Former Cuban Agent Advocates Infiltration of US Cuban Exile Groups

By Jim Burns | July 7, 2008 | 8:10 PM EDT

( - A former Cuban government security agent said Cuba needs to infiltrate Cuban exile groups in the United States because that's the only way to prevent "terrorist groups" in Florida from attacking the island.

Radio Havana, the official voice of the Castro government, on Wednesday quoted the former security agent, Percy Francisco Alvarado Godoy, as saying that in order to prevent incidents such as the 1997 Havana hotel bombings, in which an Italian tourist was killed, it was essential for Cuba to infiltrate organizations such as the Cuban American National Foundation. Godoy accuses the CANF of organizing what he called "terrorist acts" against Cuba.

He also criticized American authorities for failing to stop the exile group's activities, something that in his opinion forces the Castro government to act in its own self-defense.

The Cuban-American National Foundation denied that it sponsors terrorist acts inside Cuba. CANF spokesperson Mariela Ferretti said the Castro government is simply trying to justify the infiltration of anti-Castro groups by its agents.

"The FBI hasn't done anything against the Cuban-American National Foundation because there is doing to do," Ferretti said.

"We are a legitimate organization that was created 20 years ago. We have made a reputable name for ourselves and we have absolutely nothing to do with any of the actions that have taken place inside of Cuba, which the Cuban government would like to pin on the foundation," she said.

The Castro government in the past has made no secret of its disdain for the CANF as a "terrorist group" and Ferretti acknowledged that CANF is the Castro government's "number one enemy."

"That is so because of the work that we have developed over the course of 20 years in Washington, D.C., and around the world," she said, adding that, "Everywhere Cuba attempts to go to promote or widen their influence, the foundation has been there to respond and that is what bothers them. The foundation has nothing to do with violent activities," Ferretti said.

Ferretti also believes the Castro government is paranoid about the CANF because the group is so well known inside of Cuba.

"We are dedicated and devoted in what we see as the cause of freedom for Cuba. We have been seen by media analysts and others as the most influential Cuban exile organization in the United States, and I think that's definitely cause for concern for the Cuban government."

"They would like nothing more than to slander us because our works speaks for itself and it's absurd that the regime that is known for terrorism and provides safe haven for them inside Cuba is pointing the finger at us as terrorists," Ferretti concluded.

Earlier this week, the FBI announced it expects to make more arrests in connection with a Cuban spy network that sought to infiltrate Miami's anti-Castro Cuban-exile organizations and the United States military command for the Americas. Two people, a husband and wife team, were arrested and taken into custody last Friday.

FBI officials said it was the "largest" Cuban spy ring ever detected by bureau investigators.

George Gari and his wife, Marisol were arrested and charged as members of a Cuban espionage operation known as "the wasp network."

Agents said the two went by the code names of "Luis" and "Margot." Their arrests bring to 16 the number of people indicted since 1998 in an ongoing investigation of Cuban espionage operations in the U.S.

Both were named in a three-count indictment on charges of conspiracy to act as agents of foreign governments without proper identification or notice to the attorney general of the United States. If convicted, they could receive 15 years in jail.

FBI officials allege that the Garis committed espionage between 1991 and 1998. George Gari was employed by Lockheed Martin in Orlando and had been ordered by his Cuban handlers to apply for work at the U.S. military command for the Americas. Officials would not elaborate further.