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Cuban Group Demands Retraction

July 16, 1998

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The New York Times is defending two stories that linked a prominent Cuban-American exile group to a bombing campaign in Cuba directed against Fidel Castro.

The Cuban American National Foundation attacked the stories as false, the Times as biased and a key source for the stories as unreliable. The group asked the Times to retract the stories that ran earlier in the week.

``They have pointed to nothing in the Times stories that requires a correction in our view,″ Times spokeswoman Nancy Nielsen said Thursday.

In articles published Sunday and Monday, the Times quoted a militant Cuban exile as saying his bombing campaign in Cuba was financed by the Cuban American National Foundation and by its late leader, Jorge Mas Canosa.

``These articles are offensive, slanderous and defamatory,″ said Jorge Mas Santos, who took over as the group’s director after his father’s death last year.

A lawyer for the Miami-based group released a letter sent to the newspaper’s publisher and executive editor, asking the Times to withdraw the portions of the stories dealing with the alleged bombing links.

At a news conference Thursday in Washington, lawyer George Fowler said the group also plans to seek monetary damages in a lawsuit. Fowler said the group has not decided where or when to sue. It is not clear whether the suit would allege libel, defamation or both.

The newspaper has said the stories were based on about 13 hours of interviews with militant exile Luis Posada Carriles and more than 100 other sources.

The Times quoted Posada as saying he is responsible for organizing a series of bombings last year at hotels, nightclubs and restaurants in Cuba. One blast killed an Italian tourist. Posada is quoted as saying the elder Mas sent him more than $200,000 over several years to help finance the anti-Castro violence.

After the Times articles appeared, Posada gave an interview to Miami television station WLTV in which he denied making those statements.

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