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Cuba says it foiled terror plot, claims exiles planned 'violent actions'

By Patrick Oppmann, CNN
updated 7:14 PM EDT, Wed May 7, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: The State Department says it hasn't heard from Cuba about the accusations
  • NEW: Cuban exile: "It's all a smoke screen to start a crackdown on dissidents"
  • Cuba says it's arrested four U.S. residents involved in a terrorist plot

Havana, Cuba (CNN) -- Cuba says it foiled a terrorist plot by Cuban exiles to attack military facilities on the island and has arrested four U.S. residents.

According to an Interior Ministry statement, the men -- identified as Jose Ortega Amador, Obdulio Rodriguez Gonzalez, Raibel Pacheco Santos and Feliz Monzon Alvarez -- were arrested last month after traveling to Cuba to "promote violent actions."

It was not clear whether the men had been officially charged or appointed attorneys.

The statement said Cuban officials would ask the U.S. government to investigate the activities of the men, who the statement said were all U.S. residents.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Wednesday that she did not have additional information about the accusations.

"The Cuban government has also not been in touch with us yet on these cases," she told reporters.

The Cuban government alleged that the arrested men have ties with Luis Posada Carriles, a Cuban exile and former CIA operative accused of blowing up a Cuban commercial airliner in 1976. Posada has denied he participated in that attack, but he remains a wanted man in Cuba and Venezuela for his alleged role in the airline bombing, which killed 73 people.

In its statement Wednesday, Cuba's interior ministry also accused several other Miami-based exiles of orchestrating plans for an attack.

One of them, Santiago Alvarez, denied any association with the men Cuba says it arrested.

"I don't recognize the names," he said. "It's all a smoke screen to start a crackdown on dissidents."

CNN's Catherine E. Shoichet and Adriana Hauser contributed to this report.

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