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Cabrera At The Copa

Times: Drug dealer hit up for contribution in Havana


NEW YORK (AllPolitics, April 4) -- Jorge Cabrera, the convicted drug smuggler whose contribution to and perks from the Democratic Party have become a major embarrassment to the party, was hit up for his $20,000 donation in Cuba, of all places, The New York Times reported today.

Unidentified congressional investigators told the Times that Vivian Mannerud, a Cuban-American businesswoman from Miami described by officials as "a fairly prominent and successful fund-raiser," approached Cabrera in November 1995 in Havana's Copacabana Hotel and promised he'd get an invitation to a dinner for Vice President Al Gore if he contributed to the party.

Investigators say Cabrera then deposited almost $12,000 in drug proceeds into a bank account to help cover the $20,000 check he wrote a few days later.

cuba, havana

Cabrera attended the Gore dinner where he had his picture taken with the vice president, and later went to the White House for a Christmas party, where he had his picture taken with First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. Those pictures have come to symbolize the party's fund-raising woes.

Democrats returned Cabrera's donation last October after discovering that he had prior convictions and had pled guilty during 1996 to charges of smuggling three tons of cocaine into the U.S. Cabrera has been sentenced to 19 years in prison and fined $1.5 million.

Mannerud told the Times that she only vaguely remembers seeing Cabrera in Cuba, and does not recall having asked him for a contribution there.

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