I Thought it was a Promotion


10-30-09, 10:17 am

An example of the moral and political qualities of some 'Cuban-Americans' who have placed themselves at the service of the enemies of the land of their birth is offered in an interview in the Spanish newspaper El Mundo with one of the so-called 'plumbers' who became famous as participants in the Watergate scandal that led to the ouster of President Richard Nixon.

The interview, which appeared on July 19, 2009, was conducted by journalist Manuel Aguilera Cristóbal with Eugenio Rolando Martínez who, 'at 86 years of age does not regret his past as a Watergate plumber although he laments having lost this and many other battles.'

'I wanted to overthrow Castro and unfortunately I overthrew the president who had been aiding us, Richard Nixon,' the mercenary told the journalist.

On June 17, 1971, at 2:30 in the morning, Martínez was arrested inside the offices of the Democratic National Committee in the Watergate building complex in Washington, D.C., along with James McCord, head of security for the Committee to Re-Elect the President [Richard M. Nixon], and three other plumbers hired, as Martínez had been, in Miami: Virgilio González, Bernard Baker, and Frank Sturgis. All had previously worked for the CIA.

Exactly two months earlier, on April 17, 1971, Bernard Baker, Martínez's best friend, found a note on the door of his house: 'If you are still the man that I knew, come and see me.' The note was signed Howard Hunt, whom both had know for a long time through his role as the CIA's principal organizer of the Playa Girón landing. The day marked the tenth anniversary of that unsuccessful attempt to invade Cuba through that point at the Bay of Pigs, on the island's south coast, using 1500 counter-revolutionary exiles, a large portion of whom were identified with the bloody Batista dictatorship that had recently been defeated on the island. Already in Hunt's criminal dossier was the key role that he had played in the 1954 overthrow Guatemala's president, Jacobo Arbenz.

'We are going to be active again,' Hunt said tersely when they all met. The proposal was to form part of a White House unit personally directed by Richard Nixon. Hunt assured them that the CIA was in on the creation of this group of agents working on the president's orders.

After 12 years working for the Agency doing infiltration, sabotage, kidnappings, espionage, and other terrorist misdeeds, Rolando Martínez felt flattered: 'I thought it was a promotion for me.'

Initially, the group's job was to investigate people who wanted to interview Nixon. But then other much dirtier missions came along, like when they broke into the office of the psychiatrist of Daniel Ellsberg (former military analyst at the RAND Corporation), 'who had leaked to the New York Times documents from the Pentagon about the Vietnam war and we wanted his psychiatrist's notes to corroborate if he had also passed information to the Soviet embassy and to learn what his motives were,' the miscreant stated.

On May 2, 1971, a month before the break-in at the Democrats' office, the body of J. Edgar Hoover, who had been director of the FBI since 1935, was laid out in the Capitol rotunda. It was feared that left-wing groups opposed to the war in Vietnam would demonstrate nearby. Fifteen Cubans were hired in Miami to dissuade the demonstrators. Martínez recalls with a smile how they broke up the demonstration, in which the actors Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland took part: 'I remember how we provoked them. We took a Vietcong flag from them and broke it up.'

At the Watergate building 'we went to steal documents that would show that Fidel Castro was financing the campaign of the Democrat McGovern, who everyone knew sympathized with Castro, had traveled to Cuba on various occasions, and had been seen together with him attending baseball games. We were looking for evidence of a foreign country's interference in the election of a president of the United States.'

Martínez maintains that he and his comrades were victims of a trap sprung by James McCord, the only one of the five plumbers who was not an undercover agent but was rather a formal part of the CIA. 'He betrayed us!'

In January 1973, the four plumbers pleaded guilty in order to avoid a trial and so as not to have to testify about the details of the operation. They were convicted of conspiracy, robbery, and violation of federal communications laws. Two months later, McCord wrote a letter to the judge and with that he precipitated the political scandal that ended with the resignation of President Nixon. McCord received immunity and Martínez served only 15 months of the 40 years he had been sentenced to.

Yes, justice in the United States is generous, for some!