More details released on US Interests chief, Miami support to dissidents
by Ray Sanchez
May 20, 2008
Reprinted from South Florida Sun-Sentinel
The director of the Security State Historical Investigation Center of Cuba, Manuel Hevia, presents a video of Cuban opposition leader Marta Beatriz Roque (R), who allegedly received $1,500 a month from jailed Miami anti-Castro militant Santiago Alvarez, a close associate of accused terrorist Luis Posada Carriles. Hevia and other Cuban officials charge the chief of the US Interests Section, Michael Parmly, carried the money from Miami to Roque.
State security surveillance video showed the dissident accused of taking money from the top U.S. diplomat in Havana cutting short a cell phone conversation because credit on her phone was low.
"I'm running out of money on this because I don't have money to buy another [phone] card," dissident Martha Beatriz Roque was telling a contact at the U.S. Interests Section.
Her phone credit may have been running out but Cuban officials said Roque was receiving $1,500 a month from Fundacion Rescate Juridico, a nonprofit exile group created by Santiago Alvarez, 66, an exile militant jailed in the United States on weapons charges.
Roque did have time to tell the diplomat on the line that CNN had showed up to cover a small demonstration she was staging outside the Justice Ministry. "CNN, wow!" her contact said.
Cuban officials said outgoing Interests Section chief Michael Parmly delivered money from the Miami-based group to Roque and other dissidents. Alvarez is a benefactor and close associate of reputed terrorist Luis Posada Carriles.
Parmly, whose Havana mission ends this summer, was described by a top foreign ministry official as "a facilitator of payments" from anti-Castro militants in Miami to dissident in Havana. If anything, emails being released piecemeal by the Cuban government reveal a strange coziness between American diplomats and dissidents on the island. This is the first time U.S. officials here are accused of funneling private funds to the opposition.
Josephina Vidal, Cuba's top diplomat for U.S. issues
In emails, Roque provides a relative in Miami with Parmly's U.S. cell phone in order to arrange the delivery of money from Alvarez to him at the Miami airport, Cuban officials said. The emails contained the name and phone number of Parmly's daughter in Washington, D.C., as well as the diplomat's personal cell number.
"Martha, you have my telephone in the U.S. always," Parmly allegedly wrote Roque late last year, including his number in the message.
When a reporter called the number last night, Parmly answered but declined to comment. "You have to call Washington," he said.
Last night, a former top American diplomat to Cuba, Wayne Smith, criticized the United States' continued involvement with dissidents.
"It's like putting a target on the back of their heads when you say your objective is to bring down the government and one of your means of doing so is to give assistance to the dissidents in Cuba," he said of the opposition. "That's turning them, for all to see, into paid agents of a foreign government."
Roque, labeled an American mercenary by Cuba, said she would wait until after Tuesday night's installment of a state television program aimed at proving her complicity with the United States.
"I'm going to wait until the end of this soap opera to comment," she said.