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Page last updated at 22:12 GMT, Monday, 19 May 2008 23:12 UK

Cuba accuses US envoy over funds

By Michael Voss
BBC News, Havana

Cuban State Security Historic Investigations Centre Director Manuel Hevia Frasquieri points to the projection of a document 19 May 2008
Cuba pointed to documents it said were damning for the US envoy

Cuba has accused the top US diplomat in Havana of passing on funds from Cuban exiles to dissidents on the island.

Officials say the envoy, Michael Parmly, gave envelopes with money to leading dissident Martha Beatriz Roque.

They say the funds came from a Miami-based organisation founded by an exile wanted in connection with an attempted bombing campaign in Havana.

The US has denied breaking laws, and said it is only providing humanitarian aid to families of political prisoners.

The Cuban authorities have long accused the US government of channelling federal funds to dissident groups on the island.

These latest allegations claim that Mr Parmly, the head of the US interest section in Havana, had carried envelopes with money from a Miami-based foundation founded by Santiago Alvarez.

He is wanted in Cuba in connection with an attempted bombing campaign against tourist targets in Havana.

Mercenaries

The accusations were made at a press conference on Monday where a member of state security showed a series of emails and surveillance videos.

There is no smoking gun, the links are circumstantial.

But the director of the foreign ministry's North American department, Josefina Vidal, said it was scandalous that US diplomats in Havana were acting as links between a terrorist in the US and mercenaries in Cuba.

The authorities here always refer to dissidents as mercenaries and counter-revolutionaries.

According to state department spokesman Sean McCormack in Washington, the US is not violating international law.

He said the government was only providing "humanitarian assistance to families of political prisoners and that private groups send aid as well".

US President George W Bush recently announced that the US would mark 21 May as the International Day of Solidarity with Cuba.

The authorities in Havana say these latest allegations were not timed to coincide with that event.



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