Otto Reich's poster, 4/01
The Least We Know: Otto Reich and narcoterrorist Orlando Bosch, 4/01
Washington Office on Latin America, Washington, DC
IMPORTANT ACTION ALERT on Herr Otto Juan Reich appointment as Assistant Secretary, 3/25 What you can do!
Bush nominates Herr Otto Juan Reich as
WHO IS OTTO REICH?
He is now Bush’s Nominee for Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs! Your senators still need to vote on his confirmation; call them toll free at 800-374-6702.
|The Least We Know: Otto Reich and Orlando Bosch, 4/01
Washington Office on Latin America, Washington, DC
Summary of the facts:
An incomplete documentary trail indicates that while serving as U.S. ambassador to Venezuela between 1986 and 1989, Otto Reich paid careful attention to the case of Orlando Bosch, a Cuban exile terrorist who was released from prison in Venezuela in 1987.
Bosch, a Miami resident but not a U.S. citizen, had spent years in U.S. jails for terrorist activities. Wanted for questioning in a murder case in 1974, Bosch had violated his parole by leaving the country. He traveled to Venezuela, Chile, Costa Rica and other parts of Latin America and then was arrested in Venezuela in 1976 for the dynamiting of a Cuban airliner in Barbados, with the loss for 73 lives. U.S. agencies and Venezuelan authorities both considered him the author of that crime. Bosch was regarded as one of the most notorious terrorists of the time.
About six weeks after Reich presented his credentials in Caracas, a Venezuelan judge ordered Bosch "absolved" of the aircraft bombing. Embassy cables show that Reich immediately inquired about Bosch's possible return to the U.S. in the first of several cables spanning about a year and a half, both before and after Bosch's actual release from the Venezuelan prison.
Upon Bosch's return to Miami in 1988, he was arrested for illegal entry into the U.S. and his detention triggered a political uproar in certain exile circles. Securing Bosch's freedom became a cause celebre for some politicians, who lobbied then-President Bush for a pardon.
In June 1989 the Justice Department concluded that Bosch should be deported from the U.S. because he "has repeatedly expressed and demonstrated a willingness to cause indiscriminate injury and death." Rejecting that recommendation, the Bush administration paroled Bosch in 1990, and granted him an administrative pardon in 1992.
The core issue is why a US ambassador would concern himself with the well-being of a foreign national whom US intelligence agencies had long considered a violent terrorist.
An additional question is why the Bush administration ultimately verruled the Justice Department and INS, issuing a pardon to a serial terrorist who showed no remorse and was still considered extremely dangerous.
The case suggests a complex relationship between Reich and members of the Cuban exile communities in both Venezuela and the U.S. and U.S. politicians. A full investigation would encompass the politically connected anti-Castro militants in Miami who in 1989-90 interceded with then-President George President on Bosch's behalf, as well as the anti-Castro exile community in Venezuela.
Venezuelan officials such as former President Carlos Andres Perez who were familiar both with the prosecution of Bosch and with Reich's record in Caracas may have a useful perspective both on the freeing of Bosch case and on Reich's record as a diplomat.
Before the bomb destroyed the Cubana de Aviacion flight on Oct. 6, 1976, US officials had suspected that Bosch was planning an attack on a civilian airplane. They had asked that he be deported from Venezuela to the U.S. on the grounds of his parole violation. Among the 73 people killed were 24 members of the Cuban Olympic fencing team, mostly teenagers.
When Otto Reich began his term as U.S. ambassador to Venezuela in June, 1986, Orlando Bosch had been imprisoned for 10 years as mastermind of the attack. On July 21, 1986, six weeks after Reich had presented his credentials in Caracas, a Venezuelan judge issued an initial ruling that Bosch was innocent of the aircraft bombing. Former President Carlos Andres Perez said that the Bosch file had been tampered with.
The ruling required an additional stage of judicial review and Bosch was not actually released from prison until the next year. But in the same cable in which Reich reported that Bosch had been "absolved", he immediately began querying Washington about Bosch's eligibility to return to the U.S.
On September 1, 1987 Reich informed the State Department that several Caracas papers had reported that Bosch, who had been released a few weeks earlier, had sent a letter to a conference of intellectual dissidents in Caracas thanking them for having invited him to serve as president of the conference. Reich's cable said the letter also thanked Bosch's "compatriot Otto Reich" for his efforts in behalf of their common goals. Reich denied contact with Bosch and said that the letter might be "Soviet-Cuban disinformation."
Other diplomatic cables from Reich to the State Department indicate that Reich warned Washington that Bosch was a candidate to be the target of a Cuban hit squad, and reported that Bosch's friends, with whom he was in contact, were ready to "whisk him out of the country on four hours' notice." In December 1987 a cable signed by Reich requested clearance for issuance of an immigrant visa for Bosch.
The U.S. visa was not issued and in February 1988 when Bosch returned to Miami, he was detained for the prior parole violation and for illegal entry. Bosch's rearrest became an instant cause celebre in certain Miami circles. The pressure for his pardon and release became a central focus of the 1988 political campaign of Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), whose campaign manager at the time was Jeb Bush, now governor of Florida. In 1990 the Bush administration paroled Bosch, and in 1992 it quietly granted an administrative pardon.
"The release from jail of Orlando Bosch," wrote the New York Times in a July 20, 1990, editorial, "is a startling example of political justice. The Justice Department, under no legal compulsion but conspicuous political pressure, has let him out, winning cheers from local politicians-and squandering American credibility on issues of terrorism.
"In the name of fighting terrorism," the editorial continued, "the United States has sent the Air Force to bomb Libya and the Army to invade Panama. Yet now the Bush administration coddles one of the hemisphere's most notorious terrorists. And for what reason? The only one evident is currying favor in South Florida."
After Bosch was pardoned, he remained defiantly unrepentant. Newspaper accounts indicate that he defended the bombing of the passenger plane as "a legitimate act of war" and called the agreement he had signed forswearing violence and setting conditions on his release "a farce."
Bosch reportedly boasted, "They purchased the chain, but they don't have the monkey."
The documentary evidence on Reich's dealings in behalf of Bosch is incomplete. In response to a 1993 Freedom of Information Act request filed by the National Security Archive the State Department reported finding 352 documents relating to Bosch, but it only released 188 of them. Material in 31 documents was excised, and 92 documents were withheld in full on the grounds of national security.
Backup documents that may be useful in understanding the case:
Kissinger cable, Oct. 1976
|CRITICAL ACTION ALERT!
HEARINGS HAVE NOT BEEN SCHEDULED YET - PLEASE ACT NOW!
According to news reports, Sen. Graham is supporting the appointment of Otto Reich.
Florida junior Sen. Bill Nelson has not committed - and HE IS ON THE FOREIGN
RELATIONS COMMITTEE, who will review Reich's appointment before it is sent to
floor for vote.
Please call/write to Senator Nelson and ask that he NOT SUPPORT THIS NOMINATION!!!
In this post is contact information for all Members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,
1. a link to send letters to all members at once, or individually.
2. snail-mail addys, Phone and Fax numbers
3. IMPORTANT INFORMATION about getting your message delivered!
4. important information for FLORIDA RESIDENTS
For superb information on Otto Reich, go to National Security Archives at:
Email: The following links allow you to directly email Committee members with public email addresses listed below en mass. (Note: These group emailing links may not work with some browsers.) Mail all 17 Committee Members who have
Senate Foreign Relations Website: WWW Homepage: http://www.senate.gov/~foreign/
*** All Senate addresses are Washington, DC 20510
| Sat, 24 Mar 2001
**I worked at the NS Archives for Peter Kornbluh in 1998...they are a superb source of info on this criminal...below are links to their Electronic Briefing Book on Otto Reich...please forward to your local media if you have time... interesting info for everyone!
In solidarity, Paddy Newell
* The final document included here is an April 15, 1984 memo drafted by Mr. Reich for Secretary of State George Shultz to send to President Reagan, describing a specific intervention by Mr. Reich with CBS News as an example of the day-to-day work of the public diplomacy office. ************************************************************
Note: The following documents are in PDF format. You will need to download and install the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view.
Report of the Congressional Committees Investigating the Iran-Contra Affair, November 13, 1987, Excerpt, 2 pp.
NSC Intelligence Document, Oliver North to Robert C. McFarlane, Timing and the Nicaraguan Resistance Vote, March 20, 1985, 8 pp.
|By RAFAEL LORENTE
Washington Bureau, Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale)
Posted March 23 2001
FOr the rest of this story, see http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/nationworld/search/sfl-areich23mar23.story
|THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS
SUNDAY - MARCH 4, 2001
HEADLINE: Iran-contra figure up for key aide's job Critics say his views on Cuba could hurt relations with Mexico
BY ALFREDO CORCHADO / The Dallas Morning News
WASHINGTON - A Cuba hard-liner who was a controversial figure in the Iran-contra scandal, Otto Juan Reich, appears poised to be tapped as President Bush's assistant secretary of state for Western Hemispheric affairs.
Critics fear the move will damage closer U.S. relations with the hemisphere, especially Mexico.
Mr. Reich, a Cuban-American who is a staunch anti-Communist and former ambassador to Venezuela, is undergoing a State Department background check. He would oversee U.S. foreign policy toward Latin America and Canada at a time when the region is undergoing its biggest political transformation in decades and the Bush administration is touting closer ties.
Mr. Reich didn't respond to several requests for an interview.
Although his views appear to reflect those of Mr. Bush, his nomination would probably create a conflict with some key U.S. trading partners in the region and halt momentum by a growing number of conservative business leaders and farmers who want to open new markets in Cuba.
Moreover, it threatens to set up a showdown during confirmation hearings between Florida's powerful Cuban-American exile lobby, which strongly supported Mr. Bush in the election and is firmly behind Mr. Reich, and a bipartisan group of congressional leaders.
Already, some members of Congress are preparing for a "contentious battle," said a legislative aide familiar with the process, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Some analysts say they fear that the nomination of Mr. Reich would not only set the tone for a more hardened U.S. policy to Cuba, but could also sour goodwill gestures to the rest of the Americas, setting up a showdown with Mexico.
Mexico, which has been touting a relationship with the United States complete with building "bridges of understanding" with Central and South America, has sharply disagreed with the 40-year-old U.S. embargo of Cuba.
"President Bush and [Secretary of State Colin] Powell have shown a very good will toward Mexico and Latin America, and we hope that will translate into naming people with adequate credentials for the job," said Rafael Fernandez de Castro, editor of the Mexican version of Foreign Affairs magazine. "Otto doesn't have those credentials. He will create unnecessary friction and tensions."
MANY OTHERS DISAGREE. Dennis Hays, executive vice president of the Cuban American National Foundation office in Washington, praised the prospect of Mr. Reich being appointed.
"I think he'd be a spectacular choice. He'd bring lots of experience to the region," Mr. Hays said.
[NOT IN EL NUEVO HERALD TRANSLATION]
The issue of Cuba apparently created tension in the recent meeting between Mr. Bush and Mexican President Vicente Fox. When the topic came up, according to sources knowledgeable about the meeting at Mr. Fox's ranch in Guanajuato, "the two sides seemed to talk over each other."
Nonetheless, an official with the National Security Council who was present at the meeting said: "Far from [that] characterization, all the exchanges were friendly, honest and direct. In fact, this frankness was what made the meetings so successful and valuable for both presidents."
One leading advocate of closer U.S. ties with Cuba says the proposed nomination may be an outgrowth of the hotly contested presidential election in Florida. Cuban-Americans strongly backed Mr. Bush in November, according to exit polls, and have also been strong supporters of his brother Jeb Bush, the Florida governor, who is expected to be running for re-election next year.
"Jeb's re-election bid in Florida and [President Bush's] debt to the Cuban-American community in Florida, I'd think, played a role in Otto being the front-runner," said Wayne Smith, a longtime Cuba analyst and former head of the U.S. Interest Office in Havana.
[END FIRST SECTION NOT IN EL NUEVO HERALD] -------------------------------------
Supporters of Mr. Reich, led by longtime ally Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., reject the view that Mr. Reich, or Cuban exiles, will set U.S. policy toward the region. They say the 55-year-old political diplomat is the ideal man for the job.
[FOLLOWING 2ND SECTION NOT IN EL NUEVO HERALD TRANSLATION]
"One of the digs against Cuban-Americans is, 'Oh, you can't appoint him to any position because he's Cuban-American and he's obsessed with Cuba,' an attitude that totally unfair," said a congressional Republican official.
"That's like saying he's Irish-American and will be obsessed with Ireland all the time. The truth is Otto is immensely qualified. Yes, Cuba is a core interest ... however, he's a Latin Americanist in the clearest sense."
SERVING THE PRESIDENT
The Republican official added: "Whoever gets that job will do whatever the White House wants him or her to do."
Critics of the proposed nomination worry about a potential clash with key U.S. trading partners over the full implementation of the Helms-Burton law, which intensified the embargo against Cuba, imposing sanctions against countries that trade with the island.
Currently, the U.S. government has been issuing six-month waivers on the stiffer measures. But if the Bush administration implemented a provision allowing U.S. citizens and companies to sue foreign companies dealing with firms seized after Fidel Castro took power in 1959, some U.S. trading partners might threaten economic retaliation, including Mexico, Canada and the European Union.
The issue is particularly touchy for Mr. Reich, who was a paid lobbyist for Bacardi, the giant Cuban rum company that spent a lot to lobby for the Helms-Burton bill.
"If Mr. Reich becomes the assistant secretary of state for Bacardi and the Cuban American National Foundation, his credibility will be extinguished, thus his tenure will be limited," warned a businessman who favors more trade with Cuba and who spoke on condition of anonymity.
[END SECOND SECTION NOT IN TRANSLATION] -------------------------------------
When Mr. Reich headed the State Department's office of public diplomacy in the mid-1980s, he was accused by Congress of engaging in "prohibited, covert propaganda activities" in his efforts to promote the Reagan administration's policies toward Nicaragua.
[ THIRD SECTION NOT IN EL NUEVO HERALD TRANSLATION]
Those policies included the transfer of weapons to the country's anti-Sandinista contra rebels, financed by the covert sales of weapons to Iran, despite a congressional ban. Those details were included in a 1997 report by the General Accounting Office.
Mr. Reich never was charged with any crime.
[FINAL SECTION NOT IN EL NUEVO HERALD TRANSLATION]
Over the years, he has been clear about his position on U.S. policy to Cuba, the homeland he left in 1960, a year after Mr. Castro took power. At a March 1999 hearing before the House International Relations Committee on Cuba, he said, "In our relationship with Cuba, we should remember how the Soviet Union was defeated," referring to the Reagan administration's policy of squeezing the former Soviet Union through "economic warfare."
He added: "A proactive policy toward Cuba, similar in scope, can likewise succeed in bringing about a peaceful and rapid end to communism in Cuba. But it will require imagination and resources."
AGAINST THE TIDE
Those views appear to run counter to the current mood in Congress, where many members favor lifting or easing the embargo and the travel ban for Americans.
Rep. George Nethercutt, R-Wash., who has sought for three years to open Cuba to American farm products, said without specifically referring to Mr. Reich's candidacy, "I am confident that the pesident will appoint an individual with an equal commitment to constructively engaging the region, an approach that will be welcomed by a majority in Congress."
Mr. Bush appears to be depending heavily on Cuban-Americans for key foreign policy advice.
Just a few days before his meeting with Mr. Fox, Mr. Bush called Mr. Diaz-Balart to the White House to brainstorm about the visit and to seek advice on issues that would be topics between the two men. The news that Cuba was on the official agenda unexpectedly hit Mr. Fox during a dinner in Mexico City with his foreign minister, Jorge Castaneda. "The news soured the mood," said one of the sources familiar with details of the Bush-Fox meeting.
[c] 2001 The Dallas Morning News
|Date: 22-Feb-01 at 20:41
Otto Juan Reich, Cuban American
Otto Reich left Cuba when he was 14 years old in 1960. He worked as the top Latin America specialist in the Agency for International Development (AID) and was made head of the State Department's notorious Office of Public Diplomacy (PDO) for Latin America and the Caribbean when it was created under Reagan in 1983, ostensibly to lobby congress. Actually Reich worked for Col. Oliver North, the secret head of PDO, putting out disinformation or "White Propaganda."
For instance, the PDO writers bamboozled the New York Times and the Washington Post by writing anti-Sandinista articles that were published as op-ed pieces (NYT 12/13/85 and WP 4/7/87) under the names of contra leaders Robelo, Calero, and Cruz. One of their most successful pieces of disinformation occurred on election night, November 4, 1984: a report of Soviet MiGs being delivered to Nicaragua. Its authors included North and Col. Robert McFarlane.
State Department spokesperson John Hughes later tried to play down that lie but not before it was effectively used by the Reagan Administration.
Shortly after the PDO was set up, Reagan named him on July 5, 1983, as ambassador in charge of promoting Central America policy with the U.S. public. He reported directly to Secretary of State George Shultz and had the "personal rank" of ambassador but was not subject to Senate confirmation. He left that job in 1986.
He was one of the prime movers in the Venezuelan release of Orlando Bosch in August 1987 (Bosch was being detained for his role in the bombing of the Cuban airliner in 1976 that killed 73 people).
|The Bush administration is considering appointing Otto J.
Reich as the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter American Affairs.
The Cuba research & Analysis Group - which produces Cuba-L, has
prepared the following document with information on Mr. Reich. It has
been noted that Florida Governor Jeb Bush is one of the Strongest
advocates of Mr. Reich.
Background On Otto Juan Reich
Otto Juan Reich, born October 16, 1945 in Havana, Cuba
He studied at the US Ruston Academy in Havana, the institution that initiated the CIA's operation Peter Pan in the fall of 1960. http://www.rustonacademy.org/mistuden.html)
1960 left Cuba
1966 naturalized citizen
1966 B.A. in International Studies from the University of North Carolina, developed ties with Jesse Helms then.
1967 to 1969 first lieutenant U.S. Army stationed in the Panama Canal Zone
1970 - 1971 he was staff assistant to conservative Democrat (Missouri) Congressman W. R. Hull, Jr., of the United States House of Representatives.
1971-72 research fellow, Center for Strategic and International Studies
1972-73 vice president for international development, Cormorant Enterprises, Miami
1973 M.A. in Latin American studies from Georgetown University
1973-1975 international representative, Florida Department of Commerce in Coral Gables.
1975-1976 community development coordinator, city of Miami, Fla.
1976-1981 head of the Washington office of the Council of the Americas before joining the administration in 1981. The council is an organization of American companies with interests in Latin America.
September 1981 special assistant to the Administrator, Agency for International Development.
December 15, 1981- 1983 Assistant Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development
July 1983-September 85 Special adviser to the Secretary of State in charge of Public Diplomacy efforts in Latin America and the Caribbean-coordinate foreign and domestic public policy efforts related to Latin America in general and Central America in particular. Worked with Oliver North.
November 1983 accorded the title of Ambassador while in charge of Public Diplomacy.
[August 1985 Luis Posada Carriles escapes from Venezuelan prison.]
September 1985 - 1987 U.S. ambassador to Venezuela
[1987 General Accounting Office, found that proper procedures were not followed in the 1984-1986 contracts awarded to a public relations firm involved in the Iran-Contra affair and to other contractors for research and reports, the sources said. The State Department's Office of Latin American Public Diplomacy awarded at least $419,000 worth of contracts to International Business Communications, a public relations firm which worked closely with fired White House aide Lt. Col. Oliver North on private efforts to help the Contra rebels in Nicaragua. IBC's president, Richard Miller, is one of two people who has pleaded guilty in the Iran-Contra case to conspiracy to defraud the government by illegally using a tax-exempt foundation to raise money for Contra weapons. Otto Reich, who headed the Public Diplomacy office when the IBC contracts were awarded, said that despite the finding of procedural violations, the State Department's internal report "clears the department" of allegations that government funds were spent illegally to lobby Congress through IBC. Separate from the IBC contracts, the General Accounting Office, the congressional watchdog agency, investigated some 25 contracts the Latin American Public Diplomacy office awarded to individuals for research and papers on Central America, said a GAO official involved in the investigation. AP, July 21, 1987]
1989-present Senior Associate of the Americas Program of the right-wing Center for Strategic and International Studies
1990 to 1996, director of the Brock Group-International Trade & Investment Consulting Firm.
[It should be noted that the Brock Group has as its founder William Brock, founder and chairman of the Brock Group, who was secretary of labor (1985-1987), United States Trade Representative (1981-1985), chairman of the Republican National Committee (1977-80), United States senator for Tennessee (1971-76), and congressman for the third district of Tennessee (1963-1970). He was vice president of the Brock Candy Company for five years after serving as a lieutenant junior grade in the United States Navy. He was one of the four founders of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Mr. Brock is a senior counselor and trustee of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Thus, Reich has followed on the steps of his private boss.
1991-1992, Deputy U.S. representative to the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva.
1994 to the present lobbied on RMA (Resource Management Account) International Bacardi Martini Inc Copyright/Patent/Trademark Trade (Domestic/Foreign) and for the British American Tobacco-Latin Amer/Crbn Trade (Domestic/Foreign. Bacardi Corporation retained Mr. Reich for $215,000 in 1997 and $200,000 in 1998. [This data was compiled using 1998 lobby disclosure reports and amendments filed under the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995.]
President of RMA International, a Washington-based international business consultancy and lobbying firm.
1995-2000 president, U.S.-Cuba Business Council
1998- Republican party political analyst
Throughout the 1990s he has appeared on a monthly basis, with different titles, in Univision and Televisa. He is also one of the main "debaters" at Choque de Opiniones of the Spanish version of CNN.
He is a member of the board of trustees of Freedom House. This organization has been used by the Democrats and Republicans to provide funding for counterrevolutionaries in Cuba.
Member of the Global Policy Council
(This material on Mr. Reich was produced by the Cuba Research & Analysis Group, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Do not quote without mentioning the source).
Luis Posada Carriles and the Cuban American National Foundation: Coca Contra lives on
Miami FBI Office: terrorism, drugs, and politics, 3/00
The Elian Page: the background in Miami, '00
Felix Rodriguez: Coca Contra Airport Manager: Che's Miami CIA killer in his role as CocaContra guru.
The Cuban American National Foundation (CANF)
Luis Posada's arrest in Panama: CANF supported terrorism, 11/00
The long hand of the Cuban American National Foundation in and around the Elian Case "La mas fea no perdona..." - compendium of resources up to 4/00
CANF supports end of Affirmative Action in Florida, 4/00
Miami FBI: terrorism, drugs,
and politics, 3/00
The CANF, drugs, and the October 1997 plot to kill Castro, 1/99
Congressman Rangel calls for CANF investigation, 7/98
"The Family That Preys Together" -- on the Bushes and their ties to Cuban American criminals. Covert Action, Summer '92
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