Arrests of accused Miami Cuban American ‘terrorists’ in Cuba smelling fishier and fishier
The stench is so overpowering, even the olfactory-challenged New York Times has caught a whiff:
Politics Seen in Cuban Accusations of Military Plot by Miami Men
MIAMI — There was a time not all that long ago that Santiago Alvarez, a Miami developer, fantasized about swinging an automatic weapon over his shoulder and heading back to Cuba to incite an uprising.
His criminal record shows he did a bit more than daydream.
A 30-month federal prison stint for illegally possessing a cache of weapons behind him, the 72-year-old Mr. Alvarez is among a small group of older Cuban exile activists who the Castro government believes are still plotting its demise. He and six other Miami men were accused by Cuban officials Wednesday of plotting a violent attack on military installations in Cuba with the hopes of toppling the Communist government.
Mr. Alvarez denies any involvement in the alleged plot. Some others here raised questions about how much the case is about crime and how much is about politics. Four of the men are in custody in Havana in connection with an episode that to Mr. Alvarez and others has the feel of something more from the past than the present.
“I wish I could get a rifle and fight the dictatorship, but that is not realistic,” he said on Thursday. “We cannot live in the past.”
Fifty-five years after Fidel Castro won an armed rebellion of his own and a week after Washington again kept Cuba on its short list of state sponsors of terrorism, the Cuban government publicly announced that violent plots persist.
Cuba-watchers said the case was hard to separate from political theater, particularly because the announcement came on the heels of a visit by four members of Congress to see Alan Gross, an American imprisoned for illegally taking satellite gear to Cuba. With his case on the diplomatic forefront and Cuba still pushing for the release of three Cuban agents jailed in the United States, experts say Havana is likely to use the latest arrests for its diplomatic benefit.
Although Miami was long the birthplace of conspiracies to overthrow the Castros, experts say most aging exiles have embraced nonviolent avenues toward democracy.
“I just don’t see it,” said Andy S. Gomez, a Cuba expert, who retired last year from the University of Miami and who voiced skepticism about the charges. “There are some old-timers that believe the only way to topple the regime is by doing these activities, but over the years those numbers have decreased to really nothing.”
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