Jose Basulto is the chief organizer of the Miami Cubans who want to block Juan Gonzalez from taking his son back to Cuba.  Basulto, the president of Brothers to the Rescue, arrived at the hospital where Elian was brought in from the sea wreck.  For mysterious reasons, the INS did not do what it does in every other case--immediately send the child back to its homeland as soon as possible. The INS usually keeps illegal immigrant children in its own custody and has humane facilities to treat and care for children during the several days it may take to arrange to send them home.   Instead, the INS released Elian into the custody of his distant Miami relatives.  The man behind this unusual INS move--Jose Basulto.  The INS officials behind this decision have not provided an explanation.

Basulto now looks back at his visit with Elian with religious fervor. "I've seen 450 cases of these rafters, and I've never seen one like this," said Basulto. "Two days with his feet dangling in the water and no fish bites? No scratches? Nothing? There's no other explanation: This was an act of God."  Soon Basulto and other members of the Little Havana community began to call Elian "El Milagro"--the miracle.  Basulto circulated the story that a school of dolphins nudged Elian to safety while angels scared off sharks.

Recently Basulto, whose pilot license was revoked by the FAA, after he and his fellow pilots were shot down by Cuba, stated he is preparing a more effective strike against Fidel Castro from within Cuba, "We are preparing plans to work with people inside the island."


On February 24, 1996, the US Secretary of State, Warren Christopher, raged at a "barbaric killing" by an "uncivilized" country, of four US citizens on a "humanitarian mission."  Cuba had shot down two planes belonging to the Brothers to the Rescue.  Four pilots died.  A third plane, piloted by Basulto narrowly escaped. (At the time of the shoot down, Basulto's plane never entered Cuban airspace; he just urged his Brothers to do so.)  The Brothers were shot down in international waters.  Basulto said they "had not been warned."   At that time, the Helms-Burton legislation was stalled.  Clinton would not back the bill.  However, Basulto stirred the wave of anti-Castro hysteria in Miami.  The US forced a resolution through the UN deploring Cuba's role in the incident. On March 5, 1996, the  US Senate voted 74 to 22 in favor of a final compromise version of legislation tightening the US embargo on Cuba, punishing other countries that trade with Cuba and allowing Cuban exiles in the US to sue to recover their property from Cuba.  On March 6, 1996,  US House of Representatives passed the package, known as the Helms-Burton bill.  In reaction to these forces, Clinton announced he would sign the Helms-Burton Act.

Several weeks later, evidence was obtained that the "Brothers" were not on a humanitarian mission of pulling refugees out of the ocean.  Instead they intended to drop anti-government leaflets over Havana during Carnival celebrations.  Twice, in January 1996, they had carried out similar missions and in the previous 18 months had illegally entered Cuban airspace 14 times. Cuba had warned the US that it would stop the Brothers' flights if nothing was done to curtail them.  The US only told the Brothers, it would not "be able to interfere" and suggested they not fly below the 24th parallel.

The US had advance knowledge of the Brothers' activities.  A Cuban agent, Juan Pablo Roque, had infiltrated the Brothers and was an FBI informant.  The FAA which requires pilots keep to a predetermined flight path or lose their license, looked the other way. (Eventually, the FAA did revoke Basulto's pilot's license.)

The Brothers to the Rescue was organized by the Cuban American National Foundation in 1991.  CANF was the prime sponsor of the Helms-Burton Act, which Clinton opposed until Cuba shot the planes down and four Brothers died.


The Helms Burton Act provides that foreign businessmen and their families will be denied US visas if they trade with Cuba.  Countries will be denied US aid for trading with Cuba and international aid agencies will be pressured into not donating or lending money by the threat of having their US contribution cut off.

But the major portion of the Act is Title III which provides that the Cuban exiles can sue in US courts TO GET BACK THEIR PROPERTY THAT CASTRO TOOK AWAY FROM THEM WHEN CASTRO DEFEATED BATISTA.  Click to read the Act.

Since the passage of the Act, President Clinton has suspended Title III repeatedly.  On February 1, 2000, President Clinton again suspended Title III for an additional six months.

The State Department Fact Sheet dated January 15, 2000 states: 

President Clinton has suspended for an additional six months, effective February 1, 2000, the provision of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act that allows U.S. nationals with claims to confiscated property in Cuba to file suit under Title III of the Act. In accordance with the Act, the President certified that a suspension is necessary to the national interest and will expedite a transition to democracy in Cuba. He has reported his determination to the appropriate Congressional committees. In reaching this decision, the President cited important continuing actions by our friends and allies to promote democracy in Cuba. 

The President allowed Title III to enter into force on August 1, 1996, but suspended for six months the provision that would permit American nationals to bring suit against persons trafficking in confiscated properties in Cuba claimed by a U.S. national. He did so in order to work with our friends and allies to develop a multilateral approach to advance democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms in Cuba. The President tasked the Department of State to undertake a new effort to develop international support for democracy and human rights in Cuba. Senior State Department officials met with leaders throughout Europe and Latin America from all sectors -- government, politics, private sector, labor, religion, and human rights -- to forge this new multilateral movement. While there remains substantial disagreement about the best approach to bring democracy to Cuba, all recognize that Cuba must undertake democratic change and respect human rights.


The first company to file under Title III for restitution of property was Freeport McMoRan, for the properties held by its antecedent corporation, Freeport Sulphur. Click to read the connections of Freeport McMoRan to Clay Shaw and the Kennedy assassination.  


Basulto has a long history of being a spook for Little Havana and its interests.

Date: 28 FEB 1996 06:35:24 GMT
From: Lisa Pease

Subject: Massive US Government Hypocrisy on Cuba

Neither the Government nor the corporate press are giving you the truth about the planes the Cubans downed, and what their leader really represents. Here is some background on Brothers to the Rescue founder, Jose Basulto Leon.


Jose Basulto Leon has had a lifetime of aggravating U.S.-Cuban relations, dating back to his participation in the ill-fated Bay of Pigs Operation. In August 1962 Jose Basulto Leon helped organize a raid on a de luxe Cuban hotel by members of the Cuban exile group DRE (Directorio Revolucionario Estudiantil). The DRE opened fire on the hotel from offshore; despite their intentions, no civilians were killed.

(In their book, The Fish Is Red, p. 132, Warren Hinckle and William Turner wrote that "the raid had been carefully planned and approved" by the CIA.)

At least two members of this group (Carlos "Batea" Hernandez and John Koch Gene) were arrested a year later in Louisiana, when the FBI raided an illegal DRE dynamite cache on Lake Pontchartrain. The FBI heard that a Basulto had also been present at the DRE arms cache, but Jose Basulto denied that he had been present. (Peter Dale Scott, Deep Politics, 305).

Felix Rodriguez told the Kerry Committee that he met Contra leaders Enrique Bermudez and Adolfo Calero in Miami at Jose Basulto’s home (Kerry Hearings, 340-41). He later wrote in his book Shadow Warrior that he and Basulto "have been like brothers" since their training together in Guatemala for the Bay of Pigs. He added that Basulto had "been to contra camps in Central America, helping to dispense humanitarian aid" (p. 109).

Basulto and Felix Rodriguez together appear to have been part of a plan for treating wounded Contras in Miami, worked out under the direction of Oliver North. A note in North’s diary reads "22-Jan-85 Medical Support System for wounded FDN [Contras] in Miami—HMO in Miami as oked to help all WIA [wounded in action]... Felix Rodriguez." This HMO was International Medical Centers (IMC), whose head (Cuban-American Miguel Recarey) fled the U.S. after being indicted in what Mother Jones called "the largest HMO Medicare fraud in U.S. history." Jose Basulto told the Wall Street Journal in 1987 that he had attended meetings at IMC with Felix Rodriguez and Adolfo Calero. A former agent of the Department of Health and Human Services told Stephen Pizzo of Mother Jones that Recarey used part of the $30 million a month he received to treat Medicare patients "to set up field hospitals for the contras" (Mother Jones, Sept./Oct. 1992, 31-33).

Most contra aid came from one of three sources: the CIA, Oliver North’s illicit operation, or drug-trafficking. The New York Times reported on January 20, 1987, that the DEA in Guatemala "had compiled convincing evidence" that the contra supply operation at Ilopango Air Force Base in El Salvador, where Felix Rodriguez was in charge, "was smuggling cocaine and marijuana." Celerino Castillo, the DEA Agent who compiled this evidence, later wrote that "Hundreds of flights each week [through Ilopango] delivered cocaine to the buyers and returned with money headed for...Panama....From Panama, the money was wired to a Costa Rican bank account held by the Contras" (Celerino Castillo, Powderburns: Cocaine, Contras, and the Drug War [Oakville, Ont.: Mosaic Press, 1994], 138-39).

Adolfo Calero’s brother Mario became part owner of a drug-trafficking airline, Hondu Carib, with one of the pilots flying for the Contras (Peter Dale Scott and Jonathan Marshall, Cocaine Politics, 57-58; cf. Celerino Castillo, 175).

Jose Basulto Leon has admitted his role in dropping leaflets over Havana in January 1996 (San Francisco Chronicle, 1/25/96). This imitated the October 1959 leafleting raid of the late Frank Sturgis alias Fiorini, who helped set up the Lake Pontchartrain training camp where Basulto was suspected by the FBI of being present (Scott, Deep Politics, 88-89).

The United States Government has claimed that the two planes accompanying Basulto’s were shot down while over international waters. One has to be wary of this claim. The U.S. Government also claimed that the U.S. destroyer Maddox was on "a routine patrol in international waters," when attacked by North Vietnam in the first Tonkin Gulf Incident of 1964. A Congressional investigation subsequently revealed that the Maddox had frequently violated the North Vietnamese twelve-mile limit. There were similar U.S. claims in response to the North Korean capture in 1968 of the spyship Pueblo; and these too dissolved when examined more closely (Peter Dale Scott, War Conspiracy, 52-53, 132-35).
Lisa Pease

If you can’t get the truth about the past, how can you expect to get the truth about the present?"
Jerry Brown, We The People talk show 1/11/96
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Rodriguez, Felix I. and Weisman, John. Shadow Warrior: The CIA Hero of a Hundred Unknown Battles. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1989. 283 pages.

"In this autobiography, Rodriguez details his relationship with the CIA and the anti-Castro resistance. After escaping Cuba in 1959 he joined the CIA-backed Brigade 2506. Rodriguez missed the Bay of Pigs, having been with a special squad trained to infiltrate into Cuba. In 1967 the CIA recruited him to head a team to hunt down leftist guerrilla Che Guevara in Bolivia. When Che was captured it was Rodriguez who interrogated him. After his execution he took Che’s Rolex watch as a souvenir (he still wears it today). The book includes a photo of Che with Rodriguez the day he was captured. In 1971 Rodriguez helped train Provincial Reconnaissance Units for Operation Phoenix in Vietnam. During the 1980’s he trained soldiers in El Salvador, and became involved with the Nicaraguan contras, Don Gregg, and vice-president George Bush.   -- Wendell Minnick."





THE TORBITT DOCUMENT:  Chapters 1 and 2 relevant to Little Havana.  Remaining Chapters will be loaded this week.  Click.

BEHIND THE ELIAN CASE by Jerry Meldon. Click to The Consortium at: