Young Cuban among the Victims in Orlando

By Cafe Fuerte

Alejandro Barrios Martinez, a native of Pinar del Rio.
Alejandro Barrios Martinez, a native of Pinar del Rio.

HAVANA TIMES – Alejandro Martinez Barrios dreamed for a long time of coming to the United States to build a future. Finally he managed to immigrate in 2014 with a familiar reunification claim and settled with his father in the Orlando area.

He was still in the stage of adapting to his new life, full of dreams and always attentive to the needs of the family who stayed behind in his native Bayate in the municipality of Candelaria, Pinar del Rio, when death surprised him in the early hours of Sunday at the Pulse Night Club in Orlando.

Barrios Martinez, 21, is one of the 49 victims of the worst slaughter in US history. If another person of Cuban origin died at the club is unknown.

“The family is living this tragedy with rage and anguish, in addition to being geographically separated. I repudiate what happened and defend the right to live of my cousin and all those who were there without explanation. And I do it because I know he expects that from me,” journalist Alvaro Alvarez, a resident in Chile, told Café Fuerte.

Alejandro Martínez Barrios (left) with his cousin, journalist Alvaro Alvarez.
Alejandro Martínez Barrios (left) with his cousin, journalist Alvaro Alvarez.

Alvarez recalled his cousin with emotional anecdotes and several photos on his Facebook page.

“I remember that many of my teachers there were also yours. I won’t forget the news that my biology teacher asked to be transferred to the library to sell bread with tomato and survive. In the end I don’t remember if she tutored you in biology or sold you her snacks. Oh, my little nephew… I will always remember you!” wrote the journalist.

The boy’s mother lives in Cuba and has already received a visa to attend the funeral.

“Perhaps this was an act of terrorism, but it is strongly marked by a pattern of an intolerant and discriminatory society and should not be an excuse for other forms of discrimination by race, religion, etc,” said Alvarez.

12 thoughts on “Young Cuban among the Victims in Orlando

  • If i understand you correctly, US law protects the right to own guns because of the 2nd Amendment, but US citizens can be denied to right to board a plane because there is no amendment to protect that right.
    Should the government have the power to keep citizens off airplanes?

  • That argument was settled by a legal challenge. A wide range of guns are accepted as consistent with the 2nd Amendment. Some guns are not (i.e. artillery guns, RPGs, mortars).

  • It seems reasonable enough at first, …but then you have to consider that the FBI can place you on a no-fly list for a broad range of reasons. It would be hypothetically possible for the FBI to place millions of US citizens on the list and then use that as an excuse to confiscate their guns. That power runs into the 2nd Amendment.

    Yesterday, the US Senate voted on a bill to ban gun sales to individuals who’s names are on a terrorism watch list. To be place on the list, police or the FBI would have to present sufficient evidence to a judge justifying the inclusion on the list.

    This bill was sponsored by the Republican party, 53-47, but it was blocked by a Democrat filibuster. The Democrats objected to the requirement to present evidence to a judge. Perhaps President Obama could explain why his party is blocking sensible gun control laws?

  • I don’t think you are denying the accuracy of the NBC report.

    Some have proposed that the right to buy guns should be tied to the right to get on an airplane. Ie., someone who has been put on the no-fly list should also be denied the right to buy guns. What do you think of that proposal?

  • The 2nd Amendment grants Americans the right to bear arms, which includes semi-automatic weapons, but not full-automatic sub-machine guns. There are limits to what they can own.

    Ken, there were enough red-flags about Mateem that if the FBI had fully investigated them, they would have had been able to accumulate sufficient evidence to charge him with providing material support for terrorism. Furthermore, there was a domestic battery charge against Mateem, which should have prevented him from buying guns. The existing system failed to work and the result was this horrific mass murder.

    The club was a gun-free zone, as were the locations of 98% of mass shooting in the US since 1950. Mass murders are sick, but they’re not idiots. They know where to find vulnerable victims.

  • I believe that when the US Constitution was written the ‘Right to bear arms” meant muskets and single shot rifles like those made famous by Davy Crockett. Keep your powder dry. It was reported on Thursday that there has been an additional six mass shootings since Orlando. Thankfully not as many victims Why is this not considered a crisis?

  • For the rest of the western world, the “right to bear arms” which is now translated to include sub-machine guns is an aberration and sound reason for the US to fully up-date its historic and 200 years out of date Constitution. I do not doubt the sincerity of those who support the Constitution as it is, but 12,000 shootings per year is a consequence and one which they ought to address. So far, not even the Republican Presidential Candidate has said that if all the folks in the night club had been carrying guns they could have shot the murderer, but that may yet come.

  • It appears you are mistaken. According to this report on NBC, there is no legal provision that would allow the government to prevent a suspected terrorist from buying guns.
    The Senate voted down an amendment in December that would block suspected terrorists from buying guns and explosives. The amendment, which needed 60 votes to pass due to procedural rules, failed 45-54. Five days later Senate Democrats tried and failed to force consideration of the bill.

  • Reports are that Mateen communicated to co-workers and others his support for and agreement with a number of terrorist organizations, including Hamas, ISIS & Hezbollah (which is odd, as Hezbollah & ISIS are killing each other). Mateen also communicated his specific intentions to attack Pulse Club to his wife, as she helped him buy ammunition a few days before and she drove him to the club on the evening of the attack.

    At least one gun shop turned Mateen away and refused to sell to him. The picture that is emerging is that the FBI ignored several obvious signs which if they had acted upon, would have certainly placed him on a terrorism watch list, prevented him from buying guns, and possibly would have been enough to arrest him.

    But the FBI is constrained by regulations not to appear Islamophobic and so most of the evidence was brushed aside and his social media was not monitored. So rather than perhaps treading on the rights of terrorism suspects, President Obama would prefer to infringe on the rights of millions of law abiding US citizens who legally own guns.

    On another topic, I see that the Cuban-American Congresswoman Ileana Ross-Lehtinen interceded with the US embassy in Havana to issue a visa promptly to the boy’s mother, Orchid Martinez. She arrived today in the US to attend the funeral service for her son.

    As a father of a gay daughter, my heart grieves with her and the other parents of the victims of Orlando.

  • It remains to be seen if Mateen communicated his intentions to anyone on line.
    It is a curiosity of US law that the government could have placed him on a no-fly list, but had no legal right to prevent him from buying assault weapons.

  • “Perhaps this was an act of terrorism, but it is strongly marked by a
    pattern of an intolerant and discriminatory society and should not be an
    excuse for other forms of discrimination by race, religion, etc,” said

    You see? This ISIS supporter absorbed American values! Yes, we all remember the labor camps the Americans sent gays to back in the 60s.

  • Such unspeakable horror in the terrorist attack in Orlando. I pray for his family, that they find comfort. What a terrible loss.

    The murderer, Omar Mateen, had been investigated by the FBI, but they found no reason to arrest him. Astonishingly, the FBI is forbidden from reading the social media of terrorism suspects. This, when the President himself stated that Mateen had been radicalized over the internet. Well, Mr. President, then why did you sign the law to stop the FBI from reading what terrorism suspects write & read on the internet? How the hell do you expect to prevent this from happening again if you don’t allow police to conduct a sensible investigation?

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