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Weinglass takes aim at Brothers to the Rescue founder Jose Basulto.

Attorney Leonard Weinglass, attempting to justify why convicted Cuban spy Rene Gonzalez infiltrated Miami-based Brothers to the Rescue, angrily criticized Bay of Pigs veteran Jose Basulto, founder of the exile group whose two planes were shot down by the Cuban Air Force in February 1996.

"As you know, the Neutrality Act prohibits U.S. citizens from launching an attack against another country, particularly one we're at peace with," notes Weinglass.

"An individual named Jose Basulto comes into federal district court in Miami, under oath, and acknowledges that [in 1962] he fired a cannon 16 times at a civilian hotel on the shore in Cuba, striking the hotel each and every time, and that was testimony given by an American under oath in a federal courtroom about a military attack against a country that we're at peace with. There is absolutely no request that that result in an indictment of the Neutrality Act. No media raised it. No lawyers raised it. And Basulto walks out."

That August 1962 attack on the Rosita Hornedo Hotel in Havana's Miramar district was launched by the militant anti-Castro youth group DRE [Revolutionary Student Directorate], which included Basulto and others who had snuck into Cuba by small boat from South Florida.

There were no reports of deaths from that incident. In a subsequent interview with American journalist Jefferson Morley, Basulto admitted that he bought the cannon at a Miami pawnshop for that incursion. One of DRE's members was Jorge Mas Canosa, who would later launch the pro-embargo Cuban American National Foundation.

One exile website claims the guests staying at the hotel during that incident were Eastern European advisers, and that DRE militants present in Cuba passed along information on Soviet missile installations there, which eventually led to the Cuban Missile Crisis showdown between President Kennedy and the Soviets only a few months later.

Weinglass also used Basulto's past activities to explain the Castro regime's treatment of Brothers to the Rescue as a terrorist group, noting that the group flew over Havana numerous times to drop antiCuban government leaflets.

"Unfortunately, four people died," said the lawyer, referring to the pilots of two of the three Cessna-337 Skymasters shot down over Cuba in the 1996 incident.

"But when you hear the facts, Cuba was exercising its right to protect its airspace against people who over the previous 20 months violated its airspace 25 times, by a group intent on changing that government. What would happen if someone came to Washington, and overflew 25 times to foment revolution here? Wouldn't the U.S. defend its airspace in a similar situation?"

Basulto, who won a $1.75 million federal judgment in 2005 against the Castro regime, couldn't be reached for comment for this story.

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Title Annotation:Attorney Leonard Weinglass v Cuban spy Rene Gonzalez
Author:Echevarria, Vito
Article Type:Case overview
Geographic Code:5CUBA
Date:Apr 1, 2010
Previous Article:Radical lawyer Leonard Weinglass on the Cuban Five.
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