip to the Czech Republic, Hungary and
Poland. The trip will be followed by another
to Latin America in the coming weeks, according
to members of the delegation.
The trip's organizers say the idea is to
raise the international profile of dissidents
on the island, call on countries to settle
for nothing less than free elections in
Cuba after Fidel Castro dies and present
a united front of major dissident and exile
groups before the world community.
But it will likely be an uphill battle.
While the former Soviet-bloc nations are
generally receptive, other European and
Latin American nations are more skeptical,
believing that U.S. sanctions have not worked
and more engagement with Havana stands a
better chance of bringing democratic change.
''One of the reasons why the regime has
lasted so long is the lack of international
solidarity, especially in Latin America,''
Lincoln Díaz-Balart told The Miami
Herald by phone from Budapest. "And
so the role of Europe, and especially East
and Central Europe, is extraordinarily important.''
He said the effort in Latin America will
be ''intensified'' because ''the timing
is propitious and necessary.'' He declined
to say which Latin American countries would
In a gesture thick with historical symbolism,
the group is to travel today with Polish
President Lech Kaczynski to Lublin in southeastern
Poland to commemorate the 1982 deaths of
three anti-communist protesters.
Two dissident leaders in Cuba -- Martha
Beatriz Roque and Jorge García Pérez,
known as ''Antúnez'' -- are expected
to call in during the ceremonies. Several
Miami exile activists, including Sylvia
Iriondo of Mothers and Women Against Repression
and Javier de Céspedes of the Directorio
Democrático Cubano, traveled to Poland
for the event.
The group will also reaffirm the Agreement
for Democracy in Cuba. Originally drafted
in 1998 ahead of Pope John Paul II's trip
to Cuba, the 10-point document calls for,
among other things, free elections on the
island and the release of political prisoners.
Organizers said more than 120 organizations,
both in Cuba and abroad, have signed it.
Camila Gallardo, a spokeswoman for the
Cuban American National Foundation, said
her group did not sign the document in 1998
but would do so now if asked.
The emphasis on the international front
marks a shift of priorities for Cuban-American
lawmakers, who focused their efforts in
the first part of the year in fighting back
congressional initiatives to ease some sanctions
against the island. Opponents of President
Bush's tough line against Castro had predicted
that the new Democratic majority in Congress
would be more receptive to the relaxations.
Instead, amendments that would have allowed
more agricultural trade with the island
and cut aid to Cuban pro-democracy groups
on the island and in Miami were defeated
in the House.
Cuban-American lawmakers said international
pressure on Havana will play a critical
role after the death of Fidel Castro, who
has been suffering from an undisclosed intestinal
ailment since last summer. Spain in particular
angered many dissidents and the Bush administration
when foreign minister Miguel Angel Moratinos
visited Cuba in April and then campaigned
to ease European Union sanctions against
''When the issue of Spain arises, my comment
is we are at the same crossroads as Spain
was after 45 years of the dictator [Francisco]
Franco,'' said Sires, who led the delegation.
He said the European Union at the time pressed
Madrid to take a democratic path.
Spain's efforts have failed so far, in
part because of opposition from former Soviet-bloc
countries like the Czech Republic and Hungary.
This is not the first time Eastern European
nations have expressed support for exile
groups, and Cuban officials have attacked
Prague as a stooge of U.S. interests. In
October last year, several top officials
from Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic
and Lithuania took part in a seminar on
Cuba's post-Castro transition held in Miami.
This week, the congressional delegation
met with top government officials and nongovernmental
groups in Prague. In Budapest, they met
with the five main parties, all of whom
expressed their support for democracy in
The delegation thanked Hungary for taking
in 29 Cuban refugees held at the U.S. Naval
Base in Guantánamo, Cuba. The decision
prompted Cuba to call Hungary an ''imperial
accomplice'' of Washington and ''servile''
to its ''powerful and aggressive master,''
according to The Associated Press.
''You know what's very refreshing? Here
they get it,'' Mario Díaz-Balart
said. "They're not swayed or impressed
by the lies of the dictatorship.''
Lincoln Díaz-Balart says the Eastern
Europeans should ''increase their leadership''
in the European Union and European Parliament
because of their "knowledge of transitions
and their moral authority and experience.''
But the international campaign also faces
difficult challenges, especially in Latin
America, where U.S. sanctions on Cuba are
When the embargo against Cuba is brought
up, Mario Díaz-Balart said, the group
urges their foreign counterparts to think
of ways they can help that does not involve
Beyond the Eastern Europeans, only a handful
of governments like Costa Rica and El Salvador
have spoken out. Cuban officials are well-received
in many nations and Havana receives dozens
of delegations, from Kuwait to China.
Nations like Spain, Brazil and Canada believe
publicly attacking the Castro government
will only anger it more rather than spur
it to give Cubans more freedoms.
Castro essay criticizes U.S. presidential
Posted on Thu, Aug. 30, 2007.
HAVANA -- (AP) -- A new essay signed by
ailing leader Fidel Castro accused U.S.
presidential candidates of ''submission''
to his exiled foes in Florida and offered
a favorable assessment of only one of the
10 presidents he has known: Jimmy Carter.
Candidates for the U.S. presidential election
in 2008 ''are totally absorbed by the Florida
adventure,'' Castro said in the column published
Tuesday by the Communist Party newspaper
Granma and other official media.
Castro said that both Hillary Clinton and
Barack Obama 'feel the sacred duty to demand
'a democratic government in Cuba' '' --
something Cuban officials insist already
Obama last weekend called for loosening
restrictions on how often Cuban Americans
can visit family on the island and how much
money they can send them.
''It can help make their families less
dependent on Fidel Castro. That's the way
to bring about real change in Cuba,'' Obama
told more than 1,000 people in Little Havana.
Clinton, the Democratic front-runner, last
week reiterated her support for current
U.S. policy: "Until it is clear what
type of policies might come with a new [Cuban]
government, we cannot talk about changes
in the U.S. policies toward Cuba.''
The column -- the second published so far
this week -- made no reference to recent
rumors that Castro had died or was dying.
Nor did it reveal any information about
his exact ailment or condition. Castro has
not been seen in public in the 13 months
since he announced he had undergone intestinal
surgery and temporarily ceded power to his
younger brother Raúl.
Castro also described his relations with
other U.S. presidents he had dealt with
''I only knew one who for ethical-religious
reasons was not complicit to the brutal
terrorism against Cuba: James Carter,''
Tuesday's essay read -- though it noted
that a law banning U.S. attempts to assassinate
foreign leaders such as Castro took effect
during President Gerald Ford's administration.
Castro noted that Carter opened the U.S.
Interests Section in Havana and supported
an agreement on maritime limits.
Despite his efforts, Castro said, "the
circumstances of that time impeded him from
Castro said former President Bill Clinton
was ''really friendly'' during a brief encounter
at a U.N. summit and said he was ''intelligent
in demanding that rule of law be followed''
in the case of castaway boy Elián
González, who was returned from the
United States to Cuba in 2000 after an international
He also acknowledged that Clinton apparently
tried to stop flights by exile pilots who
had enraged the communist government by
repeatedly scattering anti-communist literature
But he criticized Clinton for backing legislation
to tighten the U.S. trade embargo after
Cuban jet fighters shot down the civilian
planes off the island's coast during a repeat
visit in February 1996.
''It was an electoral year, and he took
advantage of that,'' Castro said, noting
that Clinton invited exile leaders to witness
his signing of "the criminal law.''
Cuban dad's letters were fake, mom says
By Carol Marbin Miller and
Tere Figueras Negrete, cmarbin@MiamiHerald.com.
Posted on Fri, Aug. 31, 2007.
For two days, the mother of a 4-year-old
girl at the center of a bitter custody dispute
told a courtroom how the father repeatedly
asked about his daughter's welfare in letters
he sent from Cuba to her in the United States.
But in the midst of a relentless cross-examination
Thursday, Elena Perez sobbed and then delivered
the bombshell that threw an already tense
drama into turmoil:
''I tried to twist things around to favor
the father,'' she said. "The letters
do not exist.''
They were fabricated, Perez said, by Magda
Montiel Davis, one of two attorneys for
the father, Rafael Izquierdo. Perez said
Davis and Izquierdo asked her to say in
court that the letters were real and that
she had received them while in Houston.
Attorneys for the state Department of Children
& Families want the father declared
unfit to raise her and the child to remain
with the Coral Gables foster family that
has taken care of her for 18 months.
Faced with an allegation that she fabricated
evidence and asked a witness to commit perjury,
Davis adamantly denied she had done anything
wrong, as did her husband, Ira Kurzban,
who is also representing the father.
''It is an absolute, categorical, unconditional
falsehood,'' Davis said.
''This is a sideshow,'' said Kurzban. "The
real issue is: Does DCF have a case for
taking away a child from her father? . .
. The bombshell today is the judge said
they had no case.''
Indeed, in court, moments before the trial
adjourned for the night, Judge Jeri B. Cohen,
who is presiding over the case, rebuked
DCF attorneys for the second time this week,
saying they had not presented sufficient
evidence to show Izquierdo had failed to
protect the little girl from harm.
''You haven't shown anything yet,'' the
Perez, a former pharmacy aide and government
worker from Cabaiguán, had been questioned
-- by the state attorneys, by a lawyer for
the Guardian-ad-Litem Program, and finally
by Kurzban -- for about 10 hours over two
days. She cried often, and had been led
out of the courtroom on Monday after breaking
A recurring theme: whether or not Izquierdo
had sent cards, letters or birthday presents
for the little girl after Perez and the
children left Cuba for the United States.
On Wednesday, Perez said he had not. Then
later, she said he had, but she did not
receive them because she had moved around
a lot. She also said she had received the
letters later but had discarded them in
Finally, under a blistering cross-examination
by Kurzban, Perez said she had made the
letters up at the request of Davis and Izquierdo.
There were no letters mailed to her in
Houston, she said. The letters were fabricated.
Perez said the lie didn't really matter,
though, because "pieces of paper do
not show who he is.''
''He's a good father,'' she said.
Fighting tears, Perez at first said she
was at Kurzban's office this month when
Izquierdo's attorneys gave her the letters
and asked her to testify Izquierdo had written
them to her.
A moment later, Perez changed her testimony.
She said the meeting occurred at the office
of Kurzban's wife, Davis, who practices
at a different office. Perez said Kurzban
was not in the office when the conspiracy
was hatched, only Davis, Izquierdo and herself.
Perez told the judge the meeting occurred
''in the early evening hours,'' and that
she did not know exactly where Davis's office
is because she was driven there by a cousin.
What was the point of the fabrication?
the judge asked.
"For me to say I got these letters
in Houston. To help the father of the child.
. . . I would do anything for the girl to
be with her father.''
''We felt we were not going to be found
out,'' Perez added. "I just accepted
the idea. . . . We parents will do anything
we need to be with our children.''
When Cohen asked why Perez had decided
to admit to the lie now, Perez said her
lawyer had told her earlier that it was
against the law to lie while under oath,
"that the name of the crime is perjury,
and that it conveyed time in jail.''
The judge then told Perez she was unsure
if she was telling the truth.
''It is very serious, if it's true, for
his lawyer,'' Cohen added. "Lying to
the court is concerning to me. It's concerning
to me. I don't know if it's true or not,
because you have nothing to gain by it.''
''Really?'' Kurzban blurted out.
''You may bully [DCF], you may bully the
guardians, and you may bully other attorneys
in the community,'' the judge replied. "In
my courtroom you cannot bully me. I have
done nothing wrong.''
''Neither have I, your honor,'' Kurzban
A moment later, Cohen abruptly adjourned
and met privately with other lawyers who
advised her on how to handle the crisis.
She returned about 20 minutes later and
announced that Perez's testimony would continue,
and that attorneys with the Florida Bar
would decide what to do with the allegations
It was not Davis' first brush with notoriety.
The Miami lawyer was mired in controversy
after she visited Cuba in 1994, and TV cameras
captured her kissing Fidel Castro and calling
him her teacher.
In the letters she said were fabricated,
Perez said Izquierdo mentioned his other
daughter's birthday, told of how he had
run into Perez's mom in their town in Central
Cuba, and that he had heard that her older
boy had taken up basketball.
When Kurzban resumed his cross-examination,
he asked Perez to describe Davis's office.
How many floors? Kurzban asked. Is it a
skyscraper? Perez said she couldn't remember.
"The only thing I know is there's a
garage, a place for the cars.''
Kurzban said his wife's office had no garage.
When did the meeting begin, he asked. ''I
don't know exactly. I don't remember,''
What time did it end? ''I don't remember
when it was over,'' she said.
Izquierdo told reporters after the hearing
that the letters are legitimate.
''Of course that letter was written by
me,'' he said, "and even more letters.''
Izquierdo did write one letter on March
18, 2006 -- after Perez had returned to
Miami and lost her children to the state
-- that Perez did not dispute Thursday.
It leaves unclear whether Perez had received
any letters before that.
''Don't think that we've been remiss in
not writing you, the problem is that we
didn't have your address,'' Izquierdo wrote.
"We wrote to you one time in Texas,
but it was around the date that you moved
to Miami. The thing that interested us the
most was to have contact with you, although
that has not been possible.''
Cuban prison uprising case encourages
death penalty opponents
By Anita Snow, Associated
Press. Posted on Thu, Aug. 30, 2007.
HAVANA -- Four men involved in a prison
uprising that killed two military officers
have been spared the death penalty, an encouraging
sign for opponents of capital punishment,
a veteran rights activist said Thursday.
''What is relevant to us about this case
is that no one was sentenced to death,''
said Elizardo Sánchez of the Cuban
Commission for Human Rights and National
Reconciliation. "We hope that this
Sánchez said that relatives of the
accused reported that an inmate and an army
recruit who was working as a prison guard
received life sentences for their involvement
in the Dec. 20 uprising at the El Manguito
prison just outside the eastern city of
He said two other soldiers working as prison
guards received 30-year sentences for involvement
in the uprising, in which two military officers
were shot and killed and an inmate was wounded.
Sánchez said he has only sketchy
information about the uprising from relatives
of the accused. Cuba's government has released
no documents or reports about the uprising
or the trial, which reportedly was carried
out by a military tribunal in June.
Sánchez's commission is not recognized
by the Cuban government but its activities
are largely tolerated. Its primary activity
is tracking Cuba's political prisoners and
issuing twice-yearly reports that are widely
used by international rights groups.
''We hope this is a good sign for 50 or
so people currently on Death Row'' or who
face a possible death sentence, said Sánchez,
whose group has long called for the elimination
of capital punishment in Cuba.
Those include three other army recruits
who were arrested on May 3 after escaping
from their base and trying to hijack a plane
At least one soldier was killed during
their escape and an army lieutenant colonel
was shot to death during the hijacking attempt.
There have been no reported executions
in Cuba since April 2003, when three men
convicted of hijacking a Havana passenger
ferry with knives and a gun were sent to
a firing squad. No one was hurt in the attempt,
which came amid a wave of attempted boat
and plane hijackings on the island.
The government's swift execution of the
three men led to widespread international
Capital punishment in Cuba is always carried
out by firing squad. It has been used sparingly
in recent years, usually in especially heinous
homicides, such as the murder of a child
during a rape or in multiple killings.
Mom in Cuban custody case testifies
about her rough life
By Carol Marbin Miller,
cmarbin@MiamiHerald.com. Posted on Thu,
Aug. 30, 2007.
In Elena Perez's first 48 hours as a U.S.
resident in 2004, she was abandoned at Miami
International Airport not once but twice:
first, by her husband, who went home to
''party'' with relatives, and then by her
uncle, who said he wasn't able to care for
her and her two small children.
Months later, with a hurricane approaching
and no place for Perez to stay, a worker
with Catholic Charities took her to Houston,
where she knew no one. There, she was attacked
by two men, and sank deeper into poverty
''I had been abandoned. I had been through
a total change of life. I was in an unknown
place, and I didn't know anybody,'' she
told a packed courtroom Wednesday.
Thus began the strange journey of Elena
Perez, Cuban pharmacy worker, winner of
the U.S. visa lottery in Cuba, mother.
Perez's odyssey has now taken her to the
Miami-Dade County courthouse, where she
is playing a starring role in a drama that,
in many ways, is not about her.
Florida child-welfare lawyers have asked
a Miami judge to order that Perez's 4-year-old
daughter live permanently with a Coral Gables
foster family that has cared for her for
18 months. The girl and her older half-brother
went to live with Joe and Maria Cubas after
Perez took a kitchen knife to her wrists
in December 2005.
Perez is not fighting for custody of her
daughter, but the girl's father, Rafael
Izquierdo, is. A farmer from Cabaiguán
in central Cuba, Izquierdo is battling the
Department of Children & Families, which
claims he is unfit to raise his daughter.
On Wednesday, DCF attorney Stacey Blume
put Perez on the stand to elicit testimony
central to the state's case against Izquierdo:
He did not send birthday cards to his daughter.
He did not call the toddler even once from
Cuba. He signed a consent form allowing
the girl to live permanently in the United
Perez, dressed in a black pinstripe suit,
her dark hair hanging loosely at her shoulders,
battled tears through much of her four-hour
testimony. She described a life punctuated
by violence, heartbreak and anguish.
STORIES OF ABUSE
Her father, she said, was a drunk who was
abusive to her and to her mother. "One
day he married a bottle of rum, and never
again did I recover him.''
Her father also ''cut'' her mother and
tried to kill her by choking her, Perez
said. ''Almost, almost,'' she recalled.
"I saved her.''
Perez's first husband, Sandor Sanchez,
beat her as well, she said, badly enough
that she suffered convulsions and was hospitalized
following a blackout.
In May 2004, Perez won a visa lottery allowing
her to legally emigrate to the United States.
A neighbor, Jesus Melendres, offered to
marry her so she could qualify under a program
that limits emigration to people who are
married, she said. He made big promises.
She believed him.
'He promised, 'Even if you are in Pennsylvania,
or any state, I will always be with you.'
Instead, she said, when they arrived in
Miami, Melendres left Miami International
Airport with a gaggle of relatives who hugged
and kissed and did not bother to introduce
themselves to her.
Perez drove home with a maternal uncle.
The very next morning, she said, the uncle
"led me by the hand. His wife told
me they couldn't take care of me and the
children. I wasn't able to speak.''
Her uncle drove her back to the airport
and left her, she said.
Days later, she turned to the only other
man she knew in Miami, her husband. "I
was begging him on the phone, please, remember
what you told me. I was begging him to come
back. He answered he would not. He was partying.
His family threw a party for him.''
After spending a disastrous few months
in Texas, Perez returned to Miami. In late
2005, she said, she called Izquierdo in
Cuba, told him she was falling apart and
asked him if he could come to Miami to retrieve
Izquierdo told her he would try, she said.
But within weeks, DCF had taken her children.
'ALL MY SOUL WANTS'
Blume asked Perez if she wished to reunite
with her daughter if Izquierdo regains custody
and takes the girl back to Cabaiguán.
Perez said the two had discussed sharing
''If, one day, I am able to get better,
or recover from where I am now, it would
be all my soul wants if I were allowed to
kiss and hug my child, and spend some time,''
she said. "Only that.''
Perez denied, under questioning by both
Blume and Circuit Judge Jeri B. Cohen, that
she had hatched a ''plan'' to take custody
of the girl if Izquierdo takes her back
Moments before Perez left the courtroom
for the day, Blume asked her if she desired
to regain custody of her daughter.
''Yes, I do,'' Perez answered. "But
''Why can't you?'' Blume asked.
"Because I don't have the strength.''
Earlier Wednesday, a caseworker from the
private foster-care agency Neighbor to Family,
Maria Zamora, testified that after the girl
was placed in foster care, she arranged
phone calls so Izquierdo could talk to his
She said Izquierdo, who was in Cuba, never
asked her what he could do to regain custody
of the child.
But under cross-examination by Izquierdo's
lawyer, Ira Kurzban, Zamora acknowledged
it was not her job to help him seek custody
of his daughter. ''I was told I was not
to discuss the case with Mr. Izquierdo,''
she said. "I was to facilitate calls
between him and the child.''
Four in Cuba jail break sentenced
By Wilfredo Cancio Isla,
El Nuevo Herald. Posted on Thu, Aug. 30,
Four participants in a prison revolt in
Santiago, Cuba that left two military officers
dead have been given sentences of 30 years
to life, a human rights activist in Havana
Army recruit Yoelvis Delgado Arvelo, who
was working as a guard, and an inmate known
only as Mursuli were given life sentences,
said Elizardo Sánchez, head of the
Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National
Reconciliation, an illegal but tolerated
Army recruit Irán Cabrera León
and another soldier who was not identified
-- both also guards -- were sentenced to
30 years of imprisonment, Sánchez
told El Nuevo Herald on Tuesday.
The sentences were imposed by an army tribunal
in June but were disclosed only this week,
Sánchez added. Cuban media have not
reported the sentences.
The prison break allegedly took place Dec.
20, 2006, when three recruits on compulsory
military service and one prison inmate tried
to take over El Manguito Prison, 17 miles
Details are sketchy, but Cubans on the
island have said that the armed recruits
seized the sentry post at the prison's gate,
cut off telephone lines and tried to flee
with two prison inmates after a shootout
in which two military officers were killed
and one of the inmates was wounded. The
slain men were Lt. Oliverio Orozco and 2nd
Lt. José A. Tamayo, according to
The three recruits and the other inmate
were believed to have been captured within
24 hours and taken to Boniatico Prison near
Cuban authorities still have not revealed
the fate of three other army recruits who
on May 3 attempted to hijack a plane at
José Martí International Airport
in Havana, an incident in which an army
lieutenant colonel was killed. Cuban authorities
have said the would-be hijackers shot the
officer to death.
The recruits are believed to be in a military
Misfit was born in Ohio, executed in
Biography of William
Morgan tracks his life from high school
dropout to gun runner to Cuban rebel.
Don Bohning, The Miami Herald.
August 26, 2007.
THE AMERICANO: Fighting with Castro for
Aran Shetterly. Algonquin. 320 Pages. $24.95.
Aran Shetterly has brought William Morgan
to life, warts and all, in this well-researched
and highly readable account of an Ohio-born
American who made his way to Cuba in early
1958 to join the rebels fighting to bring
down the government of Fulgencio Batista.
The venture cost Morgan his U.S. citizenship
and his life during the little more than
three years he spent on the island, but
not before he made a mark on Cuban history
as a hero to some and a traitor to others.
The Americano is also an account of Fidel
Castro's rise to, and consolidation of,
dictatorial power over Cuba against all
odds, aided by several rebel groups supporting,
but operating independently of, Fidel's
26th of July Movement.
Weaving in a bit of Cuba's history of the
period, Shetterly deftly spins a tale of
adventure, intrigue and even love on the
run, as Morgan -- who abandoned a wife and
two children in Ohio -- finds a bride among
the anti-Batista rebels in the Escambray
Mountains of Central Cuba.
At the same time, the author manages to
shed additional light on the schisms among
the rebels fighting Batista, particularly
between those following Castro in the eastern
Sierra Maestra and those in the center loyal
to Eloy Gutierrez Menoyo, leader of what
was to become the Second National Front
of the Escambray (SNFE), to which Morgan
Particularly noteworthy is an account of
efforts beginning in late spring of 1958
to find unity among the rebel groups, a
unity that reflects Castro's desire to be
first among equals, a hope he was eventually
to achieve. As Shetterly describes it, later
that summer, Castro designated Ernesto "Che"
Guevara "with the task of unifying
all the opposition groups, including the
SFNE under his, Che's, command." Eventually,
Che and Menoyo would reach an "operational
pact," but not before creating friction
between Che and Morgan, along with two others
under Menoyo's command. That friction could
well have been the beginning of the end
for Morgan less than two years later.
Morgan would appear an unlikely candidate
to become a revolutionary hero. Born into
an upper-middle class family in Toledo,
he was largely a misfit and outcast during
his early years and later court-martialed
by the U.S. Army and jailed for three years.
When he arrived in the Escambray Mountains
in early 1958 at age 29 to join the rebel
group, he was overweight and spoke no Spanish,
yet rose to the rank of comandante, second
only to Menoyo as the SNFE leader and tactician.
Morgan remained a hero after Batista's
flight from the country on Jan. 1, 1959,
as the onslaught of the rebel groups reached
a crescendo, occupying a prominent place
in the Castro regime. Increasingly disenchanted
with Castro's rule, however, he and others
began plotting against the government. On
Oct. 21, 1960, Morgan was arrested as he
delivered a wedding gift to Juan Almeida,
then head of the Cuban Armed Forces. Found
guilty by a military tribunal, Morgan was
executed March 11, 1961, at the La Cabana
prison in Havana, a prison presided over
by Che Guevara.
A postscript to this story occurred in
April 2007 -- too late for inclusion in
the book -- when the U.S. State Department
restored his American citizenship, stripped
almost a half century earlier. The Americano
is a book that both the casual reader and
those with an intense interest in Cuba should
find readable and informative.
Don Bohning is a former Miami Herald
Latin America editor and author of The Castro
Obsession: U.S. Covert Operations Against