Details on CIA assassins against the 1970s Puerto Rican Independence Movement revealed

Juan Mari Bras, PR Independence fighter and CIA's target

CIA released its Miami hounds on Juan Mari Bras in Puerto Rico

September 28, 2010

Jean-Guy Allard

UNITED STATES intelligence, in its drive to fight the legitimate independence aspirations of the Puerto Rican people, did not hesitate to use its gang of killers in Miami and selected as its prime target Juan Mari Bras and his family.

Declassified documents from the FBI —as part of public hearings taking place before the House Select Committee on Assassinations— demonstrated how Cuban-American hired killers who were preparing to attack Cuba, acted with impunity in close alliance with the Puerto Rican rightwing in order to neutralize the rising tide of the independence movement which had been growing since the middle of the 60s, and took part in several terrorist attempts against the Puerto Rican independence movement.

The group which came together around Juan Mari Bras, the Pro-Independence Movement (Movimiento Pro-Independencia, 1958-1971) and later the Puerto Rican Socialist Party (Partido Socialista Puertorriqueño /PSP), from 1971) constituted a “danger” for U.S. colonial domination.

Mari Bras died this last September 10 at 83 years of age and was coincidentally buried on the 12th, the birth date of Pedro Albizu Campos, a leading figure in the struggle for Puerto Rican independence during the first half of the 20th century, whose work was continued by the great leader Mari Bras.


Events demonstrate how acts of terrorism carried out by Cuban Americans in Puerto Rico were incorporated into the concept of operations called “autonomous,” in an attempt to deny U.S. involvement in them.

On January 7, 1969, the United Press agency reported having received a communiqué signed by the “Poder Cubano” terrorist group, then headed by Orlando Bosch, the accomplice of Luis Posada Carriles in the sabotage of a Cuban passenger plane in 1976.

The document announced the beginning of a campaign against the MPI and the PSP, calling its members “Castro’s puppets who want to corrupt Puerto Rican society.”

That same night, an explosive device was placed under Juan Mari Bras’ car parked in front of his house, which caused the complete destruction of the vehicle.

On July 24, 1973, a bomb exploded in the offices of the Central Committee of the PSP, coinciding with activities taking place to commemorate the assault on the Moncada Garrison in Cuba.


A declassified document dated May 20, 1975, describes the reorganization of the so-called Cuban National Liberation Front (FLNC), founded by Frank Castro, and mentions that in a certain meeting it was decided not to carry out acts of violence in U.S. territory in the immediate future, but that Puerto Rico was declared “open territory for engaging in terrorist acts while the People’s Socialist Party continues to reign there.”

As he publicly confessed, from 1972 to 1976 Félix “El Gato” Rodríguez Mendigutía worked as a CIA agent in the Caribbean during the most active period of right-wing terrorism in Puerto Rico.

On January 11, 1975, another bomb exploded in the Mayagüez Plaza del Municipio, causing two deaths and 12 injuries, while the PSP celebrated the birthday of the independence leader Eugenio Maria de Hostos, with Juan Mari Bras as the main speaker.

Recently uncovered U.S. documents from the FBI connect Cuban-American René Fernández del Valle to this crime as one of three suspects in that terrorist act.


Another document dated November 5, 1975, states that FLNC member Secundino Carrera Sánchez told his accomplice, Rafael Pérez Doreste, that his group carried out a grenade attack on the Soviet vessel Maxim Gorky on December 24, 1974 in San Juan, and that Frank Castro authorized Reynol Rodríguez to “work on a plan to kill Juan Mari Bras, general secretary of the Puerto Rican Socialist Party.”

Another declassified document indicates that in January 1976 at least one rifle with a telescopic sight was transported from Miami to Puerto Rico in order to execute the conspiracy.

On March 25, 1976, a terrible blow was inflicted on Juan Mari Bras. The body of his 23-year-old son, Santiago (Chagui) Mari Pesquera, was found in a car in Río Piedras, the victim of a shooting.

The family and the Independence Movement were very dissatisfied with the U.S. federal police investigation. The result of the manhunt and the trial was that one Henry Walter Coira was convicted.

A new investigation revealed that the suspect did not act alone and that other people participated in the murder, but without identifying the assassins.

On December 3, 2009, Judy Orihuela, spokesperson for the Miami FBI, said that Cuban-American terrorism was “not a priority” for the agency and completely refused to answer questions about the exposés made public the previous day in Puerto Rico.

“Anyone who remains silent about a criminal act is as guilty as the person who committed the crime,” Charlie Hernández, representative of the People’s Democratic Party, told the Puerto Rican daily newspaper.

He introduced Resolution Number 82 to the Puerto Rican Senate, ordering the island’s Department of Justice to reopen the investigation into the murder of “Chagui,” to turn over all of the documents related to the crime, and to apologize to the victim’s family and the Puerto Rican people for participating in this plot.

In parallel with the Cuban-American campaign of terror, the FBI subjected Juan Mari Bras to Operation COINTELPRO, of evil memory, and to disinformation campaigns destined to damage his prestige, which was immense among Puerto Ricans.


The terrorist Fernández del Valle —involved in the Mayagüez crime and other attempts— belonged to the CNLF, which was associated with the Coordination of United Revolutionary Organizations (CORU), an operation directed by the CIA, which unleashed tens of attempts in U.S. territory as well as other countries.

This character, who came from the ranks of the Abdala Group and then joined the CNLF, has a long history of terrorist activity. In 1974, together with Frank Castro and Reynol Rodríguez, he conspired to blow up a Cubana aircraft in Trinidad & Tobago.

In August 1976 he moved to Costa Rica with his wife Gloria Cordero, as part of a CNLF commando that planted two bombs in an Iberia office and another in the office of a maritime enterprise. The same Frank Castro confessed this to a Costa Rican police officer.

René Fernández del Valle was part of the group of Alex de La Cerda, a U.S. Navy lieutenant, as well as press officer for the Roosevelt Roads Naval Station in Ceiba, Puerto Rico, as well as Roberto López González’ arms officer at the U.S. base on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques.

These three individuals planted a bomb in the Law School on January 14, 1980 and attempted to board a Vieques Airlink aircraft in order to murder Juan Mari Bras’ second son, Raúl Mari Pesquera.

On January 27, 1994, Fernández Del Valle was found guilty together with a group of drug trafficking suspects and sentenced to 30 months in prison plus five years’ probation. Thanks to his status, he was released on January 1, 1995. He is still alive and living peacefully in Puerto Rico. Despite his terrorist history, he enjoys the trust of the U.S. Coast Guard and the Department of Internal Security, and owns a transport business carrying recycled oil in his personally owned barges.

Frank Castro lives in the Dominican Republic from where he keeps in constant contact with the terrorist mafia of Miami, the city in which his colleague Reynol Rodríguez González lives. González was a resident of Puerto Rico until around the time when the young Cuban Carlos Muñiz Varela was killed there. He belonged to the editorial board of the weekly extremist publication La Crónica and is currently the military chief of Alpha 66 in the city of Miami.

Other CIA linked hired killers have settled in Puerto Rico. These include José Dionisio Suárez Esquivel, one of the two direct authors of the assassination in September 1976 of the former Chilean foreign minister Orlando Letelier. Carlos Alberto Montaner, a fugitive from Cuban justice for terrorist crimes, also settled on that island. •


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