Over at Salon.com, Tristam Korten and Kirk Nielsen have a great article about Cuban exile militants in Miami and how the US government fails to apply anti-terrorism laws against these men, despite other similar cases that receive severe penalties.
"The 1994 Violent Crime and Control and Law Enforcement Act, an anti-terrorism measure passed after the first attack on New York's World Trade Center, made it illegal to knowingly provide material assistance for terrorist activity. The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 was also intended to deter terrorism. The section titled 'Conspiracy to Harm People and Property Overseas' states that anyone within the jurisdiction of the U.S. who conspires to commit 'an act that would constitute the offense of murder, kidnapping, or maiming' abroad faces punishment up to life in prison. During the Clinton administration, no anti-Castro militants were prosecuted under those laws."
"In 2005 federal agents searched an apartment [Santiago Alvarez] kept north of Miami in Broward County and found a store of military hardware including an M-11 A1 machine gun, two Colt AR-15 assault rifles, a silencer, and a Heckler & Koch grenade launcher. Agents arrested Alvarez and his assistant, Osvaldo Mitat. According to Peter Margulies, prosecutors could have considered charging Alvarez with providing material support for terrorist activity, which carries a sentence of 15 years to life. Instead, they charged Alvarez and Mitat with seven counts of illegal weapons possession. Both pleaded guilty to one of the counts. The judge sentenced Mitat to about three years and Alvarez to just under four years."
The article includes plenty of pictures from Alpha 66's hidden camp called Rumbo Sur, and an audio report by Tristam Korten that identifies some of the members training at the camp.
I've noticed that only one blog (Review of Cuban-American Blogs) has harshly criticized the article stating that Korten and Nielsen have managed "to libel these men and the community which acclaims them as freedom fighters and upholders of the dignity of the Cuban people."
According to Manuel A. Tellechea:
"But, of course, no effort is made by the authors [Korten and Nielsen] to compare the provocation to the reaction. The provocation, 50 years of terrorist rule by the world's oldest terrorist state, which was built on terrorism and has maintained itself through terrorism to this day, would make what is imputed against its enemies seem a moderate reaction by any measure."
Despite the fact that a 2004 conference which included members of the Center for Defense Information and the Center for National Policy concluded that "there is no credible evidence to prove the accusation of Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism" and that a 2000 bi-partisan task force concluded that "the United States move quickly to clear away the policy underbrush and prepare for the next stage in U.S.-Cuban relations," the hard-line exile identity depends on the Cuban government being nothing more than a force of pure evil. Only such an extreme degree of viciousness would justify a similar "reaction."
In which case, violence towards Cuba is justified, and the consequences of a cycle of violence are only secondary.
[Photo above of Alpha 66 by Dando Valle]