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December 9, 2016
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December 14, 2000
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May 31, 1972
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NEW YORK DAILY IIEWS Approved For Release 2001/0394 M IA3ftP80-01.601 ??? ' I Owner IsAnti-Castro e+o ~~1k The Bahamas Line has an of- fice in Miami, headed by Teofilo ? a Babun, whose family is known for its anti-Castro feelings. ti Babun said that he did not ask for such protection. "They (U.S. fl ? warships) patrol the waters gen- erally, erallYnot especially for us he_ ~3 z t said.~ ,, ? By MERWIN SIGALI; A Pentagon spokesman also denied "providing protection. to Miami, May 30 - Four Pana- any one specific line." manian-flag cargo vessels of the Keep Ships in Sight Bahamas Line, owned by an anti- But other sources maintained Castro Cuban exile family, are that the U.S. warships, aware of operating in international waters the Bahamas Line schedules, pur- near Cuba under the protection posely patrolled international iva- of U.S. warships. The warships ters used by the Bahamas Lines, are under orders to protect the sometimes keeping those ships in merchant ships by force against sight for hours. attacks or seizure by the Cuban The patrols operate mainly in Navy, high-level sources reported the Windward Passage, a 55- today. n:iile-wide channel between Cuba The sources said the orders and Haiti. Bahamas Line vessels ? were, issued by the Pentagon in often use the passage on cargo December, and again in February, runs between Miami, the Domtni- with a special eye to the Bahamas can Republic and Haiti. Line, owner of two cargo vessels On patrol duty- are a 165-foot seized by Cuban subchasers Dec. gunboat from the U.S. naval 5 and Dec. 15 in, international base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, waters, ' 120. miles northeast of and destroyers training at Guan- Cuba.. tanamo Applies to All Ships The Pentagon order applies. generally to any friendly cargo ship threatened, but, in practice, close surveillance by the U.S. warships is applied only for the Bahamas Line vessels. / It is assumed that the four. Bahamas Line vessels now oper- ating, / Oniar Express, William Express, Jose Express, and Lincoln Express, would he prime targets of Prime Minister Fidel Castro in a crisis. Castro ordered the takeover of two other ships of the Bahamas Line, the Johnny Express and the Layla Express, claiming that they were serving the Central Intelligence Agency by landing guerrillas and arms in Cuba. STATINTL Approved For Release 2001/03/04: CIA-RDP80-01601 R000900160001-8 Approved For Release 2QQ O4 71CIA-I R8U L601 . erbewir sy R~ariIyn`Berger Washington Post staff writer The State Department yes- terttay renewed denials that the :U. S. government was in- volved in any plans to attack Cuban territory. This followed a Soviet charge on Monday that' Washington was behind vans. There is no clear indication The denial by State Depart- why Cuba moved against the ment spokesman Charles W. two ships now. But informed Bray followed a Tass commen- officials in Washington are tary"supporting Cuban allef;a- : inclined to see it as retaliation 'tionS that the United States connected with a recent straf- was" Involved in "pirate acts ing attack by Cuban exiles on against Cuba" and that two a Cuban fishing village. In ships seized this month by IIa- that incident, Cuban exiles vana' were owned by persons claimed credit for a landing at having connections with the Boca de Sama on Cuba's Central Intelligence Agency. northeast coast on Oct. 12. While Cuban exile groups Two persons were killed and with headquarters in Miami four others injured. have attempted to stage what Radio Havana blamed that have" become known as "pin- attack on "the government of prick attacks" on Cuban the United States and its ac- shor'es, U. S. officials = id they complices." A Cuban exile had ,no reason to belie ve that group headed by Jose Elias de either ship-the Lyla i.xpress la Torriente claimed responsi- seized Dec. 5 or the Johnny bility and called it the begin Express seized Dec. 15-were ning of a series of actions to thing but com- overthrow Fodel Castro. n d i y n a engage mercial pursuits. Some U.S. officials also sug- Tass connected efforts by Following the seizure of the gested that there might be a some Latin American' coun- connection between the sei-'i tries to improve relations with Panamanian registered Johnny Express in Bahamian waters, zures and the current visit to i Cuba to the U.S naval alert in the jlnin States warned Moscow of Cuban President the Caribbean. "The wide Cuba that it would take "ad Osvaldo Dorticos. He arrived movement for normalization measures under international there yesterday on what Tass ^ of relations with Cuba that law" to protect American and called a "friendship visit." spread in the Western Hemi other ships against Cuban at- News of the visit took U.S. ` sphere causes extreme irrita- officials by surprise. U.S. offi? tiara in Washington circles," 1tacks. vials noted that Cuba has fre- the commentary said. "They The State Department char?.,quently used the continuing refuse to reconcile themselves, acterized the Cuban action as U S threat against the Castro to the bankruptcy of their] a "clear and present threat to regime as a lever for winning policy of isolation of Cuba and the fi cednm of navigation and international commerce in the Soviet aid. They noted that new resort to every means to l Caribbean and a threat to the aid agreement between ! make Latin American coun-] American citizens." the two countries generally' tries continue to follow their In its commentary Monday, comes up for renegotiation in anti-Cuban course." Tass called the naval alert January and that the Dorticos Mexico never broke rela- "completely. groundless" and i visit might. be preliminary to tions with Cuba, and Chile has charged that the two ships, that negotiation. recently reestablished its ties owned by Cubans who had ! State Department officials with the Castro regime. ltaken political asylum in the 1 said the United States tried to Sources at the OAS suggested United States, ''were widely discourag: exile plans to at. that a new effort may be made ased by the Central Intelli- tack Cuba and noted that the to lift sanctions against Cuba gence Agency ... for criminal' Coast Guard has frequently at the annual meeting in actions" againsA tOVed F'u"r'FteffaS '2bCff/O"J1O4 snt rtLA nOt01i6UiL 000900160001-8 f (41 0-1/ YJ The'ships belong to the Bat1-~''cious expeditions. The officials' ernment connection with. the ,.hama Lines, run by four"lsaid it is a violation of his im two vessels that were seized, 1 brothers, who are Cuban ex- I migration status for an exile left open the possibility that to become involved in any po- the ships, and their owners, Iles and who have been in- litical activity. may at one time have been in- volved in Cuban exile affairs. The action by. the Castro volved in anti-Castro activi- ITass said that when the ves- government against the two lies. But they suggested that sels were seized, "they had on vessels coincided with a move that may have been in the board armed thugs who were by Peru in the Organization of heyday of Cuban exile activity to land on Cuban territory and American States to lift sane- between 1961 and 1963. tions imposed in 1964 against j Cuba's official Communist the Cuban regime. In an infor- newspaper "Granma" called mal OAS on Dec. 13, Peru the denial by the U.S. govern- sought to sound out the atti- ment of any connection with the seized vessels a "shameful tilde of other members toward ,:_., fishdiplomatic, consular, coo., ton's originall denial of any In- volvement in the 1961 Bay of mercial relations with Cuba. Pigs invasion. But State De- The United States took the partment officials said the position, as enounced by State ships are involved in a regular Department spokesman Rob-1 steamship service between ert J. McCloskey on Dec. 16,1 Miami, Haiti and the Domini- that "present circumstances' can Republic. do not justify altering the; They add that according to OAS decisions on sanctions ! crew lists supplied by the Ba- since by virtue of its continu-: hama Lines there were no Cu- ing interventionist behavior bans aboard the Johnny Ex and its support for revolution, press, except for the captain, Cuba remains a threat to the Jose Villa, a Cuban-born U.S. peace and security of the hem- citizen, and two Cubans is phere." In a formal, closed aboard the Lyla Express. meeting Friday,: Peru with- drew its suggestion. .w hile denying any U.S. gov- CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR Approved For Release Z&V50 d 7 CIA-RDP80-01601 R Freighters seized Et UoS0, Cuba sle Caribbean watch, By James Nelson Goodsell Latin America correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor Havana and Washington stepped up their surveillance of Caribbean waters around Cuba over the weekend in the wake of Cuba's seizure of two United States-based freighters. The heightening of tension between the two nations, which could lead to some sort of new confrontation, came as the State Department confirmed London reports that a high-level Cuban intelligence officer had defected in London to the United States. Informants said the defector carried with him information on an alleged new Cuban- backed Latin-American liberation move- ment. According to one source, the Cubans are eager to set up some sort of head- .quarters for revolutionary activity in the Chilean capital of Santiago. The report on the defector, which ap- peared first in the Daily Telegraph of Lon- don, did not mention his name nor would the Department of State give his name. Precautionary measures The Department of Defense, meanwhile, announced it had taken "certain precaution. ary measures" in its continuing surveillance of Cuba, but it refused to amplify. There were indications, however, that the "pre- cautionary measures" included stepped-up, United States military-aircraft-and-ship measures. For its part, Cuba announced it had put its air and naval units on alert. Moreover, Havana said it would continue to act against ships that allegedly carry on pirating ac- tivities against Cuba, the implication being that Havana regards the Panamanian-reg- istered freighter Johnny Expresso, which it seized last Wednesday, as one such ship. The ship was seized in Bahama's waters, 100 miles from Cuba. The Havana newspaper Granma, official organ of the Central Committee of the Cu- ban Communist Party, headlined a front- page editorial on the issue: "Hypocritical lying and threatening declaration of the Yankee State Department." Meeting with family President Nixon last Thursday met with the family of Jose Villa, the Johnny Ex- presso's captain, and pledged to seek his release. He is a naturalized American of Cuban birth. Havana earlier had claimed that the Johnny Expresso. like other Miami-based ships manned largely by Cuban exiles, was involved in action against Cuba and was in the service of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. Just where the current tension betwee4 Washington and Havana is leading is hard' to tell. But the situation tends to blunt of-i forts on the part of some people in the; United States to seek a rapprochement with: Cuba. Moreover, it comes at a time when the. Organization of American States (OAS) is: debating a change in its eight-year-old stand; isolating the government of Cuban Premier Fidel Castro. Whether the Havana-Washington tension. and now the disclosures of a new Cuban de- fector, will affect this debate in the OAS is not clear. Those supporting an end to Cuba's OAS-imposed isolation do not appear to have enough votes anyway to swing a change.. The editorial said the State Department's comments on the capture of the Johnny Expresso and its sister ship, Lylia Express, A moa~~~P F8?0 2001103Y04: CIA-RDP80-01601 R000900160001-8 o resident ixon is trying to make tenser the climate of hysteria and threats against Cuha." Y i n.. ,Uftt .ii7M 18 DEC X71 Approved For Release 2001/03/04: CIA-RDP80-01601 R00 U.S. WAINNS CUBA ON SHIP A' TACKIS Denounces Latest Seizure, Vows to Take Measures to Protect Vessels By TAD SZULC Sped] to The Yew Ynrk Time f1 WASHINGTON, Dec. 17-The United States warned Cuba to- 'day that it would take "all measures under international law" to protect American and. other ships in the Caribbean from any new attacks by the Cubans. The warning was contained in a denunciation issued by the ,State Department over Wednes- 'day's strafing and seizure of a 'Miami-based freighter by a Cu ,ban gunboat, the second such' ,incident this month, and the subsequent announcement last night that Cuba would attack "pirate" ships "no matter the distance from our coasts or the flag." Robert J. McCloskey, the State Department spokesman who issued today's warning, de- clined to specify what measures the United States would take. Orders Reported Issued But it was authoritatively understood that orders were be- ing issued to naval and air units in the Caribbean to pro- vide armed assistance to any vessel, American or foreign, that might find itself under at- tack by the Cubans. . The State Department de- scribed the Cuban actions as a "clear and present threat to the freedom of navigation and international commerce in the Caribbean and a threat to American. citizens." The captain of the ship seized Wednesday, Josd Villa, is a nat- uralized American ' of Cuban birth. President Nixon engaged his own prestige in this latest con- frontation with Havana when he personally assured the cap- tain's wife, Isabel, that he would do all he could to obtain his release. Captain Villa, who was wounded, is under detention in Cuba, which has ignored de- mands by the United States, sent through the Swiss Embas- sy in Havana, that he be freed. The captured freighter is the Johnny Express, which flies a Panamanian flag but is based in Miami and is owned by the Bahama Lines in that city. The: Bahama Lines, which has six freighters, belongs to four; Babun brothers who are Cuban refugees. The Lylia Express, first of. the Babun ships to be attacked, was seized off the coast of Cuba on Dec. 5. The Johnny Express was strafed, rammed and captured near Little Inagua Island in the Bahamas. Cuba Charges C.I.A. Links Cuba charged that both ships were engaged in "piracy" and that their owners had connec. tions with the Central Intellig- ence Agency. This was denied in Miami by Tedfilo 13abun, one of the brothers. In Washington, Mr. McClos- key said, in reply to questions, "I can assure you that these vessels were on innocent pas- sage and in no way were con- nected to the United States Government." American officials were not certain why Cuba has appar- ently chosen this time for new frictions with the United States and has risked the possibility of actual clashes with American forces, if additional ships are attacked in the Caribbean. But the impression among officials concerned with Cuban affairs was that Havana was inviting tension when it made the statement last night that) "the ships that perpetrate acts of piracy against our country will be treated without leni- ency, no matter the distance from our coasts or the flag or camouflage they use to perpe- trate their crimes." Officials here said that it wasp this threat that had led di- i rectly to the State Depart- ment's warning of reprisals. Boy Returns From Cuba MIAMI, Fla., Dec. 17 (Reu- ters)-Robert McKinley Jr., 16 years old, arrived back in Mi- ami today alter being detained for more than six weeks in Cu- ba. He was one of five crewmen taking a fire-damaged schooner to Key West when Cuban gun- boats captured them for invad- ing Cuban waters. STATINTL Approved For Release 2001/03/04: CIA-RDP80-01601 R000900160001-8 I/ MIAMI HERALD Approved For Release 2001/03l04DCJ P80-0160 Castro Calls Attack Reprisal for Raids E*iles on Cuba By WILLIAM MONTALBANO Herald Latin America Correspondent The Cuban government Thursday portrayed its attack on the Miami-based freighter Johnny Express as a direct reprisal for exile raids against the Fidel Castro regime. The Panamanian-registered Johnny Express, at- tacked Wednesday near the Bahamian island of Little Tna,.;ua, made port Thursday in Cuba's Oriente Province under escort from Cuban naval units. On Key Biscayne, President Nixon met with the wife and three children of Jose Villa, the freighter's captain, and said the United States would demand Villa's return. . Villa, a citizen, and several members of his crew were reported wounded in the attack, which the Cuban government state= ment acknowledged had oc- curred in international wa- ters. In a dramatic account of the attack by radio, Villa said at one point that he was dying. But White House, press secretary Ronald Zieg- ler said Thursday that Villa was alive in Cuba. Ziegler called the attack on the Johnny Express "deplora- ble ... an unconscionable act .. clearly in violation of in- ternational practice...." But U.S. authorities stressed that the incident would be of most immediate concern to the governmci't of Panama, because the Johnny Express was not only Iricgis- tered in Panama but also owned by a Panamanian cor- poration. "WE DO HAVE some in- terest-because at least one of the persons aboard, the cap- tain, is an American citizen," said Ziegler. He said the United States was maintain- ing close contact with the Panamanian Embassy in Washington. naturalized STATINTL "Cuba will not hesitate to act at any distance from our coast where these pirate ships are operating and under whatever flag or cam- ouflage they are carrying out their crimes against our na- tion," said the Cuban govern- ment statement as heard on Radio Havana. The statement accused the Cuban exile Bahun family, operators of the Express ves- sels, of being "well-known counter revolutionary agents in the service of the U.S. government." The Cuban statement re- called an exile attack Oct. 12 on the coastal fishing village of Boca de Sama in Oriente, in which several persons were killed and others injured, including a -13-year-old girl whose leg had to be amputat- ed. the Cuban charges of CIA ,connections. The family claimed the'at- tack on the Johnny Express was part of a personal ven- detta against the Babuns by Fidel Castro, UPI reported TIIE JOHNNY Express, like the Lyla Express, was en route back to Miami from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, when it was attacked. 'rhe Lyla Express, the C u b a n government has charged, landed exile guerril- las in Cuba "from bases lo- cated on United States terri- tory" on three occasions in 1968 and 1969. The crew of the Lyla Ex- press included two Cuban ex- iles, as well as Colombians, Haitians, Hondurans and Guatemalans. "It was one of dozens of American /similar crimes committed by The Bahamas Line, opera- the imperialistic government tors of the freighter, said the of the United States against crew included nine Domini- Cuba," the statement said. cans, two Haitians and two Spaniards. In acknowledging the at- tack, the Cuban government called the Johnny Express a "pirate ship" in the service of the U.S. Central Intellik gence Agency. The statement said: "This ship, like the Lyla Express, which was captured Dec. 5 in the same area, was flying the Panamanian flag to facilitate its activities of transporting arms and men to Cuba." In a telephone conversa- tion with The Herald, a man at the Cuban Foreign Minis- try in Havana confined him- self to the governments state- ment. He iefused to say where the crewmen were being held, or how many were wounded and what their conditions were. THERE WAS some specu- lation that the 1,400-ton Johnny Express had been taken to the port of Baracoa in Oriente. The Lyla Express has been held there since its capture, and the Cuban gov- ernment has said it would bring criminal charges CUBA CHARGED the at- tackers at Boca de Sama reached the village in a speedboat launched from "a /mother ship." The Cuban statement did not directly link any of the Bahama Line Express vessels to the attack. Informed U.S. sources here said the "mother 'ship" at Boca de Sama was a vessel called the Aquarius, owned by the exile organization C u b a n Liberation Front, which claimed responsibility for the attack. The Babun family is promi- nent among anti-Castro ex- ilesherep At least two mem- bers of the family are veter- ans of the Bay of Pigs inva- sion and once police arrested two Babuns and seized a large quantity of explosives from their shipyard here.. ONE OF the brothers, Teo- filo, had a Herald reporter ejected from the Bahamas Line offices Thursday. He said he was angered by an article on the family's back- ground, published Thursday morning. comment from the Panaman- UUt, He ucuieu, accoruing ion governme~4pproved F5 eIease42e eov17d %WtfArR '04d- 01 R000900160001-8