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Cablegate: Minrex Responds Positively On Posada Carriles

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHUB #0714 3342129
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 302129Z NOV 09
FM USINT HAVANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4952
INFO RHMFIUU/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

UNCLAS HAVANA 000714

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR WHA/CAA
DEPT PASS TO NSC

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SMIG CASC PGOV PREL CU ASEC
SUBJECT: MINREX RESPONDS POSITIVELY ON POSADA CARRILES
TESTIMONY; OTHER ISSUES REMAIN PENDING

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: At the request of the Ministry of External
Relations (MINREX), Chief of Mission Farrar met with Josefina
Vidal Ferreriro, director of Cuba's North America Office on
November 30 to recieve word of the approval of two Cuban
nationals asked to testify in the federal criminal case of
Luis Posada Carriles. When pressed by COM Farrar for
responses to other USINT requests, Vidal said that answers to
other requests are not yet available. Vidal took this
opportunity to reiterate Cuban government cooperation on
previous requests, but then highlighted the Government of
Cuba's (GOC) position on the "Repatriation Process" for
several imprisoned Cuban-Americans. Additionally, Vidal
reaffirmed Cuba's commitment to host the next round of talks
in the Migration Accords and asked COM Farrar to follow-up on
the GOC's proposed dates of February 19 - 20. END SUMMARY

--------------------------------------------- ---
Cuban Government to Facilitate Posada Testimony
--------------------------------------------- ---

2. (SBU) Vidal began the November 30 meeting by presenting a
diplomatic note to COM Farrar stating that the Cuban
government has agreed to send LTC Roberto Hernandez Caballero
from the Department of State Security and another witness to
the United States to testify in the federal criminal trial of
Luis Posada Carriles. LTC Hernandez served as the principal
investigator in the 4 September 1997 bombing at the
Copacabana Hotel and is prepared to testify on the physical
evidence collected after the bombing. LTC Hernandez has
previously testified in U.S. federal court on an unrelated
criminal matter. The GOC also approved travel of Mr. Nicolas
Rodriguez Valdez who was a bartender at the hotel restaurant
during the 1997 bombing and was an eyewitness to the alleged
plot. Vidal emphasized the Cuban government also will make
all physical evidence available in order to assist with the
trial. Vidal asked COM Farrar to respond with proposed dates
for our requested travel to Cuba of Department of Justice
(DOJ) and law enforcement representatives to prepare of the
trail.

-------------------------------
No News on Other USINT Requests
-------------------------------

3. (SBU) When asked by COM Farrar if MINREX could provide
answers on other outstanding USINT requests, Vidal responded
that no other answers are available but indicated that the
pending visa request for A/OPR/OS Bill Scotti is likely to be
approved. As an example of how the Cuban government has
cooperated with USINT requests, Vidal cited the recent
approval of the four teams of Diplomatic Security Service
(DSS) agents who will come to Cuba to assist in Post's DSS
programs.

4. (SBU) Vidal highlighted the GOC's November 27 response to
our diplomatic note requesting clarification of the GOC's
"Repatriation Process" for several dual nationals imprisoned
in Cuba and seeking early release. COM Farrar noted that the
GOC's diplomatic note varied with his understanding that the
prisoners involved seek to return to the United States rather
than remain in Cuba. COMMENT: Consul General Mezlow will
request a meeting with her MINREX counterparts to clarify
this issue.

-------------------------------
Second Round of Migration Talks
-------------------------------

5. (SBU) Vidal reaffirmed Cuba's commitment to hosting the
next round of the U.S. - Cuba bilateral Migration Accord
Talks in Havana. Vidal explained that the appropriate Cuban
authorities are now not able to attend during the dates
proposed by the GOC for January 2010 and asked that COM
Farrar respond later to the GOC's most recent proposal of
February 19 - 20, 2010.
FARRAR

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