Press Advisory: Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart and Secretary of State Antony Blinken hold exchange of views on terrorist fugitives in Cuba, and redesignation of Cuba by the State Department.

Press Advisory

Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart and Secretary of State Antony Blinken hold exchange of views on terrorist fugitives in Cuba, and redesignation of Cuba by the State Department.

Video excerpt: https://youtu.be/xbK0KWCgfrQ?si=Zw2dhP7TPYopMhKt

Contact: John Suarez (612)-367-6845/ Janisset Rivero 786-208-6056

Center for a Free Cuba. Washington DC. This morning at the Budget Hearing for the Fiscal Year 2025 Request for the Department of State Meeting, Subcommittee Chairman Mario Diaz-Balart and Secretary of State Antony Blinken had an exchange of views on terrorist fugitives in Cuba, and the circumstances for Cuba’s certifications as not fully cooperating country having changed from 2022 to 2023.

Excerpt taken from: 42:33 – 46:50 from full official video available here: https://www.youtube.com/live/oeYQCthxD1E?si=qJB1dvbB7JFj_sm8

One of the fugitives that Havana still harbors today is William “Guillermo” Morales, a member of the “Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional” (FALN), who made the bomb used in the Fraunces Tavern bombing of January 24, 1975 in New York City that killed four, and wounded over 50 more. FALN was started in the mid-1960s and its members received advanced training in Cuba. According to the FBI, one of the authors of this attack, Filiberto Ojeda Ríos “spent several years in Cuba in the 1960s and received training from the Government of Cuba as an intelligence officer.”

Joseph Connor, whose father Frank Connor was murdered in the 1975 terrorist attack in New York City, asked for Morales to be returned to the United States to face justice in a May 15th letter addressed to Secretary Antony Blinken in which he wrote “I am writing because my father Frank Connor was murdered by Cuban sponsored terrorists at Fraunces Tavern on January 24, 1975 in New York City that killed three others, and wounded over 50 more. The news that Havana is now willing to cooperate with the United States on the issue of terrorism should bring accountability for this crime that I have fought for over the last three decades.”

Joseph Connor. Photo: Center for a Free Cuba

Below is the text of the letter sent on May 15, 2024.

The Honorable Antony Blinken
United States Secretary of State
The State Department
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Secretary Blinken:
cc: Mr. Jake Sullivan, NSC, Senator Robert Menendez, Senator Cory Booker

I am writing to you on an urgent and important manner. Reuters is reporting that you, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken today “removed Cuba from a short list of countries the United States alleges are ‘not cooperating fully’ in its fight against terrorism and “The department determined that the circumstances for Cuba’s certification as a ‘not fully cooperating country’ have changed from 2022 to 2023.” 

I am writing because my father Frank Connor was murdered by Cuban sponsored terrorists at Fraunces Tavern on January 24, 1975 in New York City that killed three others, and wounded over 50 more.

The news that Havana is now willing to cooperate with the United States on the issue of terrorism should bring accountability for this crime that I have fought for over the last three decades.

William “Guillermo” Morales, a leader  of the “Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional” (FALN), terrorist group backed by Havana, who it is believed made the bomb used in the Fraunces Tavern bombing was tried and sentenced in federal and NY state court, but escaped from prison and fled to Cuba. He has been sponsored in Cuba under the protection of the government authorities for decades. I am bringing the matter to your attention for the U.S. government to take the steps necessary for this convicted, terrorist fugitive to be returned to an American prison where he will serve out his sentences.

I thank you in advance for the return of Morales which would deliver justice for Frank Connor and provide a certain closure to this open wound that our family has suffered for all these years.

Joseph F. Connor

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