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Suspected bomber Morales keeps low profile in Cuba

Suspected bomber Morales keeps low profile in Cuba
LAST UPDATED: SUNDAY, OCTOBER 4, 2015, 1:22 AM
BY MIKE KELLY
suspected mastermind of a Manhattan bombing that killed a Fair Lawn
man four decades ago now lives on the third floor of an apartment
building, not far from this city’s Plaza de la Revolución, the epicenter
of Cuban politics.

But like Joanne Chesimard, a fellow American fugitive living in Havana,
Guillermo “Willie” Morales seems to have become increasingly fearful
that he will be extradited to the United States.

Morales, 65, was the chief bomb­maker for the Armed Forces of National
Liberation, or FALN, a Puerto Rican paramilitary group. He has been
linked to the January 1975 bombing of the Fraunces Tavern in lower
Manhattan, in which Frank Connor of Fair Lawn and three others were
killed. Morales fled to Cuba in 1988 and was granted political asylum.

Connor, a bank executive in Manhattan, was 33 when he was killed,
leaving behind two young sons and a wife in Fair Lawn.

Morales was never formally charged in the tavern bombing. He was
apprehended three years later, when a bomb he was making in a Queens,
N.Y., apartment exploded prematurely. In that explosion, Morales lost
all of his fingers and the use of one eye.

Still claiming that he was a revolutionary fighter for Puerto Rican
independence, he was later convicted in federal and state trials of
possession of explosive materials and sentenced to 89 years in
.

After his sentencing and while being treated for his injuries, he
escaped from a prison ward at Bellevue Center and disappeared
into America’s radical underground before turning up in Cuba.

After Morales did not respond to several email requests for an
interview, I drove to his apartment building on 37th Street in Havana’s
Vedado section on a recent afternoon while I was on assignment in Cuba.

The hallway to Morales’ third-floor apartment is protected by an iron
gate — not unlike a jail cell. The hallway also contained several plants
and a line for drying laundry.

Morales did not answer his doorbell.

I dialed a phone number for his apartment that had once been listed in a
Havana telephone book.

Morales answered on the first ring.

After I identified myself, he said in Spanish: “Don’t call here anymore.
Don’t call here anymore or I’ll call the cops.”

Then he hung up.

Morales’ attorney, Ronald Kuby of New York City, said his client is
trying to maintain a low profile as U.S. and Cuban officials continue
negotiations to firm up renewed diplomatic relations between the two
nations.

Morales is one of an estimated 60 U.S. fugitives who fled to Cuba in the
last half-century. Whether the status of any fugitives — including
Chesimard and Morales — will be part of U.S.-Cuba negotiations remains
to be seen.

But Kuby said he has advised his client not to comment about himself or
other fugitives.

“It’s not shyness,” Kuby said. “It obviously has to do with the current
situation and the desire by both sides not to showcase issues that are
poking in the eye of the other.”

Back in New Jersey, Joseph Connor of Glen Rock, who was 9 years old when
his father was killed, said he considers it “disgraceful” that Morales
is allowed to live free in Cuba.

“This guy is responsible for my father’s death,” Connor said. “It’s
never been answered.”

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Source: Suspected bomber Morales keeps low profile in Cuba – News –
NorthJersey.com –
www.northjersey.com/news/suspected-bomber-morales-keeps-low-profile-in-cuba-1.1424994

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