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Who is Santiago Álvarez Fernández Magriña?

by Gloria La Riva
May 19, 2008
Coordinator of the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five

This is a transcript of a talk given at a press conference held May 20, 2008;
the complete audio of that conference is available here

With each day that passes, the active and direct role of the U.S. government in aiding and abetting the Miami terrorists becomes more evident, with the latest revelation that the Miami terrorist Santiago Alvarez has been sending thousands of dollars to the so-called dissident Martha Beatriz Roque. But the most stunning revelation is that Michael Parmly, head of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana is the emissary of the monies from a known terrorist.

Santiago Alvarez (left) listens as Eduardo Soto, attorney for terrorist Luis Posada Carriles, speaks to the press in El Paso on June 13, 2005, where a hearing on Posada's detention by Homeland Security was being held.

Who is Santiago Alvarez? He has been the shadow of Luis Posada Carriles, financing his murderous terrorist plots and fugitive escapes from justice. He is heavily implicated in the November 17, 2000 attempted assassination plot on Fidel Castro’s life in Panama, along with three Miami terrorists who accompanied Luis Posada to Panama.

Even while the media spotlight was on the terrorist team now under arrest in Panama and facing trial (Posada Carriles, Pedro Remón Crispín, Guillermo Novo Sampol, and Gaspar Jiménez) Alvarez walked into a Miami Police Supply store in March 2001 to buy eight AK-47 assault rifles, 2,000 rounds of ammunition and pistols. Those weapons were later intercepted by the Cuban border patrol in the hands of four men who were plotting to attack the Tropicana nightclub in Havana.

Of that team of men caught by Cuban police as they landed in Havana with their AK-47 assault rifles, one of those terrorists confessed his plans, and on Cuban TV he is shown in his hotel room calling Santiago Álvarez, and asking Álvarez in Miami what to do with the cans of C-4 Explosives he brought with him to Cuba. Álvarez can be heard clearly, saying, “Throw them in the Tropicana nightclub and do away with all that.” All that meaning hundreds of people. In March 2004 he organized a public fundraiser in Miami for the terrorists on trial in Panama that reportedly raised $400,000. He provided the private plane that flew Remón, Novo and Jiménez back to Miami after their illegal pardon, as well as providing the plane that flew Luis Posada Carriles to an unknown destination in Central America, until Posada nine months later arrives illegally into Miami harbor, thanks to who? Santiago Alvarez, Jose Pujól and Ernesto Abreú.

But the role of the Bush administration, and the FBI and Justice Department in sheltering the terrorists cannot be overlooked. In fact if anything they are the ones most responsible, because as the government, as the state, they are giving the green light to the terrorists by allowing them to reside in the hornet’s nest of the terrorists that is Miami.

What did the FBI do when Posada’s three accomplices landed in Miami on August 26, 2004 after their pardon from Panama? They interviewed the three men for half an hour, Pedro Remón who gunned down a Cuban diplomat on a New York City street in 1980, Gaspar Jiménez, seen in the parking lot of a radio station when Emilio Milián, a reporter, had his legs blown off in his car in Miami, and Guillermo Novo Sampól, one of those responsible for the Sept. 23, 1976 bombing of Orlando Letelier and Ronnie Moffitt on Washington’s Embassy Row.

For two months after Posada’s arrival, Homeland Security refused to take action against him, claiming they could not prove he was in the United States. The only reason Posada was arrested on May 17, 2005 was because he held a public press conference. Cuba’s massive march of over one million people on that day demanding his arrest and extradition to Venezuela also had an impact.

The U.S. government’s cover was blown yesterday. They planned a magnificent hoopla in the Rose Garden for their dissidents in Cuba tomorrow Wednesday, in a ridiculous international day called by the U.S. Commerce Secretary, Carlos Gutiérrez. They planned to honor Martha Beatriz Roque, but now Bush has egg on his face, because he cannot hide the fact that a known terrorist is having his money transmitted to her into Cuba by the terrorist Santiago Alvarez.

That is why the ANSWER Coalition, National Committee to Free the Cuban Five, the Metro DC Free the Cuban Five Committee, and the Venezuela Solidarity Network, along with other individuals are calling for a picket tomorrow in front of the White House to demand once and for all:

Bush stop harboring the terrorist Posada Carriles, Extradite him to Venezuela!

And Free the Cuban Five immediately, who were protecting the people from Miami terrorism.

We cannot stress enough the very real danger that exists with the impunity and freedom that Luis Posada Carriles, Orlando Bosch and Santiago Alvarez continue to enjoy in Miami. Santiago Alvarez has openly financed the confessed terrorist Posada for years. Santiago Alvarez was caught with massive weapons caches, and yet received a slap on the wrist by Judge Cohn.

Much has been said about Posada being an old man who just wants to retire and be with his family in Miami. But he continues to openly advocate for terrorism against Cuba, and has never renounced his terrorist intentions. The 73 families still mourn the loss of their loved ones who were brutally murdered in the Cubana Airlines civilian plane bombing, Oct. 6, 1976.


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