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Книга Army of Devils. Страница 9

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As a young lawyer volunteering his services to the committee, Mario Silva continued in his discipline of intense work and quick romances. He also worked as a junior associate in the corporate law office of one of his father's friends from pre-Revolutionary Cuba. Often he left the law firm's elegant Wilshire Boulevard offices and drove directly to the dingy, crowded office of the committee to review immigration cases and the marijuana arrests of barrio "homeboys." In the late evenings, he dated young women from the law offices, speeding over the freeways from disco to disco in his Porsche.

Though he did not talk of his volunteer work, his investment of time and choice of cases told of his social concerns. At the expense of his practice of prestigious and lucrative corporate law, he spent hours every evening and weekend with the troubles of illegal aliens and teenage gang boys, poor Chicano families and minimum-wage workers wronged by their employers. His quiet dedication demonstrated what other activists only preached.

His commitment to social causes won the recognition of the other volunteers. A relationship with an attractive young Marxist novelist — she taught classes in English as a Second Language in the evening — assured an inside position with the leadership group despite his links with corporations and antisocialist Cubans. When his Marxist girl friend nominated him, her activist associates honored Mario Silva with the chairmanship of the committee.

As his first move as chairman, he proposed dissolving the committee and the restructuring of their organization as a nonprofit community-service corporation. He surprised his associates with a prepared book-thick proposal detailing the advantages and opportunities of operating a nonprofit corporation within a corporate capitalist society.

With the help of his law firm, Silva created the Los Angeles Youth Action Corporation. With secret aid from his family — strong supporters of President Richard Nixon — LAYAC contributed thousands of dollars to the Committee to Reelect the President. LAYAC organized hundreds of Hispanic youths to encourage registration of voters and knock on doors for the reelection of Richard Nixon.

After the inauguration, LAYAC received a grant of one million dollars from the reelected administration.

With the mandate of offering employment and services for the young people of Los Angeles, Silva invested the money in offices, staff and equipment. He also contributed some of the federal money to the campaigns of local and state leaders.

Merchants and businessmen and corporations found LAYAC particularly useful. When contractors needed ethnic faces and names to satisfy government requirements for minority participation in public projects, Silva established corporate subsidiaries headed by Chicanos or blacks. When national corporations wanted to demonstrate equal-opportunity policies, Silva financed franchises that were owned, managed and staffed by minorities. When manufacturers wanted to establish credibility as progressive employers, Silva gathered hundreds of unemployed teenagers and organized showcase job-training programs for the cameras of newsmen and journalists.

The joint ventures and the media events won the attention of politicians. They recognized flair and success. In the next few years, Silva and the Los Angeles Youth Action Corporation received ten million dollars in federal and state grants, Small Business Administration low-interest loans and private donations. In turn, Silva invested millions in the campaigns of his political friends.

To fully exploit his national connections, Silva created a real-estate subsidiary, which then bought a $500,000 condominium in Washington, D.C. He flew often to the capital to entertain legislators, administrators and foreign political and business leaders.

During the Nixon and Ford administrations, LAYAC expanded far beyond Los Angeles. Ventures in Central America and South America, Europe and the Middle East generated cash flow to the charitable organization. Though the subsidiaries did not show great profits, Silva told his associates he foresaw long-term dividends.

A calculated and cynical observation prompted Silva to decline to offer his staff and volunteers to the campaign to reelect President Ford. Silva knew Ford would lose. The LAYAC volunteers walked the precincts for Carter.

Though the Carter administration sent accountants to review the nonprofit corporation's records and charitable procedures, the federal investigators never actually entered the LAYAC offices. They visited Silva's luxury home in Bel Air to interview the selfless young entrepreneur and glance through a few volumes he had assembled for their reading.

Later, Silva received an award from the Carter administration for his charitable contributions to the underprivileged of Los Angeles and the United States.

Years later, another investigation followed an unfortunate and never-publicized incident involving terrorism. A joint task force of FBI, LAPD and "unknown" commandos found a group of terrorists in a garage financed with LAYAC funds. Though a vicious firefight exterminated the terrorists before they could spray thousands of gallons of binary nerve gas into the night sky of Los Angeles, the incident prompted a thorough check of the garage owner's links to LAYAC. Somehow, Silva learned of the probe and petitioned all his elected friends to support his plea of total ignorance and innocence.

Despite many coincidences and questionable links — LAYAC trucking subsidiaries in Mexico and Central America that might have carried the fifty-gallon drums of binary gas, dead terrorists who had been gang punks in LAYAC counseling programs and the fact that all LAYAC staff personnel and their families had been in San Francisco the night of the planned annihilation of Los Angeles — the federal investigators reported that they had no suspicion of Silva's involvement in the attempted mass murder of the city's people.

That investigation still made Silva's hands shake when he thought of it. His girl friends had noticed that he drank more, often lapsing into the silence of alcohol introspection.

In those times, he questioned the wisdom of his secret life. He had many fears. If his father knew the truth of his son's success and prosperity, he would murder his son. If the federal government learned the identity of the nation and the organization that sponsored LAYAC, Silva would spend the rest of his life in prison, or with the good luck of escape, exile. If the police learned of his role in the gangs' bloody rampages, Silva faced Death Row.

Silva thought back on the innumerable stories of corruption and easy millions his father told of the Batista regime, when the Silva family enjoyed the prestige of government position and the wealth flowing upward from the hotels and casinos and brothels of Havana. He had also heard the stories of the politics and secret deals necessary to win profits for American corporations. In the United States — his father an ex-fascist colonel, now a corporate attorney — he had become wealthy through the same corrupt techniques he had practiced in pre-Revolutionary Cuba.

Was young Silva to blame for seeking the same advantages?

His university education in business management and his law school's basic courses in tax law revealed to him the difficulties of legally gained success.

Therefore, he looked around him for opportunity. How could a twenty-three-year-old university graduate gain immediate entry into the world of high finance and polite corruption? With his father's law firm? Perhaps after ten years of faithful association, his father and his office partners might grant their junior partner a favor. In other firms? No.

Mario Silva crafted his own plan for immediate wealth. And he did as his father had done; he sold the plan to the general who ruled Cuba.

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