In this, the first of a three-part video from Cubavision, Salvadoran Francisco Chavez Abarca talks about—and reenacts—a number of his missions to Cuba to plant bombs at tourist facilities during the mid-1990s: For more on who Chavez Abarca is and the story of his involvement in the 1997 hotel bombing campaign, check out The Gordito […]

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 […]

Luis Posada brags about his role in the hotel bombings that killed an Italian-Canadian tourist in this telephone conversation secretly recorded by Cuban State Security. Venezuela September 5, 1997 “Paco,” the voice at the other end of the phone demanded, “are you up to date on all this?” Luis Posada Carriles Paco was Francisco Pimentel, […]

Havana September 4, 1997 5:30 p.m. Copacabana explosion site It had been a good day. Four bombs. At $2,000 a bomb, that was $8,000. Not to forget the thousand Gordito still owed him from the last trip. Cruz León would be able to pay off his debts and have plenty left over for other, better […]

One of the fascinating sidebars to the story of the Cuban Five is the cameo role Nobel prize-winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez played in the unfolding drama that led to the arrest of the Five in September 1998. In this excerpt from the manuscript-in-progress, Fidel Castro asks his friend ‘Gabo’ to undertake an important secret […]

Francisco Chavez Abarca Francisco Chavez Abarca—the Salvadoran man arrested at Caracas International Airport on Thursday (July 1, 2010) and accused of plotting to “provoke violence and destabilization” in the lead-up to Venezuela’s legislative elections in September—was one of the keys player in the 1997 Havana hotel bombing campaign orchestrated by anti-Castro militant Luis Posada Carriles. […]