Demonstrators who clashed with others in Little Havana over Cuban exile militant Luis Posada Carriles said Sunday they intend to press charges against people they said attacked them during the rally.
Friday's fracas unfolded when about 100 people gathered at the Bay of Pigs memorial at Southwest Eighth Street and 13th Avenue to show support for Posada, charged in El Paso with lying about how he sneaked into the United States in 2005.
Michael Martinez, 24, of the Bolívarian Youth group, said he and three other friends showed up with a four-foot-long banner that read, ''Terrorists to Jail,'' referring to Posada.
Martinez said Miguel Saavedra, leader of the Cuban exile group Vigilia Mambisa, and other pro-Posada demonstrators attacked anti-Posada protesters.
Martinez said he was struck in the head with a megaphone, while several protesters kicked, punched and tossed beer cans at him, his three friends and their car.
Saavedra said he is going to wait to see what -- if any -- charges are filed before commenting.
They attacked four young people who burst into the demonstration they were staging to raise a banner which claimed: “Terrorist to prison”
MIAMI.— Representatives of the anti-Cuban rightwing showed what they are made of, when they attacked four young people at a demonstration who were carrying a banner which read “Terrorist to Prison,” referring to notorious international terrorist Luis Posada Carriles
According to press agencies, a group of people were gathered on Calle 8 to demand the release of the Posada Carriles when the four young people raised the banner, which was promptly destroyed by demonstrators who them slapped, kicked, and punched the youths, reported AFP.
A photographer from an international press agency was hit with a megaphone between the kidneys; no police were present, stated the press release.
But the brutality of the beating should not come as a surprise. Among the leaders of the demonstration were a handful of Posada’s cohorts who boast a long history of terrorist actions against Cuba including Rodolfo Frometa, founder of the F-4 Commando group and Orlando Bosch, Posada´s partner in the 1976 midair bombing of a Cuban passenger plane that killed all 73 aboard. Bosh has also threatened that, if Posada were to die in jail, “many people” would protest and cause “a problem” for the United States.
On Friday it was also known that Santiago Alvarez, another of Posada’s partners, hand over dozens of machine guns, C-4 explosives, munitions and grenade launchers to the police. The weapons were to be used in terrorist attacks against Cuba. The manoeuvre was a move by Alvarez to obtain a reduction of his recent four-year sentence for illegal weapons possession, reported the El Nuevo Herald newspaper.
The new arms cache is addition to the one found in his possession when he was first detained, further proof of his unyielding determination to commit terrorist operations against the Cuban people, like those carried out for decades by Luis Posada Carriles.
A fracas broke out today at a Little Havana gathering in support of Luis Posada Carriles, the Cuban exile terrorist facing federal prosecution.
About 70 people were gathered a little after noon near the Bay of Pigs memorial at Southwest Eighth Street and 13th Avenue. They were playing loud music, waving signs and exhorting motorists to honk their horns in support of Posada when a group of about 30 protesters materialized across the street, denouncing Posada as a terrorist.
Miguel Saavedra, president of Vigilia Mambisa, an anti-Castro group and one of the organizers of the rally, yelled, ''Communists!''. The two sides briefly clashed, and a Posada critic was hit in the head with a microphone before the critics dispersed.
Saavedra called the U.S. prosecution of Posada on immigration charges ``ridiculous.''
''He has brought a lot of justice to many people,'' Saavedra said.
The rally was organized also by other well-known terrorists: Comandos F-4, Alpha-66, and Orlando Bosch, accomplice of Posada in the Cubana airliner bombing in 1976.
Fernando Balanda, who has lived in the United States for 30 years, was on hand for the rally, saying he felt compelled to show support for his ``Cuban brothers.'
The nerve center of the rally was a car with speakers cranked up, playing the Cuban national anthem. Cuban and American flags fluttered in the air, and cars honked as they rolled by.
Signs declared Posada a hero and a patriot.
Posada, a former CIA operative with ties to the failed Bay of Pigs invasion, is suspected of plotting the bombing of a Cuban jetliner 30 years ago. He was indicted last week in El Paso, Texas, on charges of lying under oath when applying for naturalization to the United States in September 2005 and last April.
A federal immigration judge who had ordered Posada out of the United States ruled he could not be sent to either Cuba or Venezuela, where he once faced trial for the airliner bombing. Several countries have rejected U.S. requests to take Posada.
Rally calls for Posada's release
Cuban militant in U.S. custody on federal charges
by Ruth Morris
January 20, 2007
Reprinted from the
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
More than 200 people rallied in Miami's Little Havana on Friday for the release of anti-Castro militant Luis Posada Carriles, waving flags at honking cars. Some of them chased after a small group of counter-protesters who fled the scene.
The gathering was meant as a show of support for Posada, whom federal authorities charged last week with naturalization fraud and six counts of making false statements during a naturalization proceeding. An ex-CIA operative suspected of plotting the bombing of a Cuban jetliner 30 years ago, Posada has spent almost two years in U.S. custody since federal agents in Miami arrested him for illegally entering the country.
The case has galvanized an older guard of the Cuban-American community dedicated to discrediting Cuban President Fidel Castro and prepared to overlook claims that Posada committed acts of terrorism in his campaign to damage Castro's communist regime.
"Posada Carriles is a decent person. All the things they say about him are untrue," said Arturo Perez, like many attendees, a retiree. Nearby, supporters waved posters reading "Freedom to Our Hero" and draped a large Cuban flag next to a Bay of Pigs memorial on Calle Ocho in the Little Havana neighborhood.
"He has been a person dedicated to the freedom of his country," echoed Josafina Calviz.
The demonstration turned violent when two young men appeared on the opposite side of the street with a banner calling for terrorists to be jailed. Posada supporters ran across the street, kicking, punching and spitting on the youths. As they ran to their car, Posada supporters pursued.
Miguel Saavedra, head of the Cuban exile group Vigilia Mambisa and one of the event's organizers, threw his megaphone at the counter-protesters.
"Those who come to provoke, we'll chase them away with punches," Saavedra said.
Miami police said they responded to the scene and spoke to witnesses who confirmed the confrontation. Police said they did not speak to the young men, who had left.
Also during the gathering, participants unveiled a statue of Castro holding up a replica of Cuba with blood pouring down his arms. A Spanish newspaper reported this week that Castro had endured three failed operations to treat an intestinal infection that worsened when a suture burst.
Posada, too, has been plagued by health problems, including skin cancer. He is being held at an immigration detention center in El Paso, Texas.
"If he were to die in jail, that would be a problem for this country," said Orlando Bosch, another well-known Cuban exile accused of participating in militant attacks. Referring to the sizeable Cuban-American community in the United States, he added, "Two million people protesting is a lot of people."
If convicted, Posada, 79, could be sentenced to more than 10 years in prison.