The Miami Herald’s May 11 article covering the treatment of former anti-Castro militants in Cuba (“Exiles captured in Cuba during armed infiltrations cannot return to the US”) raises important points regarding the story of South Florida exiles who were arrested after conducting armed raids on Cuba in the 1990s. Juan Tamayo’s article discusses how these anti-Castro exiles want to return to the United States, but cannot due to missing documents and their militant pasts. The article takes a sympathetic look at the plight of the exiles. However, it neglects the history of terrorism in Cuba, especially Cuba’s experience with security issues emanating from the South Florida exile community. Cuba has a sensitive history with terrorism, ranging from the Cubana Flight 455 bombing in 1976 to Santiago Alvarez’s threats of violence and eventual stockpiling of weapons in Miami in 2006. Like most countries, Cuba takes acts of terrorism seriously. This is why these former exiles, who infiltrated and attacked Cuba, are still under surveillance. They are not “non-person[s]” who have been denied basic human rights by the Cuban government as Mr. Tamayo argues, but rather, they are feared persons. They have committed violent crimes in Cuba, and as such, it is not unreasonable for Havana to suspect that they are still willing to translate their opposition into violence. It is important to remember that other countries, like the United States, spy on suspected domestic terrorists, and this spying often occurs without evidence of prior violent crimes. Havana, then, is not overstepping its obligations when it pays attention to individuals with a history of violence.
Patrick Burchat, Research Associate at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs
In response to the Miami Herald article: “Exiles captured in Cuba during armed infiltrations cannot return to the US”
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