Magazine article The Nation

Gunning for Castro

Magazine article The Nation

Gunning for Castro

Article excerpt

Only a few weeks before the November 23 death of Jorge Mas Canosa--founder and longtime head of the hard-line Cuban American National Foundation (C.A.N.F.)--a U.S. Coast Guard patrol sighted a boat adrift in waters off the west coast of Puerto Rico. Although the boat had mechanical problems and was taking on water, the four Cuban-Americans aboard insisted on continuing their voyage. The Coast Guard ordered them to a police dock in Aguadilla, where US. Customs agents, suspicious of their conflicting stories, searched the forty-six-foot vessel. They discovered two .50-caliber long-range military sniper rifles, along with seventy rounds of ammunition, night scopes, three fatigue uniforms and communications equipment. One of the men claimed that their purpose was to kill Fidel Castro when he landed on Venezuela's Margarita Island for the Ibero-American summit on November 7.

Customs found the boat was registered to Nautical Sports, a Florida company of which C.A.N.F. director Jose Antonio Llama is president, director, secretary and treasurer. Llama flew to Puerto Rico the day after the boat was seized, although he claimed that he had just sold the boat. Llama belongs to Brigade 2506, an organization of veterans of the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion. In 1996 he co-founded a Madrid-based organization of Cuban exiles to lobby the Spanish government to support the Helms-Burton Act, successor to the 1992 Torricelli Act--both created by C.A.N.F. to tighten the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba.

Llama's boat, La Esperanza, had been docked at home of his friend Marco Antonio Sainz until just before it left Florida. Sainz and Feliciano Foyo, C.A.N.F. treasurer, are partners in the Florida Falcon Chemical Corp. Cuban exile terrorist Luis Posada Carriles has listed Foyo as one of his C.A.N.F. supporters (along with Mas Canosa and Pepe Hernandez, C. …

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