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Declaración de las organizaciones de la emigración cubana en Miami en contra del terrorismo y a favor de los viajes a Cuba
2 de mayo de 2012
Presentes en esta Conferencia de Prensa estamos los representantes de las siguientes organizaciones de la emigración cubana en Miami: la Alianza Martiana –como organización individual-, la Brigada Antonio Maceo, la Asociación José Martí, la ATC, el Círculo Bolivariano de Miami, la Asociación de Mujeres Cristianas en Defensa de la Familia -estas organizaciones conforman la coalición Alianza Martiana-; la Fundación para la Normalización de las Relaciones entre Estados Unidos y Cuba (Fornorm), la Liga de Defensa Cubanoamericana, además del Partido Socialista de los Trabajadores (SWP).
FBI investigating fire at Cuba travel company in Coral Gables
The FBI and ATF have joined the investigation into a “deliberate” fire at the Coral Gables office of a Cuba travel company.
Apr. 27, 2012
A pre-dawn blaze that destroyed the Coral Gables offices of Airline Brokers, one of the eight companies that charter flights to Cuba, was “deliberate,” law enforcement officials said Friday.
Deborah Cox, spokesperson for the State Fire Marshal’s office, said the cause of the blaze was under investigation by her agency, the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the Coral Gables fire department. She declined further comment.
But law enforcement officials told El Nuevo Herald that the fire was “deliberate.” They declined further comment, and asked for anonymity because they were not authorized to comment on the case.
Vivian Mannerud, owner and chief executive of Airline Brokers, said investigators have not given her any indications on the cause for the fire, and added that she had received no threats in recent years from anyone objecting to her business with the island.
But she said she believed the blaze was “definitely suspicious” and added, “I hope those days are not back” — a reference to the 1970s and 1980s, when the offices and homes of several people perceived as being close to Cuba were bombed.
One FBI agent spotted interviewing Mannerud on Friday morning near her burned-out office is a member of a South Florida counter-terrorism task force.
In a 12-month period in 1975-1976, South Florida saw more terrorist attacks than the Middle East, according to news media reports from that time. The vast majority was carried out by anti-Castro radicals, but some were suspected to be the work of Castro agents trying to stir up trouble among exile groups and the U.S. government.
Mannerud told El Nuevo Herald that the blaze in her ground-floor office at 815 Ponce De Leon was so intense that it partially melted a beam holding up the second and third stories.
The building, mostly occupied by lawyers’ offices, was condemned by fire marshals, she added.
Two of the office’s three large picture-windows appeared to be completely gone after the blaze, which set off the fire alarm at 3:30 a.m. The building was recently refurbished, and it was likely its windows were hurricane-proof, according to other tenants.
Mannerud’s personal office was “pulverized to rubble and ashes,” she noted, but the travel documents that she was holding for clients headed to Cuba were not damaged because they were kept in a fire-proof safe.
Her agency’s flights to Cuba also will not be affected, she added. Other Cuba travel companies are pitching in to help with the complex documentation and communications required of the flights because of the U.S. embargo on the island.
Mannerud, who has been active in several humanitarian campaigns in Cuba and Haiti, played a major role in helping the Miami archdiocese organize the trip by more than 300 pilgrims to Cuba to take part in Pope Benedict XVI’s three-day visit last month.
While there was strong opposition within the Cuban exile community in South Florida to the late Pope John Paul II’s visit to Cuba in 1998, Benedict’s visit sparked only scattered criticism and no bombings or other violent protests.
President Barack Obama’s decision to lift virtually all restrictions on Cuban-American travel to the island in 2009 also drew only relatively muted criticism.
The fire at Airline Brokers took place as Cuban diplomats in Washington prepared to host about 150 “respectful” Cubans living in the United States Saturday for a day of discussions on how to try to change U.S. policies toward the communist-ruled island.
Public opinion polls and academic reports have argued that Cubans in South Florida are increasingly younger, less political and more in favor of easing restrains on the so-called “family reunification” trips to Cuba.
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