José Basulto

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José Basulto
José Basulto.jpg
Basulto in Miami, Florida, U.S.A. in 2010
Born Jose Jesus Basulto Leon
(1940-08-08) August 8, 1940 (age 76)
Santiago de Cuba, Cuba
Nationality Cuban, American
Occupation Pilot
Known for Leader of Brothers to the Rescue

Jose Jesus Basulto Leon (born August 8, 1940) is the leader of the nonprofit Cuban exile organization Brothers to the Rescue. This group assisted Cuban emigrant rafters fleeing from the country until 1996 when two Brothers to the Rescue planes were shot down by the Cuban Air Force.


Since the Cuban Revolution, Basulto participated in various activities intended to subvert or overthrow the Cuban government. After the revolution, he was trained by the CIA in intelligence, communications, explosives, sabotage and subversion in Panama, Guatemala, and the United States. He was later placed back into Cuba, posing as a physics student at the University of Santiago to help prepare the ground for the Bay of Pigs Invasion.

In 1961, under CIA sponsorship, Basulto infiltrated Cuba for a commando operation intended to sabotage an alleged missile site, a mission which was ultimately aborted. In August 1962 he was involved in an expedition of the Directorio Revolucionario Estudantil which took a boat to Cuba and fired a 20 mm cannon at a hotel, though nobody was killed in the incident.

In the 1980s Basulto flew medical supplies to the Nicaraguan Contras.

Ever since the Cuban government shot down the planes, Basulto has sought to have criminal and civil charges pressed over the matter. He was awarded a $1.7 million judgement in January 2005. On May 24 of that same year, Basulto announced a one million dollar reward for information leading to the indictment of Raúl Castro on drug charges or charges related to the shooting of the Hermanos planes. ""It would throw a wrench in the machinery", Basulto said of a possible indictment. [2]

Aviator and leader of "Brothers to the Rescue"[edit]

Brothers to the Rescue formed in 1991 and describes itself as a humanitarian organization aiming to assist and rescue raft refugees emigrating from Cuba and to "support the efforts of the Cuban people to free themselves from dictatorship through the use of active nonviolence".

The Cuban government, on the other hand, accuses them of involvement in terrorist acts.[1] In the course of many flights throughout the early 1990s, the group's planes made repeated incursions into Cuban territory. While these were widely considered airspace violations, Brothers to the Rescue believes that these were acts of legitimate resistance against the government. In 1996, ignoring a final warning by Cuba, two Brothers to the Rescue planes were shot down by the Cuban Air Force, leading to international condemnation.


^ Information from the 2001 Cuban spy trial, referred in The Miami Herald, March 13, 2001. [3] ^ See, for example, Granma International, December 13, 2005. [4]



  1. ^ Annex to the letter dated 29 October 2001 from the Permanent Representative of Cuba to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General. Summary of principal terrorist actions against Cuba (1990-2000). [1]

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