On Jan. 17, right-wing anti-Cuban terrorist Santiago Alvarez arranged for the turnover of a large cache of weapons to the U.S. attorney’s office in Miami. It was a bid to reduce his prison sentence and that of his co-conspirator, Osvaldo Mitat. Alvarez and Mitat accepted plea deals in September 2006 to avoid being tried for more serious charges of illegal weapons possession.
The cache included illegal machine guns, C-4 explosives, dynamite and grenade launchers. Gloria La Riva, national coordinator of the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five, told PSLweb.org that authorities also have in their possession "recorded statements calling for a nightclub full of people to be bombed and admissions of plots to assassinate the Cuban president." It is no stretch of the imagination to call these men terrorists.
Terrorists Osvaldo Mitat, right, and Santiago Alvarez, left.
The two assisted Luis Posada Carriles in entering and hiding in South Florida in 2005. Carriles, a former CIA operative, was behind the 1976 bombing of a Cubana airline flight from Barbados. The bombing killed 73 people. Carriles has committed additional major terrorist crimes.
Due to their "cooperation" in turning over the weapons cache, Alvarez and Mitat expect that their respective four- and three-year prison sentences will be reduced by one or two years.
While the U.S. government promotes fear of terrorism to pursue its goals of domination in the Middle East and other parts of the world, it has allowed admitted terrorists to function in Miami. Instead of prosecuting Posada, Alvarez, and Mitat for their real crimes, the U.S. government is bending over backwards to set them free.
At every opportunity, Alvarez and Mitat have expressed clearly their goal of terrorizing the people of socialist Cuba, a nation that is not at war with United States.
"It is clear that the U.S. officials’ orientation in coddling the Miami terrorists comes directly from the White House. George Bush has failed to utter one word denouncing or acknowledging Luis Posada Carriles’s presence in the United States or his terrorist history," said La Riva.
"Bush’s attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, has yet to declare Posada a terrorist. By his inaction, Gonzales may be giving the ultimate green light to Posada. The immigration judge has set Feb. 1 for the U.S. government to declare Posada the terrorist that he is, or he could very well be freed," La Riva continued.
The weapons turnover came just days after Gilberto Abascal, an FBI informant who was previously tied to Alvarez, reported finding a pipe bomb under his pickup truck at his Hialeah home. Last August, Abascal was shot at the Hialeah Rancho Grande restaurant.
Abascal was the primary witness that led to the convictions of Alvarez and Mitat. He is also the main witness that led to the federal indictment of Posada on fraud charges.
Posada claims he entered the United States from the Mexican border, but Abascal asserts that Alvarez, Mitat and others picked him up from Isla Mujeres, Mexico, and brought him to the U.S. shore by boat.
At the same time, the Cuban Five—Cuban nationals who were involved in stopping terrorist activity in Miami—have languished in prison since their arrest in 1998 with sentences ranging from 12 years to double life. Organizations and individuals that are struggling to free these five men and that organize additional progressive events are increasingly coming under attack by pro-terrorist forces.
Free speech rally called
On Friday, Jan. 19, four anti-terrorist protesters held up a sign across the street from a right-wing, pro-Posada rally in the Little Havana section of Miami. The four were viciously attacked by several from the pro-terrorist crowd that numbered more than 100. Their automobile was also damaged during the attack.
In December 2006, during the Venezuelan elections, South Florida Venezuelan citizens went to vote at the Orange Bowl. A progressive, Miami-based solidarity group, the Círculo Bolivariano, held a permitted pro-Chavez rally.
"These Chavez supporters were attacked by anti-Chavez Venezuelans and Cubans," said Andrés Gomez, a leader of the Alianza Martiana, a coalition of several progressive Cuban organizations in Miami.
"The police intervened in the attack, but there were never any assault charges placed on the attackers," said Gomez.
To challenge this precedent of right-wing attacks, progressive Cuban organizations and other South Florida groups, including the ANSWER Coalition-Florida (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism), will be holding a press conference next week to denounce this trend of violence against progressives in Miami.
These groups will also come together for a Feb. 3 rally at the Torch of Friendship demanding free speech and freedom of assembly in Miami. The demonstration will take place at 1 p.m.
Click here for background on Alvarez's and Mitat's case.