Day in the Five: Tale of the tape (recording)

On September 10, 1997, Cuba officially announces the arrest of Raúl Cruz León, a Salvadoran mercenary, in connection with the bombing that killed Fabio Di Celmo.

But there’s more the Cubans don’t announce…

The day before—at the direction of his Cuban interrogators—Cruz León telephoned Francisco Chávez Abarca, the Salvadoran who’d hired him for the bombing mission. They recorded the conversation.

And got one step closer to the man behind the bombing campaign, Luis Posada Carriles, and to the organization that was underwriting his terrorist plot, the Cuban American National Foundation.

September 9, 1997

“And why don’t you come, Fatty, to get me out of here? You know how the hell to do that!”

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Raúl Cruz León

Raúl Cruz León sounded angry. And frustrated. He had been trying to reach Francisco “Gordito” Chávez—the man who sent him on his bombing mission—for three days. He had called Gordito’s father Antonio, his brother Mario, even his wife Karla. Tell Gordito I need money now, he told them.

Finally, Gordito himself had called back.

“Don’t fuck around,” Cruz León continued his tirade. “You’re the one who put me in here and I don’t know what the hell to do.”

Gordito did his best to placate his clearly off-the-rails bomber. “No, I know, I know,” he said soothingly. “I won’t leave you by the wayside.”

He would make the necessary arrangements, get some cash together, get it to him as soon as possible. “Stay put,” Gordito said, not knowing that Cruz León had no choice in the matter. “I’ll talk to you tomorrow.

Adalberto Rabeiro, Cuban State Security’s lead investigator in the bombing case, listened in on the conversation, which he’d carefully arranged—and recorded—with a quiet satisfaction. Another dot had been connected. It was time to tell the world.

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