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SOME IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT CABRERAS

Jorge Cabrera is a convicted drug dealer and friend of Fidel Castro.

Clinton has used his executive authority to pardon 7 convicted drug dealers.

Clinton gutted the National Office of Drug Control on taking office.

Drug use has doubled since Clinton took office.

Some News Coverage

MIAMI  --  Jorge Cabrera, a drug smuggler who has emerged as
one of the most notorious supporters of President Clinton's
re-election campaign, was asked for a campaign contribution in
the unlikely locale of a hotel in Havana by a prominent Democratic
fund-raiser, congressional investigators have learned.

[...]

On his return to the United States several days after that
meeting, in November 1995, Cabrera wrote a check for $20,000 to
the Democratic National Committee from an account that included
the proceeds from smuggling cocaine from Colombia to the
United States, said the investigators, who spoke on condition of
anonymity.

[...]

In early January 1996, three weeks after having attended the
Christmas reception at the White House, Cabrera was arrested
and charged with importing 6,000 pounds of cocaine into the
United States on boats through the Florida Keys. Late last year, e;1H
pleaded guilty to those charges and was sentenced to 19 years in
federal prison and fined $1.5 million.

-----
Drug Smuggler Made Clinton Donation in Cuba, Investigators Say
By DON VAN NATTA Jr.
New York Times
April 4, 1997

MIAMI  --  Jorge Cabrera, a drug smuggler who has emerged as
one of the most notorious supporters of President Clinton's
re-election campaign, was asked for a campaign contribution in
the unlikely locale of a hotel in Havana by a prominent Democratic
fund-raiser, congressional investigators have learned.

The investigators said the fund-raiser, whom they identified as
Vivian Mannerud, a Cuban-American businesswoman from Miami,
told Cabrera at a meeting at the Copacabana Hotel in Havana that
in exchange for a contribution he would be invited to a
fund-raising dinner in honor of Vice President Al Gore in an
exclusive enclave near Miami.

Ms. Mannerud owns Airline Brokers Co., an airline charter
service that operates among Havana, the Bahamas and Mexico.

On his return to the United States several days after that
meeting, in November 1995, Cabrera wrote a check for $20,000 to
the Democratic National Committee from an account that included
the proceeds from smuggling cocaine from Colombia to the
United States, said the investigators, who spoke on condition of
anonymity.

Within two weeks of the contribution, Cabrera met Gore at the
dinner in Miami. Ten days later, Cabrera attended a Christmas
reception at the White House hosted by Hillary Rodham Clinton. At
the events, Gore and Mrs. Clinton posed for photographs with
Cabrera, who has two felony convictions dating from the 1980s
and is now in a prison here on a drug-smuggling conviction.

In an interview, Ms. Mannerud, who has spoken with the
investigators, said she could not recall soliciting a contribution
>from  Cabrera in Cuba, although she vaguely recalled meeting him
there. It is unclear why Cabrera was approached in Cuba and how
much Ms. Mannerud or other Democratic fund-raisers might have
known about his criminal background.

The White House and the Democratic National Committee said the
party returned the $20,000 from Cabrera in October, after
deciding it was an improper donation. A spokeswoman for the
committee, Amy Weiss Tobe, made that point again in a recent
interview, adding, "Once we found out about Cabrera's past, we
immediately returned the money, and we feel we have put this
behind us."

Cabrera's contribution and smuggling conviction, which became
public knowledge three weeks before Election Day in November,
were one of the first examples of the questionable fund-raising
practices that have brought criticism to the Democratic Party. By
now, the case has come to symbolize the Democratic National
Committee's frenetic drive for campaign cash.

In early January 1996, three weeks after having attended the
Christmas reception at the White House, Cabrera was arrested
and charged with importing 6,000 pounds of cocaine into the
United States on boats through the Florida Keys. Late last year, he
pleaded guilty to those charges and was sentenced to 19 years in
federal prison and fined $1.5 million.

The new details about the location for the solicitation of
Cabrera's contribution and the source of the money have come to
light in congressional investigators' interviews here with Cabrera.
The investigators, who are looking into possible abuses of
campaign fund-raising, are trying to determine whether Cabrera
"laundered" drug money when making his $20,000 "soft money"
contribution to the campaign.

Investigators had originally acted on a tip that an associate of
Cabrera had delivered $20,000, in $100 bills, to Ms.Marud's
office. But in recent weeks investigators learned that that did not
occur. Instead, bank records show that $11,900 in cash, from
drug proceeds, was deposited into Cabrera's checking account
on Nov. 21, 1995, several officials familiar with the investigation
said.

The cash was specifically deposited to help cover the $20,000
campaign check, which Cabrera wrote that same day, the officials
said.

At that time, Cabrera, whose family fishing business is one of
the largest suppliers of lobsters and stone crabs to restaurants in
southern Florida, was a frequent visitor to Cuba.

Several congressional investigators said Cabrera described the
solicitation and contribution in interviews with investigators at
the North Dade Detention Center in March.

Much of his account was backed up by his lawyer here, Stephen
J. Bronis, and several former associates of Cabrera. But Bronis
declined to say whether his client had used drug money as a
campaign contribution.

In an interview, Ms. Mannerud said she could not recall whether
she had asked Cabrera to contribute while in Cuba, although she
said his $20,000 check was "dropped off" at her office in Miami
several days before the dinner for Gore. She said a friend had
asked Cabrera for the money, but she refused to identify him. But,
she added, the friend spoke with investigators several weeks ago.

Ms. Mannerud said her associates had reminded her that she
briefly met Cabrera at the Copacabana in Miramar, an exclusive
area of mansions and embassies in Havana, in late November
1995.


"I went to breakfast one morning at the Copa, but I don't
remember him very well," she said. "After the papers were full of
this guy's name and picture, I asked people, 'Did I eat with this
guy?' And people said that I saw him for about five minutes and
that was it. I can't imagine sitting at a table in Havana
soliciting money for the Democratic Party. Who has time for
that?"

Ms. Mannerud, who herself contributed $80,850 to the Democrats,
was described by officials as a "fairly prominent and successful
fund-raiser."

According to Bronis, Ms. Mannerud sought out Cabrera at the
Copa to make a strong fund-raising pitch for the dinner, to be held
in a few weeks in Miami, in honor of Gore. Ms. Mannerud and
Cabrera found that they had something in common  --  they had
both met Fidel Castro.

Ms. Mannerud told Cabrera that she needed to raise a certain
amount of money to "elevate her level of influence in the
Democratic Party," because she was hoping the United States
would normalize relations with Cuba, Bronis said.

"She believed it was in the best interests of Cuban-Americans
of her generation if the United States normalized relations with
Cuba," Bronis said.

Ms. Mannerud adamantly denied making such statements, saying
of Cabrera, "He is nuts."

Indeed, she said, her only strong memory of Cabrera is at the
fund-raising dinner on Dec. 3, in Coral Gables, Fla., at the home
of Jerome Berlin, a lawyer who was indicted in 1990, and later
acquitted, of federal conspiracy charges of bribing public
officials.

Ms. Mannerud said she spoke with Cabrera for about 10 minutes
and recalled two distinct facts about their conversation. "One is
that he was concerned about the environment because he was a
fisherman and he said the quality of the fish was very bad," she
said. "The other thing I remember is I had to fix his tie. He said
it was the first time he had worn a suit and tie."

At that dinner, investigators believe, Cabrera also spoke
briefly with Marvin S. Rosen, finance chairman of the Democratic
National Committee. In an interview, Rosen said he was
introduced to Cabrera by a fund-raiser, who investigators say was
Ms. Mannerud.

Rosen said the fund-raiser asked him to pass along Cabrera's
name to a staff member of the Democratic committee in the hope
of having Cabrera invited to a White House reception.

Ms. Mannerud said she had no idea that Cabrera had two felony
convictions. It was only later that she wondered what he was
doing in Havana, she said.

Ms. Mannerud said that she had a special license from the
Treasury Department to be in Cuba and that she was perplexed
that Cabrera would say that she had solicited a contribution from
him in Cuba.

"Let's suppose I did meet him in Cuba and asked him for money,
so what?" she asked. "What is that going to get him?"

Investigators say they were particularly surprised to learn that
any solicitation of campaign contributions would occur in Cuba
because of longstanding United States policy toward that country.

The United States first imposed a ban on trade and commerce
with Cuba in 1963, allowing extremely few exceptions. The
embargo was strengthened in 1992 to prohibit subsidiaries of U.S.
companies from doing business in Cuba, and it was tightened
again last year to, among other points, punish foreign companies
that use property that the government confiscated after the
revolution.

The embargo does not prohibit travel to Cuba, but rather the
spending of dollars there without a special license from the
Treasury Department. People with relatives in Cuba, journalists
and a few others are allowed to go to the island, but only with the
license.

Until last year, those people could fly on direct charter
flights from Miami. But after Cuban fighter pilots shot down two
unarmed civilian planes that belonged to a Cuban-American
organization, Brothers to the Rescue, in February 1996, Clinton
suspended the charter flights. The president recently renewed
that suspension for an additional year.

People who obtain special licenses may travel to Cuba, but they
have to travel through a third country. Ms. Mannerud's charter
service flies through the Bahamas and Mexico.

A Cuban-born American, Cabrera was arrested two times on
serious drug charges in the 1980s. Both times he pleaded guilty to
nondrug felony charges. In 1983, he pleaded guilty to obstruction
of justice for conspiring to bribe a grand jury witness and served
42 months in prison. In 1988, he pleaded guilty to filing a false
income-tax return and served one year in prison.

After his brief brush with presidential politics, Cabrera was
arrested in January 1996 inside a cigar warehouse near here in
Dade County, where more than 500 pounds of cocaine had been
hidden. He and several accomplices were charged with having
smuggled 3,000 pounds of cocaine into the United States through
the Keys.

When he was arrested, agents found a picture of Cabrera with
Castro. Cabrera tried to obtain a lighter sentence by contending
that the Cuban Government was involved in his drug trafficking.

Bronis said prosecutors began an inquiry into those assertions,
but dropped the investigation. "It was pure politics, and it stinks,"
Bronis said.

He asked Attorney General Janet Reno for a special prosecutor to
investigate the case. She rejected that request.

Congressional investigators are planning to highlight the Havana
solicitation and the source of Cabrera's contribution at hearings
into campaign financing.

In January, Cabrera received an invitation to Clinton's
inauguration.

---------------

MORE STORIES ABOUT JORGE

Photo Op With First Lady

White House Refuses To Release Photos.

White House Finally Releases Photos.

Cabrera as informant



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