The rise and fall of Jose Miguel Battle, Cuban godfather of the Mafia PRISON sentences of 16 and 20 years for mafia bosses and Cuban-American Jose Manuel Battle Jr. and Jose Miguel Battle Sr., provoke the most scandalous comparison with the life sentences handed down to Cuban agents who were working against terrorism in Miami.
Jose Manuel Battle Rodriguez was sentenced in Miami federal court on March 17 to 16 years’ prison time for the same reason that his father Jose Miguel Battle Vargas, the Cuban godfather of the band of gangsters known for gangsterism and extortion by the same Miami court.
At first sight, these events are not particularly interesting, although Julio Acuña, one of their accomplices, received a life sentence, and assets of the convicts worth $642million, deposited in banks in Switzerland and Key Biscayne are to be seized.
Battle Sr., who is ill, was the head of an organized crime syndicate that had connections from New York and Florida with Latin America.
In the federal cae brought against him for conspiracy, Battle Sr., his son Jose Manuel and three other who were tired - Acuña, Evelyn Runciman and Valerio Cerron - were found guilty last June of five counts of premeditated murder, four counts of arson that caused eight deaths, and of having amassed a fortune of more than $1.5 billion that they collected over 40 years of criminal activity, including drug-trafficking, bookmaking and illegal gambling.
The Corporation used the arson and murders to intimidate or eliminate rival gangs and groups, along with other types of threats, according to Tony Gonzalez, the federal prosecutor in charge of the case. With such a long, well-known, bloody criminal record, it should come as a surprise that they should have received such relatively benign sentences, Bank of Manhattan.
When he arrived in the United States in 1959 from Cuba, Jose Miguel Battle resided in Miami. After the Bay of Pigs, he was appointed second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, like son many other among his comrades in CIA-and U.S. government-sponsored adventures. In the mid-60s, he went to his old friend in Cosa Nostra, and with their support moved to New Jersey an started his own large-scale gambling operations in Cuban neighborhoods. Part of his profits went to Italian-American Mafia bosses, with whom he made a deal through Santos Trafficante and Joseph Zicarello. Via that mutual aid agreement with Cosa Nostra, he controlled 700 jobs and betting pools in five cities in New York and dozens of places in New Jersey.
Lombardi, the commission investigator, stated the Battle took control only after committing several murders and provoking a number of cases of arson.
His empire initially spread by taking advantage of corrupt police and politicians, the investigator added. The investigator’s assertion is still valid.
The report revealed in another report that those groups still have corrupt “protectors,” including lawyers, judges, politicians, financiers, advisors and business owners who shield them from civil and criminal prosecution. It said that every week, a convoy of Corporation vehicles, full of armed guards, would travel from one place to another picking up the profits, which in New York alone topped $45 million annually.
Battle was arrested several times and faced charges such as kidnapping and assault, along with other illegal activities, but had only served a total of 31 month’s prison time. Once out of prison, Battle moved to Madrid, where he continued directing the operations of “La Corporacion,” by using messengers. He later returned to the United States to serve another oh his three sentences.
The godfather has used a number of names, such as Jose Miguel Vargas, Miguel Blazquez and Rafael Franco Tesona. Lombardi stated in a commission hearing that the Corporation’s profits, following the lead of “l’onorata societa” (the mafia), were also invested in legitimate businesses associated with financier Hugo Acebo, a former French language university professor in Connecticut.
It is known that some of those investments were made in the Management and Mortage Co., Financial Research Co., Travel and Tours and El Zapotal Realty Inc. The organization began to expand its operations in Miami when Battle Jr. and Rydz became associated with a company originally former by Acebo. In 1982, the invested almost $1.25 million in Dade County real estate, considering the nature and reach of their crimes, compared to the ruthless treatment meted out to the Cuban Five in Miami: Antonio, Fernando, Gerardo, Ramon and Rene, accused of being species for combating the terrorism sanctified in the city by Cuban-born gangsters. The explanation is simple one. The thing is, an important piece of information was missing in a recent article published in the Miami Herald newspaper: Jose Miguel Battle, like Luis Posada Carriles, like Felix Rodriguez Mendigutia, like Jorge Mas Canosa, are veterans of the invasion of Cuba on Giron Beach, know in the mainstream media as the Bay of Pigs invasion-not for a pejorative reason, but because the beach is located in the Bay of Pigs. The three are officers of the U.S. Army and were part of Operation 40, created, organized, financed and trained by the CIA to destroy Cuba. Battle’s organization began in New York in the mid-1960s with what was called la bolita, a type of illegal lottery that used to be popular in Cuba. TWENTY YEARS AGO, IN 1986, I wrote the following in my book, LA DROGA NOSTRA, still published: Federal investigato Anthony Lombardi stated in June 1986 that Jose Miguel Battle, a former Batista police agent who was outstanding in the “vice department,” was head of that criminal group of 2,500 members, also involved in drug trafficking. According to Lombardi, the godfather, Battle-who participated in the 1961 CIA-sponsored invasion of Cuba and who attained the rank of U.S. Army lieutenant in Fort Benning-along with Posada Carriles, Felix Rodriguez, Jorge Mas Canosa and other Bay of Pigs veterans trained there I, making and using explosives for terrorist purposes, created and ingenious mechanism in New Jersey and Miami for “laundering” profits from drug trafficking and gambling via the official lottery in Puerto Rico. Members of the Corporation were buying numbers on the Puerto Rican lottery and selling them in New York, Miami and Los Angeles, Lombardi charged. They would then buy the winning numbers at a price higher that the winner’s purse and cash in on them in Puerto Rico, which enabled them to make the funds legal. But they weren’t always so clever. Lucky Luciano admitted in his memoirs that the Mafia paid hundreds of millions of dollars to the dictator Fulgencio Batista for gambling concessions. What is less well-known in that the police chief, officers and even security guards also received their share? That was how policeman Jose Miguel Battle got hooked up in Havana with Santos Trafficante and learned the Mafia’s methods for running their business, the “known-how” of drug trafficking and gambling. Battle left his native country after Batista’s overthrown, refreshed his contacts with Cosa Nostra in Miami, and Began operating the lottery, using the same brutal methods that he learned from the mafia, not so necessary In Havana, but they were in the United States. In a report issued by a commission created by former U.S. president Reagan to investigate organized crime, it was state that Jose Miguel Battle Sr. gave an assassin $15,000 and six 38 caliber bullets, telling him what he wanted done. The report quoted him telling the hit man to put a bullet between a victim’s eyes, and to hurt him in any other part of his body. It said he told the man that he knew he loved his son, and that if something went wrong, the son would be the first to be killed. This was evidence provided to the investigative commission by Carlos Hernandez, the hit man who recounted how Battle gave the orders to kill a disloyal employee. And he also mentioned arson attacks on businesses to protect hi own $100 million yearly enterprise. The report continued by saying that Battle was known by some as the Godfather, and that he violently dominated the world of Lainto betting and was particularly cruel with his competitors; more that 30 unsolved murders and cases of arson were attributed to him. In New York City alone, 18 homicides committed between 1981 and 1983 were linked to the Corporation. The Commission then listed some of the most violent crimes: -the 1976 murder in Miami of disloyal employee who was shot between the eyes, allegedly on director orders from Battle, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy in the case. -The murder in 1983 of a possible competitor who, before dying, told a detective that Battle was laughing nearby when he was shot. No charges were brought. -The murder in 1984 of an young woman who supposedly saw her boyfriend murdered by gunmen hired by the Corporation, and who then agreed to testify as a government witness. The Dade County district attorney attempted to try one of the hit men hired by Battle, Julio Acuña, and presented Idelia as witness to the murder. But shortly before the trial, she showed up dead in her apartment with two bullets to the head. In his 1970 trial for the death of Ernesto Torres and other charges, Battle was sentenced to 34 year in prison, and for inexplicable reasons, served only 18. During the commission’s hearing, Battle lawyer, Jack Blumenfeld, called his client a “Cuban patriot,” referring to his CIA- paid participation in the Bay of the Pigs invasion Other testimony indicated the Battle’s empire had obtained hundreds of millions in profits and was spreading through the Latino neighborhoods of New York, New Jersey, Los Angeles, Boston, Houston, Miami and Tampa. The deposits of the Corporation were mostly made to Capitol National paying mostly in cash. The Godfather bought a mansion an d19-acre ranch in Miami, located at 17249 SW Street, with fruit groves, a swimming pool, fighting cocks and dogs. He was living the comfortably, like a southern gentleman. The group also administrated banks and “Laundered” its capital by using, in addition to the official lottery in Puerto Rico, the complicity of bank officials, Lombardi noted. Apparently in 2006 and 2007, the criminal history of the Battle family was not taken into account. The mass media in Miami is failing to tell that story now, just as they did with the political history of the Cuban Five. I would like to refer my readers to “The Changing Face of Organized Crime in New Jersey; a Status Report,” dated May 2004. The court rulings revealed, paradoxically, that the political history of Jose Miguel Battle Vargas was taken into account, just like those of Posada Carriles, Felix Rodriguez, Mas Canosa and so many others.