I feel that Antonio Rafael De la Cova, as a Ph.D., should concern himself more with academic pursuits, not responding to some obscure AM radio host. The many years of academic research and study that De la Cova has attained should serve further inquiry into important issues, and should be used at such high educational capacities. I believe the public, who funds our academic institutions, deserves this from a Ph.D. But, it seems that De la Cova has a hard time understanding this value.
Recently, De la Cova continued his unrelenting attack on Marifeli Perez-Stable, another academic, whom De la Cova accuses of possibly being a Cuban spy. De la Cova's accusations are based on ONE allegation from 1983, and no hard evidence. A Ph.D. should know better. But, recently De la Cova found another piece of the puzzle for his attacks: clothes owned by Perez-Stable. This kind of investigation does not represent someone with years of academic work, and is quite embarassing. Let's examine what "El Duende" accuses Del la Cova of.
The personal attacks by "El Duende" are based on De la Cova's arrest by the FBI in 1976. He was convicted and sentenced to 65 years in prison for attempting to bomb an establishment in Little Havana. De la Cova was released and paroled after serving five years.*
These events have nothing to do with De la Cova's many years of academic work and the contents of his recent book. Those who wish to portray De la Cova in this manner seek to obviate readers from the relevant and important facts found in De la Cova's recent book, The Moncada Attack, now being praised for its scholarship.
But, it's also relevant to know who "El Duende" is and understand why he would level these attacks on De la Cova.
"El Duende" is none other than Max Lesnik. During the seventies (and into the eighties), Max Lesnik's Miami office became the target of a bombing campaign because he published a magazine called Replica. The violence that became rampant in Miami at the time is the basis of a recent documentary titled "The Man of Two Havanas." The movie was directed by Vivien Lesnik Weisman, daughter of Max Lesnik, who in a recent interview recalled those days as living "in a constant state of siege, like a war zone." The seventies in Miami saw the murder of influential Cubans like José Elias de la Torriente, Rolando Masferrer Rojas, Ramon Donestevez Dominguez, and Juan José Peruyero. Emilio Milian, a Cuban radio host, lost both his legs in a car bomb in 1976, and Lesnik's offices were repeatedly attacked.
These are the memories that come back when Lesnik hears the name of Antonio Rafael De la Cova. When De la Cova was arrested in 1976, it was a year that saw 19 bombings in Miami, the second highest after the year before with 37 bombings.
These are years that Lesnik cannot forget, but that De la Cova wishes to put behind him. And, unfortunately, may be negatively affecting his academic pursuits.
The release of The Moncada Attack should not suffer this personal pain. Instead, this sad history should be appropriately discussed at the future release of The Man of Two Havanas, a movie that deserves to be embraced by Miami, even if only a fraction as De la Cova's book was. Hopefully, this city will be brave enough to do so.
[*] Miami Herald, August 4, 1982, "Exile in Bomb Case Free 59 Years Early" by Herald Staff.