Jeb Bush’s Florida, a Terrorist Haven?

Florida is not only a sanctuary for retirees and tourists. It is also a haven for terrorists, some retired some still active.

Now Florida doesn’t harbor the kinds of terrorists who would interest our bumbling “Homeland Security” inspector Tom Ridge mind you.

These are the kinds of terrorists who would be welcomed at a backyard BBQ thrown those WASP Sopranos, the Bush family.

A few of them have recently been in the news.

First there’s the notorious Orlando Bosch, the anti-Castro fanatic who most likely blew up a civilian Cuban commercial airliner in 1976, killing all 73 passengers aboard, including the entire Olympic fencing team.

Although he denied ultimate responsibility, Bosch called the incident “a legitimate act of war.”

Bosch served a decade in a Venezuela prison for the heinous deed before finally going on trial. To the shock and horror of many, Bosch was acquitted and subsequently returned to the U.S.

Visa-less, Bosch was arrested for parole violation in connection with his shooting a cannon at a Polish ship docked in Miami.

President Bush, the 80s model, was strongly urged by Attorney General Dick Thornburgh– who called Bosch an “unrepentant terrorist”–and many others in law enforcement to give Bosch the bum’s rush in the form of a deportation notice.

But thanks to some heavy-hitting lobbyists, Bosch not only wasn’t deported — he was granted a pardon.

As it happens, the heavy hitters took the form of the future Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and Raul Cantero III, the latter being Bosch’s attorney.

Jeb at the time was the campaign manager for the dreadful Illena Ros Lehtinen, a candidate for Claude Pepper’s old congressional seat and a strong supporter of Bosch.

Jeb is now being heavily lobbied to appoint Raul Cantero to be Florida’s first Hispanic state supreme court justice.

There is some resistance, but not as much as you would assume in light of the events of 9/11.

One Miami radio host implored listeners to email their objections to Bush.

The July 2nd St. Petersburg Times editorial succinctly outed the Bush-Bosch-Cantero connection and warned Bush to consider the international ramifications of appointing an unrepentent apologist for an unrepentant terrorist to sit on Florida’s highest court.

And then we have the Salvadoran terror-twins currently on (civil) trial in West Palm Beach, former Salvadorian generals Jose Guillermo Garcia and Carlos Eugenio Vides Casonova.

These two papa and baby Bush(s) favs have more blood on their hands than a Chicago butcher and have lived a comfortable life in Miami for nearly a decade.

Besides the blood of many thousands of Salvadorans, they are widely believed to have approved the murders of 6 American nuns, killed by their troops. Soon after these Mansonesque murders, the twins were asked to leave the country.

And they did.

And they were welcomed with open arms by their sponsors, the US government and the state of Florida which the terror twins now call home.

For the second time the generals are face-to-face in court, this time in the Federal court in West Palm Beach, facing fellow Salvadorans who accuse them of aiding and abetting their time on the torture rack in El Salvador.

On Tuesday June 25th former U.S. ambassador Robert White testified at the trial. In response to claims that the twins were unaware of such activities, White vividly explained to the jury why the truth was quite otherwise.

White told that even after showing then Salvadoran Defense Minister Garcia a tape of his soldiers shooting down school kids in a school house, the general merely “shrugged” and sauntered away. Not fazed in the least.

More recent testimony by the Salvadoran victims has been compelling and has linked the terror twins more directly with the murder and mayhem.

It’s hard to say whether or not Bush will suffer much if Cantero gets the nod. The Florida press corps, despite some good moments, has mostly been domesticated by Bush.

Even the likes of Carl Hiaasen seem to have little time for holding Bush’s big feet to the fire and most settle for firing blanks at the generic “Republican-dominated state.”

The truth is that Bush is one of the worst governors ever. But while his charm works well with the press, his approval ratings, which were falling pre-9/11, are slowly headed south again.

A silent (near) majority is taking notice finally of what Jeb Bush and his marauding privateers have done to this state and the institutions and services people rely on such public schools, higher education and health care.

A campaign tape which recently fell into the hands of a Democratic Party operative showed that even national Republican officials consider Jeb vulnerable.

It’s bad enough Florida harbors terrorists like the Salvadoran twins and Orlando Bosch. But Floridians are beginning to get fed up –and even terrorized–over Jeb’s wholesale destruction of state government.

Jack McCarthy is CounterPunch’s Florida correspondent. He lives in Tallahassee and can be reached at:


Jack McCarthy is a writer in Tallahassee, Florida. He can be reached at