Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Miami News, January 25, 1968, "'Cuban Power' Is War Cry of Exile Terror Group" by Milt Sosin.

"El Poder Cubano!"

The words stirred a furor today in Miami's Cuban Community as bombs damaged two agencies shipping food packages to Cuba and a garage with no apparent Cuban connections.

The words mean "Cuban Power," a terror organization which claimed responsibility for the bombing of an airplane at Miami International Airport last Saturday and warned, in its "Communique No. 1" of its intent to move against any business dealing with Castro Cuba.

Along SW 8th Street and on Flagler Street and in the side streets between the two where many thousands of Miami's Cuban exiles live, it was [freely] predicted in the food markets and at the street front coffee counters that "Communique No. 2" would be issued today and would claim "credit" for the bombings early today.

And it was just as freely predicted that the bombings would increase. The big question was: "Who is Ernesto?"

Communique No. 1 was signed in behalf of El Poder Cubano by "Ernesto."

Investigators had many candidates in mind for the leadership, but there was no clear cut indication of his identity. There were too many possibilities.

Felipe Rivero, leader of the militant anti-Castro Cuban Nationalist Association, who was released last Oct. 30 on $10,000 bond after spending 171 days in Dade County jail pending appeal from an Immigration Service order excluding him from the United States, was told by a newsman today that it had been suggested that he was the leader of El Poder Cubano.

"No. I am not Ernesto," the 43-year-old Rivero said.

"If our organization had been in back of these bombings, I would not have hidden behind any name like that. I would have said we had placed the bombs and told why - just as we did when we attacked the Castro embassy in Ottowa and the warehouse in Montreal filled with material stolen by Castro.

"These people who are bombing those places to stop packages from going to Cuba are accomplishing only one thing - depriving a lot of old ladies and babies in Cuba of food, medicine and clothing.

"They are not hurting the Castro economy one bit. The place to strike at Fidel Castro is in the economy that provides him with dollars - not take away food and medicine from old ladies and babies.

Rivero said that although Cuban Power claimed to have been born in Havana, he did not believe this was true. "This group came to life in Miami," he said. "Somebody liked the sound of the words "Black Power' so they adopted Cuban Power.

He and other Cubans said they did not believe the organization was very large. It was pointed out that they must be in possession of funds to purchase the C-4 plastic explosive.

Rivero said there has been for a long time an active black market for the plastic explosive, possession of which supposedly is limited to military authorities.

Several other leaders of military-type anti-Castro organizations were queried about possible affiliation with Cuban Power. All denied such ties.

"It's going to be a tough one to infiltrate," said the chief of one intelligence organization which exercises surveillance on underground organizations."

Grim Score: 70 Bombings in 12 Years

Dade County has been a happy hunting ground for bombers during the past 12 years. Tom Brodie, the sheriff's bomb expert, said 70 bombs have been set off here during that period. There have been seven since Jan. 1, including the three last night. Last year there were 21 blasts.

The first bombing involving Cuba politics was in 1959 when two training planes were damaged by explosives. The planes had been bought by the Cuban government before Fidel Castro seized power. After the Castro takeover the planes, still on the ground here, were bombed.

Over the years, bombs here have hit schools, synagogues, stores and homes. Explosives have been used in labor disputes and to wreck cars in gang wars.

Copyright (c) 1968 The Miami News

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