Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Why Support Posada?

So, maybe some of you might be baffled why Luis Posada Carriles, a person with such a violent history, gets so much support around Miami. Every supporter may have their own personal reason, but the general explanation seems to be that Posada is a symbolic hero of "la causa" (the collective exile mission to defeat the Castro government by any means). But, support for Posada should not be confused with support for violence (despite some Cuban exile leaders who continue to believe in the effective use of violence). Rather, aside from the militant politics he promotes, Posada also represents a politics of force without democracy: this is the hard-line.

I recently posted some reasons why the hard-line is a non-democratic idea, and it is this contempt for the public that it shares with militancy. Those who feel that violence is an effective use of force generally have no regard for public opinion. I'll present some examples. The photo above shows a gathering of Cuban exile groups at the Presidio Politico Historico Cubano, a center in Little Havana that documents past and current abuse of political prisoners inside Cuba. This gathering took place on October 2006 [PDF, Page 14] to protest the detention of Luis Posada Carriles while he awaited criminal immigration charges.

In the photo is Rodolfo Frometa (center, black beard), leader of the recently defunct group F4 Commandos (the website is down and the office has been put for rent). Frometa made it very clear to listeners of Radio Mambi that violence was necessary to bring change to Cuba. Frometa, of course, rarely appeared before any other media outlets in Miami because of the anticipated public rejection. Frometa, without the F4 Commandos, was last seen publicly among the marchers at last year's march supporting the (non-violent) Ladies in White in Little Havana.

Also, in the photo is Miguel Saavedra (center, red tie), leader of Vigilia Mambisa. Back in 2007, Saavedra and other members of Vigilia Mambisa physically attacked a small group of protesters in Little Havana after the small group held up a sign calling Luis Posada Carriles a terrorist. Saavedra is also a member of the militant group Unidad Cubana, and in 2009 was found to be an unpopular figure after a poll found a majority of Cubans (74%) in Miami opposed his protests.

Ernesto Diaz Rodriguez (center, blue shirt), secretary general of Alpha 66, also appears in the photo. Diaz was arrested in 1968 inside Cuba while attempting to "set up a base" and "infiltrate guerrillas." Diaz was released in 1991 after serving 22 years of a 40-year sentence. Alpha 66 long ago gave up its violent campaign, but now advocates the use of "sabotage" inside Cuba by dissidents. (I once heard him suggest on Radio Mambi the burning of Cuban government vehicles.)

Enrique Encinosa (front, dark glasses), also a strong defender of Posada's and news editor at Radio Mambi, was featured in a documentary defending the bombing campaign of Cuban hotels. Encinosa says: "I personally think its an acceptable method. Its a way of damaging the tourist economy. The message that one tries to get across is that Cuba is not a healthy place for tourists. So, if Cuba is not a healthy place for tourist because there's a few windows being blown out of hotels, that's fine."

The individuals and groups above represent a political idea which includes a strong disdain for the public. They don't care if you detest their use of force because for many years they have ignored the public and done as they pleased. Not just because of "la causa," but also because the public (or their representatives) never really tried to stop them. And, neither were any alternatives considered.

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