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realclearworld

Cuba’s biological weapons and an assassination in Miami

A very interesting report from Juan Tamayo in The Miami Herald. A cold case from 1995 suddenly becomes very hot.

A Cuban man, slain in 1995, was preparing to testify about Cuba’s bioweapons capabilities to Congress, el Nuevo Herald has learned.

http://media.miamiherald.com/smedia/2014/04/05/23/10/5mDuR.St.56.jpegWhen Cuban exiles Lilian Rosa Morales and husband Manuel Ramirez were murdered in an execution-style shooting in Coral Gables shortly after midnight on Feb. 2, 1995, most news reports on the case focused on Morales.

After all, Morales, 25, was known as the host of a radio program on astrology and a flashy dresser who favored big hats in vivid colors. The reports noted that her recent New Year’s prediction that Fidel Castro would survive 1995 might have angered a listener.

Ramirez, 57, was mentioned in the reports only as her husband. They said he had died at Jackson Memorial Hospital soon after Morales was pronounced dead at the scene, around the corner from the WCMQ radio station on Ponce de Leon Boulevard.

Few people, in fact, knew at the time that Ramirez was a very important man. He had led the construction of Cuba’s top-security biological laboratories in the 1980s and was preparing to testify about the island’s bioweapons capabilities to the U.S. Congress when the couple was murdered, el Nuevo Herald has learned.

Ramirez also had directed the construction of some of Cuban ruler Fidel Castro’s offices and several military bunkers, and had received a U.S. visa under a semi-secret “national interest” program for top island defectors managed by exiles in Miami.

A former Cuban government official has now told the newspaper that the killer was a petty Havana thief living in Miami who was ordered by Havana officials, perhaps Castro himself, to murder Ramirez for allegedly stealing $2 million from the government.

The killer was nicknamed “Indio” and was rewarded afterward with permission to traffic narcotics from the island to South Florida, said the former government official, who asked to remain anonymous because of fear of retaliation.

No one was ever charged with the murders. The former official’s tale could not be confirmed independently, but some of his key assertions matched details of the case. The Miami-Dade Police Department declined to comment because the case remains active.

Role of Ramirez

Ramirez was clearly the star manager of Cuba’s key construction projects in the 1980s, including the Russian Embassy, the Convention Palace and eavesdropping-proof offices for Castro, which he listed in a nine-page résumé written shortly after he arrived in Miami in 1991.

But his key project was the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB) in western Havana, a complex of a dozen buildings and more than 100 individual laboratories, Ramirez wrote in the résumé, obtained by el Nuevo Herald.

Ramirez wrote that he had a good relationship with Castro because he headed the Havana branch of UNECA, Cuba’s top state construction firm, and Castro visited the CIGB project four or five times per week to discuss its progress.

A friend now in Miami confirmed that Ramirez was known to Castro. “Manolito managed to reach a high level of communication and acceptance with el Comandante,” the friend said. He and others interviewed for this story asked for anonymity to speak frankly.

The résumé adds that Ramirez and Castro eventually had “a couple of somewhat disagreeable arguments” that got him banished in 1986 to a UNECA project in Czechoslovakia. He did not explain the reasons for the clashes.

Continue reading HERE.

2 comments to Cuba’s biological weapons and an assassination in Miami

  • asombra

    More exile hysteria. Just because the guy looks like a mobster and the story sound plausible doesn't mean anything. It probably was an angry radio listener who offed them. You know how dangerous those Cuban exile fanatics are, which is why so many current and/or former communists and so many offspring of Castro regime big shots wouldn't dare live in Miami...Oh, they do, don't they? Uh, never mind.

  • antonio2009

    Brian Latell is quoted as saying: "there have been a number of known Cuban government attempts to assassinate defectors and others, especially people who angered Castro in some way." Amazingly, neither Latell nor the Herald provide a single name.
    Some Cuban defectors, such as Leonardo Fonseca (author of "De Angola a Miami," 1975) got involved in drug trafficking. Fonseca and FBI informant Pepe Barral and members of their gangs murdered each other in a shootout reminiscent of the O.K. Corral gunfight at the El Molino Rojo bar in Union City, NJ, in June 1985, as reported here
    http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/MNC/Barral.pdf
    DGI defector Florentino Azpillaga was wounded in London decades ago when he tried to get a former friend to defect and instead ended up getting shot.
    Here is the original article reporting this crime on February 2, 1995
    http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/exile/morad.htm
    Note the difference in both articles. The first one indicates that after only four years in the U.S., the couple bought a six-bedroom home worth $515,000, owned two condominiums worth $100,000 each, and had just purchased a bookstore in Coral Gables. Tamayo got the math wrong claiming they were "heavily mortgaged but valued at $660,000." He makes no mention of the new bookstore. The first article also lacked the intrigue, innuendo and spin so common in the Herald after its credibility plummeted, the newspaper stock bottomed out, the Herald has been frequently bought and sold, and its best reporters, like Mike Sallah, Gerardo Reyes and others, fled the shipwreck along with numerous editors and publishers. Historical background on the Herald’s yellow journalism and offenses against the Cuban exile community going back to 1965 can be read here
    http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/fiedler.htm
    April 30th will be the 38th anniversary of the attempted assassination of Emilio Milian
    http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/milian.htm
    Tamayo and Mexican reporter Alfonso Chardy began “investigating” this case some five years ago at the insistence of former editor Manny Garcia, a friend of Milian’s irascible son. Ever since Garcia left the helm of El Nuevo Herald to direct a tabloid shopper on the west coast of Florida, the Milian article has slumbered in limbo. Will Tamayo and Chardy resurrect it this month? Well, there’s always the 40th anniversary date.