Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Attack on the Bolivarian Youth

Yesterday, several anti-Castro groups planned a demonstration at the Bay of Pigs memorial on Calle Ocho, from noon to six. They specifically gathered to protest the recent indictments of Luis Posada Carriles, and to call for his immediate release. The day for the demonstration was repeatedly publicized on Radio Mambi by its regular callers (of which they have many). Oddly enough, the date and time for the protest was also publicized in the Miami Herald, the day before in a related article [not online].

As the demonstration began, a group of counter-demonstrators also showed up. Now, its important to state that there was only ONE video of the events that happened: that of WFOR CBS4 news, who also provide an unedited version online. After having seen the video and read several news reports of the incident, there were three anti-Posada protesters who were attacked by about another three to four pro-Posada protesters. The only provocation here was supposed chanting and holding up a large sign, that was later ripped up by the pro-Posada crowd. The anti-Posada group was attacked and chased away and have so far not filed any complaints to the police.

From the pictures and videos, the group that was attacked were members of the Bolivarian Youth and the attackers were members of Vigilia Mambisa, headed by Miguel Saavedra. The Miami New Times had a pretty good summary of Vigilia Mambisa in 2000 where they wrote that "[s]ome disapprove of Mambisa's street-theater tactics, labeling them emotional rather than practical... Other critics allege he and his band are paid provocateurs."

I have seen the Bolivarian Youth before when they had another counter-demonstration at the Orange Bowl for the Venezuelan Presidential election. There was video for that demonstration too, which also came close to becoming violent. They are a very politically active group who support many national and international causes.

I don't think anyone would want to characterize these two groups as violent, rather it seems that their deep differences on many issues requires a much more tolerant attitude.

Yet, only in Miami, where there is virtually little tolerance on the issue of Cuba, can such events occur. I place a lot of blame on the local media for their blind obedience and intimidation to the powerful Cuban-American political leadership, which continues to defend Luis Posada Carriles. The reports (so far) have not even made any attempt to contact the Bolivarian Youth, who were chased away before they could say anything to the media, and the incident is described as a "scuffle" or "clash", when in reality it was an attack.

Now, here's a way to make a judgment about some of the sentiments of the those who say that anti-Castro groups are generally peaceful and saintly. The video clearly shows the head of Vigilia Mambisa, Miguel Saavedra, chasing and hitting (at one point with his megaphone) a retreating member of the Bolivarian Youth.

Will Saavedra, or Vigilia Mambisa, be publicly condemned for their actions? Will anyone from the Cuban-American leadership (who know Saaverdra well) come out publicly to condemn his attack on the Bolivarian Youth?

Time will tell. Yet, I think some of us know what is likely to happen.


Manuel A. Tellechea said...

The "Bolivarian Youth? I will not dignify them by according them Bolívar's mantle any more than I would flatter you by recognizing any connection to our glorious mambises.

The more appropriate name for these agents provocateur is the Chávez Youth (and please feel free to add any echoes you may wish of the Hitler Youth). So now the Venezuelan troglodyte is using his hooligans to provoke and attack his beshitted friend's enemies on American soil?

There is your story. Or what should be your story.

Mambi_Watch said...

So, do you believe that Miguel Saavedra's actions were justified?

Do you believe the Bolivarian Youth got what they deserve?

This is the kind of thinking that allows all forms of political repression.

Robert said...

Based on the recorded comments of Saavedra, the Bolivarianos chanted "Viva Fidel" and other equally offensive comments.

I DO NOT condone Vigilia's actions, and they have a reputation as being the most militant of the anti-castro organizations. However, if you look at the other anti-castro groups, they don't come close to Vigilia when it comes to number and temperature of the protests. I would like to know who you think the Cuban-American leadership is? I can't think of anyone who accurately fits that role, because it doesn't exist. Radio Mambi? Perez Roura? Ninoska? Please, they are radio commentators. What should happen is for Saavedra to be held accountable for what happened, not by a fictitious Cuban-American leadership, but by law enforcement.

You say that anyone would not want to characterize these groups as violent. I somewhat disagree. Vigilia for the most part is not violent, but they slipped big time the other day. Based on your previous experience with the Bolivarianos, as well as based on the pictures on their web sites, they appear to be masters at provoking, and sadly accomplished their task on Calle 8.

Mambi_Watch said...

I agree that Mr. Saavedra, Vigilia Mambisa, and those who are seen on video assaulting the Bolivarian Youth be held accountable. But, if those members of the Bolivarian Youth do not file a report than the police cannot do anything.

You may be in denial by saying that a Cuban-American political leadership doesn't exist. Then who is Ileana Ros-Lehtinen? Who is Lincoln Diaz-Balart? Who is Mario Diaz-Balart? Who is Mel Martinez? Who is CANF? And so on.

Radio Mambi, in my opinion, serves an important part of South Florida politics. They have had on their programming every important political figure, local, national and international.

There recently was a farewell celebration for Jeb Bush at the Biltmore. Those I mentioned above were there. Also Armando Perez-Roura.

This is leadership.

Mambi_Watch said...

If there is no public response to Vigilia Mambisa's actions from the political leadership, then we can assume tacit approval of what occured.

Alex said...

BTW, in Florida the police CAN act on evidence of an assault even if the victim has not come forward or doesn't want to file a report -e.g. the teenagers that attacked the homeless in Ft. Lauderdale.

I hope they go to the police AND file a civil lawsuit against Saavedra and his thugs. But even if they don't, like you said, the silence of the leadership means complicity.

Robert said...

Ros-Lehtinen, the Diaz-Balarts and Martinez are federal representatives. They do not solely represent the Cuban-American community here or anywhere else. And they certainly shouldn't be expected to represent the C-A community in matters that are strictly local.

After this, we're left with CANF. They are one of many C-A focused groups. They are the best known, although they don't have the stature they had in the 90s. Still, unless a coalition of groups were to name them as a "leader", they don't officially qualify.

I'm not going to discuss the radio
hosts. They may be influential to a segment of the population, but that doesn't define true leadership in a broad sense either. They are as much leaders as Rush Limbaugh, Larry King and Keith Olbermann are.

What I'm trying to understand and failing to do so is this: why does someone have to step up to publicly denounce every stupid action committed? Why do some people always want an apology or denouncement from the Cuban-American community when someone who is C-A happens to screw up? Same thing happened with the Ralph Arza case a few months ago. With this carries the implication that Vigilia Mambisa represents mainstream Cuban-Americans and must be monitored and treated as such. This is an extremely inaccurate assumption to make. I certainly wouldn't expect or demand that someone from the Black community step up and apologize for the reckless behavior of one of its members.

It's law enforcement's job to catch people who are breaking the law, and only Vigilia Mambisa is responsible for its actions, not the de facto Cuban-American leadership nor Jose Public in Kendall.

Manuel A. Tellechea said...

Are you serious? The Chávez Youth file a police report? Why not just surrender to the police? They are certainly unregistered agents of a foreign (and hostile) government; they are very likely not legally in this country; they form part of a terrorist organization with its roots in Venezuela; and, in all likelihood, they are also involved in criminal activities in this country.

Why would the so-called "Bolivarian Youth" come within a mile of a police station?

Or perhaps you believe that they are not filing charges because they bear no ill-will to the Posada supporters or Cuban exiles in general?

How naive are you?

Mambi_Watch said...

The Bolivarian Youth is most likely going to file a report, according to recent news.

Tellechea, don't be so arrogant.

South Florida Libertarian said...

I'm a libertarian (up in Lauderdale) and therefore disagree whole-heartedly with both the Bolivarian Youth's political/economic philosophy as well as with their being physically assaulted for trying to express their views.

The pictures on the Bolivarian Youth's website, though, look like a bunch of mischievous kids being chased by feeble old men.

The disparity in age and size between the huge young kid in the red shirt being chased by a thin old man seems almost funny; the kid even appears to be laughing as he's running.

I get the impression that the kids involved in this counter-protest got exactly what they expected/wanted and were not in much danger from being seriously injured; they knew they were too fast to be caught.

That being said, they should have been allowed to have their counter-protest.

Mambi_Watch said...

SF Libertarian,

ANY PERSON (regardless of age, size, weight, or other)who decides to publicly protest should not be interrupted by ANY physical threats or even verbal ones.

Reuters has a picture of Mike Martinez (member of the Bolivarian Youth) being slapped across the face.

The man who has generated most of the heat, Miguel Saavedra, isnot exactly an old man. He may be around his fifties. And, he works out at my gym with weights. He's in good condition to knock any normal man to the ground.

Anonymous said...

Not all of the Cuban American community stands by Saavedra's stupidity.

I'm Cuban American. I am against the Communist dictatorship in place in the island, and I am against Saavedra's antics. They honestly shed a negative light to the Cuba American community, which support the non-violent dissident movement inside of Cuba. The Vigilia Mambisa needs to realize that in a free society, two opposite viewpoints will clash. Both the Vigilia Mambisa and the Bolivarian Youth have a right to protest. But neither has the right to injure the other.