Fire in Miami Cuba Travel Office Raises Eyebrows, and Spectre from the Past
While the FBI investigates a fire that destroyed, or in the owner’s words, “pulverized” the offices of a company that offers flights to Cuba (and coordinated a Cuban American delegation to the island for Pope Benedict’s recent trip), news that a K-9 alerted for accelerant on the premises almost immediately raises the spectre of firebombings past in Miami. More than a decade has passed since the last reported incidents of Cuban exile terrorism targeting Cuban Americans in Miami that seen as too soft on or cozy with Cuba.
"There are people that had a lot of torture, a lot of killings back on the island, and they don't appreciate A, the new wave of Cubans that are coming over and the new immigrants that are coming over that just don't have a recollection of what happened to the previous generation," said Ian Martinez, who works in an office at the building.
Martinez put his finger on the issue. For those who remember, it is hard to countenance how willingly and easily all of these new (and not so new) immigrants go back to the island the older generation fled, most of whom vow never to return while the Castros remain. Thanks to President Obama’s 2009 rules revision, families can now freely travel to see their loved ones on the island – it’s been estimated that more than 400,000 made the trip last year. Hard as this phenomenon must be to watch for some longtime exiles, it’s also hard to understand how anyone who sought refuge in the United States would begrudge their brethren the choice, the freedom, to do as they wish, and especially to resort to violence. Having the choice to stay here or to go back is something that should set the United States apart from Cuba.
If the FBI’s investigation concludes this was indeed a firebombing, harkening back to the bad old days when anyone reaching out to Cuba was truly a target for Cuban exile terrorists operating in South Florida (and a few of whom were trained by the CIA) will anti-Castro political leaders in the community unequivocally condemn such tactics in this day and age? Their reactions could be crucial in either fanning or tamping down the flames of extremism among a small but hard core group in the community. In a community where Luis Posada Carriles, the most infamous Cuban exile terrorist of them all, still roams free, unequivocal condemnation for such tactics - one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter, so they say - could be yet elusive.