pacifist and democrat who spent 40 years planting
• In 2005, the Capitán San
Luis publishing house released a book entitled
Welcome Home in which several authors described
individuals of Cuban origin residing and functioning
in the United States, involved in torture,
assassination and terrorism • This is an excerpt
about one of these figures, Ramón Saúl Sánchez Rizo
Lázaro Barredo Medina
ONCE again Ramoncito and his
Democracy Movement have appeared on the scene,
orchestrating a new provocation against Cuba. This
man has spent 40 years planting bombs and engaging
in violent attacks with total impunity.
Undoubtedly, Ramón Saúl Sánchez Rizo
found very convenient the metamorphosis that
counterrevolutionaries in the U.S were obliged to
undergo during the 1980’s by the Reagan
administration, when CIA agents and hired terrorists
became local politicians within the newly
established county of Miami-Dade.
Sánchez Rizo has had great fun with
this group’s tactic of organizing flotillas from
South Florida to Cuba, an ideal format for the
provocation of incidents in order, as he said, "To
see if these yankee mama’s boys finally decide to
get rid of Castro." These actions are, as well, more
palatable to tired contributors to the war on
communism, given the new era, important when it’s
time to pass the hat.
"Ramoncito", as he is called by the
old leaders of the terrorist Miami mafia, was the
heir apparent and the spoiled favorite of the Miami
terrorist mafia, as well as the U.S. justice system.
He was born in Colón municipality,
Matanzas province, in 1954, the year after the
assault on the Moncada Garrison and left for Miami
in 1967. Miami was then a hotbed of
counterrevolutionary activity and Sánchez quickly
found work in the crusade. He has, in fact, made a
living off of anti-Cuban operations ever since his
In 1970, he joined two of the first
organizations with a specifically terrorist
character, the Cuban-American National Foundation
(CANF) and Alpha 66, led by his close associate
Andrés Nazario Sargén until his recent death.
Sánchez Rizo immediately began his
criminal exploits. He is credited with the
organization of more than 20 attacks on Cuban ships
and diplomatic personnel. His first terrorist acts
took place precisely in 1970 – the sinking of two
fishing boats, the Plataforma I and IV
near the Bahamas, injuring two fishermen, as well as
kidnappings in Venezuela, Mexico and the United
He was arrested during this period
for the first time, in an Alpha 66 training camp for
the possession of combat weapons, but was treated
with kid gloves by the judge, who sentenced him to
just one year of probation.
With his delusions of grandeur, he
cast himself as the leader of his first terrorist
organization, which he named "Jóvenes de la
Estrella" (Youth of the Star). Among the actions
carried out by this murderous formation were the
October 17, 1975 bombing of Miami International
Airport and the September, 1978, downing of a light
aircraft carrying four U.S. citizens to Cuba.
ORLANDO BOSCH ÁVILA’S SECOND IN
Sánchez aspired to a greater role
and thus joined the United Revolutionary
Organizations Coordinator, CORU, where he was in
close contact with its leader, Orlando Bosch Ávila.
In 1979, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation
(FBI) identified Ramón Saúl Sánchez Rizo as second
in command of this group.
The CORU carried out more than 90
terrorist attacks on Cuban installations in several
countries, including the United States, the most
monstrous being the 1976 downing of a Cubana
Airlines plane over Barbados which killed all 73
During the late 1970’s, Sánchez also
trained counterrevolutionary elements in a camp in
Nicaragua, with the goal of attacking Cuban merchant
ships. He participated in the murder of Carlos Muñiz
Varela in Puerto Rico and was a member of the groups
which attacked the Cuban Interests Section in
Washington and attempted to assassinate Raúl Roa
Kourí, the Cuban ambassador to the United Nations,.
In early 1980, Sánchez wanted to
continue playing hardball and led the Cuban
Liberation Organization, another terrorist group
that wreaked havoc through 1984. During these years
he also served as an explosive expert for Omega-7.
Several declassified FBI reports
describe him as extremely dangerous. One of these,
for example, recounts how in December of 1980, after
a bomb exploded in the Cuban Consulate in Montreal,
the alleged perpetrators, Pedro Crispín Remón
Hernández and Ramón Saúl Sánchez Rizo, were detained
at the Canadian-U.S. border.
Another FBI report from September
25, 1984, about the attempted murder of Cuba’s
ambassador to the UN with a car bomb, states, "Ramón
Saúl Sánchez constructed a remote controlled bomb
with the help of Arosena," referring to Eduardo
Arosena, head of Omega-7, an organization which
gained notoriety in the 1970’s, carrying out
particularly violent acts of terrorism within U.S.
territory. Sánchez Rizo was considered one of the
most dangerous terrorists at large by the FBI. In
his federal court trial in New York, he admitted
introducing the hemorrhagic dengue virus into Cuba
in 1980, which cost the lives of 158 people,
including 101 children, on orders from the CIA.
Omega-7 was described by the FBI as
"the most dangerous terrorist organization in the
United States," taking responsibility for dozens of
dynamite attacks on the United Nations missions of
various countries in New York, as well as U.S.
public buildings, such as TWA Airlines, Madison
Square Garden and the New York City Authority, in
addition to numerous assassinations.
In 1984, Sánchez was convicted and
sentenced to four years in prison for failing to
appear before a grand jury in New York which was
investigating the activities of Omega-7. He was
freed in 1986, two years before completing his
Many experts agree that the
intensification of attacks within the U.S. during
the late 70’s and early 80’s led to some of these
individuals of Cuban origin linked to the CIA’s
dirty war being considered a threat to national
security. Already underway since the mid 80’s, the
policy of conservatives who had ensured Ronald
Reagan’s ascension to the Presidency was to create a
more palatable image of Cuban émigrés, so closely
associated with terrorism.
When Sánchez was released from
prison, he was frozen out for some time. He tried
his luck as a businessman and even as a tow truck
driver, but he wasn’t any good at it.
The collapse of the Soviet camp
served to encourage reinitiating
counterrevolutionary activity against Cuba in
general. In addition to violence and terrorism, the
Miami mafia resurrected the notion of developing
groups within Cuba to promote subversion and attack
Sánchez did attempt to return to his
old ways, first rejoining his miniscule group, the
Organization for the Liberation of Cuba, and then
attempting to re-emerge as a "leader" forming
another front called the Cuban National Commission
which ended up under the umbrella of the Cuba
Independent and Democratic (CID) organization, led
by Hubert Matos, which was receiving a good deal of
money from the U.S. government. Under its aegis he
led the pompously named Naval Action Group, where he
maintained the strategy of bringing together those
elements intent upon carrying out violent actions
PROVOKING TENSIONS BETWEEN CUBA AND
His great opportunity to re-launch
himself as a leader of the Cuban-American community
in Miami came during disturbances resulting from the
immigration agreement signed by Cuba and the U.S. in
1995. He was arrested on May 2, but immediately
released despite the fact that the FBI knew he was
in possession of an arsenal of dangerous weapons.
He organized the first flotilla on
July 13 of that year, with the clear purpose of
creating conflict by constantly violating Cuba’s
territorial waters and airspace. Sánchez and José
Basulto are sworn enemies of the immigration
agreements and have repeatedly tried to sabotage
their implementation. Both the Democracy Movement
and Brothers to the Rescue have focused all their
efforts on creating tension between the governments
of Cuba and the U.S. – promoting acts of terrorism
and constantly calling for civil disobedience within
the Cuban community in Miami.
In November of 1995, Sánchez was
arrested for interrupting activities at the Cuban
Interests Section in Washington and was sent by U.S.
authorities to be evaluated psychologically.
He was among the leaders
orchestrating activities undertaken by the Miami
mafia during the kidnapping of the Cuban child Elián
González, inventing all sorts of tall tales,
violating international norms in an attempt to take
the boy away from his father and his homeland.
Along with other organizations from
the anti-Cuban right wing in Miami, he planned and
initiated civil disobedience to prevent the
implementation of the U.S. Immigration Service’s
decision to repatriate Elian. In August of 2000,
Sánchez was cited by the courts for illegal assembly
and obstruction of traffic in the street
disturbances promoted by the fanatical opponents of
the boy’s return to Cuba. Nevertheless, nothing
happened to the provocateur.
The month before, he had been
detained by the U.S. coast guard for violating the
12-mile limit of Cuba’s territorial waters, in open
defiance of an executive order, but once more was
immediately released, although this time his boat
A year later, in July of 2001, he
was again arrested after violating the U.S.
President’s executive order. It was not however
until two months later, in September, that U.S.
authorities took legal action against him for his
continual violation of Cuban territorial waters.
Finally, despite the multiple
charges filed against him, on May 15, 2002, a jury
in Miami found Ramón Saúl Sánchez Rizo innocent and
he was absolved of any wrongdoing.
After being out of work for several
months and living off Democracy Movement funds, his
father-in-law decided to hire him, provisionally, in
his fashion and orthopedic shoe store called Alicia
Shoes. Sánchez has been unable to do much heavy work
since he injured his arm during one of his
On September 23, 2003, Ramón Saúl
Sánchez Rizo was charged with being in the United
States illegally, not having been granted
citizenship or permanent residency. According to new
anti-terrorist laws, immigration regulations
prescribe the deportation of foreigners who have
been convicted of serious crimes and have served
their prison sentences.
This arrogant character got nervous
after September 11 and decided to attend to the
issue. He had lived with total impunity for almost
40 years in the U.S. but on the day he appeared
before immigration authorities, and his hefty file
emerged, he was surprised to hear the federal agents
announce that he was under arrest.
In any event, Sánchez wasn’t too
worried, thinking that he was above the law as a
Cuban ‘serving the cause.’ His detention was brief
and actually allowed him to garner some publicity.
He was once again only required to appear before the
judge, as he had been many times before - just a
waste of time.
In fact, a few weeks later, he was
granted the right to remain in the United States.
Nothing is going to supercede the
principle that Cuban ‘exiles’ will always be
protected, since, as a high-ranking, right-wing
politician once said, they are an effective force "supporting
an aggressive foreign policy" directed against Cuba.