Cuba: Can a Terrorist be a Hero?

by Yusimi Rodriguez                 

Campaign poster asking that Eduardo Arocena be freed.
Mirian Arocena holds up a campaign poster asking that Eduardo Arocena be freed.

HAVANA TIMES — I recently read, in the Diario de Cuba news bulletin, that Cuban activists were asking US President Barack Obama to grant a presidential pardon to anti-Castro militant Eduardo Arocena.

For those of us who see Castroism (there’s no better way to call this regime which has been imposed on the Cuban people since the Castro dynasty took over power and has occupied the country for over five decades, taking away Cubans’ most basic freedoms) as the atithesis to democracy, it’s almost inevitable that we feel somewhat identified with somebody described as anti-Castro. However, is it enough to share the same desire of overthrowing a dictator, to share their methods? Does the end justify the means?

Arocena was given a life sentence in 1984 for a number of terrorist attacks committed between 1975 and 1983. He belonged to the Omega 7 group, which, according to the news article, attacked Avery Fisher Hall at the Lincoln Center, the Cuban and former USSR UN missions, and businesses which negotiated with Havana, amongst other targets. The FBI held him responsible for over thirty bombings which took place in different US cities and at least two murders. Furthermore, he was charged with the murder of Felix Garcia Rodriguez, a diplomatic attache at the Cuban Mission at the UN, in 1980.

Nothing in the article hints at the fact that he could be innocent of these crimes. In fact, his defense attorney doesn’t claim that he is innocent, but rather that he’s a “hero”, whose intentions at the time were “the same (…) as the US’, to free Cuba from Communism.”

The violent means employed to reach this objective and which ultimately failed, aren’t the only things to make this argument void. Subordinating everything to his success would be to legitimize Fidel Castro’s own means, who was successful in liberating Cuba from a dictator… only to fill his shoes himself.

According to many Chileans, Pinochet was also a good man because he freed Chile from Communism. But at what price?

Arocena’s success and others who opted for a violent path, wouldn’t have compensated for all those lives cut short on the way. How many people would have had to die in order to save us from Communism? And what would have happened to those of us who didn’t want to be saved? Would they have been killed too?

Luis Negron, leader of the Eduardo Arocena Freedom Campaign, demands that Arocena receive the same deal that “the five Cuban spies who carried out their sentence in the US for acts of espionage and who were freed” received. With this statement alone, he establishes the differences that exist in both cases: it isn’t the same thing to be charged with acts of espionage (and even conspiracy to commit murder, a charge which Gerardo Hernandez had on his head) than to be charged with murder and acts of terrorism.

However, at 73 years old and with poor health over time, diabetes and a stroke suffered four years ago which means he can’t walk properly anymore, this man is no longer a threat to US society. Releasing him would be the humane thing to do, not for a hero but for a sick man, who history passed over: today, the majority of the Cuban opposition disapproves of terrorism (wherever it comes from).

Miroslav Djilas suggests that the end does not justify the means in his book “The New Class”. “…nothing better proves the rightfulness of an end goal than the means used to achieve it.”


I agree.

21 thoughts on “Cuba: Can a Terrorist be a Hero?

  • I am not “historically challenged” but I still regard your comment as “silliness”.

  • You were doing fine Dan, then as usual you climb up on your high horse and proceed to shoot yourself in the foot by pretending you know all about someone.

    Grow up already.

  • Great statement. You told it like it is and I want to read your book.

  • How about a couple of dozen of Castro allies? How long should Bashar al-Asad serve in jail? How long should Kim Jung Un serve in jail? The folks you mention are amateurs compared with those I mention and indeed in comparison with the Castro brothers.

  • “I find Yusimi Rodriquez’ advocating a “humane” release for genocide terrorist Eduardo Arocena unacceptable. What she left out about his many murderous crimes is an act of real genocide he was part of. As head of the CIA-financed terrorist group, Omega 7, he was involved in receiving chemical warfare and allowing it to be used in Cuba. This caused many diseases, including dengue fever. In the two cases it was used, it killed 158 people, including 101 children, and caused sickness to 300,000 others.

    The UN’s definition of genocide includes maiming and killing people of any nationality, or race, at random. And this act is certainly genocide.

    In my book, “Backfire: The CIA’s Biggest Burn” (pages 71, 78), I cite a CIA message to one of its agents, who, in fact, was a loyal Cuban working for her government.

    Dengue fever type 2 broke out two months after this was sent to María Santiesteban Loureiro. Her code name was Regina, but she actually worked as “Any” for Cuban security.

    During Arrocena’s trial for murder and sabotage, he testified, on September 10, 1984, about a ship mission from Florida to Cuba “to carry some germs to introduce them in Cuba to be used against the Soviets and against the Cuban economy, to begin what was called chemical war…”

    He claimed that he later found out these germs were not just used against Soviet forces and the Cuban economy—which he found supportable—but that they were used “against our own people, and with that we did not agree.”

    Who can really say what went on in this sane but sick mind at the time? Regardless of his intentions, he was well aware that his actions would and did cause the death of many people, through germs or starvation, and that he was therefore a murderer. We do not need to go into whether other people, including leaders of the Cuban government, are good or bad guys, in order to take a clear moral position on the person, Eduardo Arrocena.

    If one is to argue that he should be released from prison because he is sick, then all prisoners should be released from prison because they are sick. And there are tens of thousands of sick prisoners in US hellholes, where the greatest numbers of people of all countries are imprisoned.

    And how can one possibly compare the release of five Cubans, whose only crime was endeavouring to inform their government of crimes, like Arrocena’s, being planned and executed by Cuban persons living in the United States, many of whom the US was, in fact, abetting in their crimes. The Cuban Five killed no one nor did they spread any diseases.

    I think that some writers in HT go overboard in their objections to the Cuban government, ignoring the greater crimes of US governments, and their many agents of death, throughout much of the world, including in Cuba. And, Yusimi, you are one of those who exaggerates reality in your efforts to criticize the Cuban government.”

  • That is applicable to every US president since Woodrow Wilson, were international and national law applied fairly, across the board and w/o regard to power. I’m sure though that you are historically challenged, though, and will regard this as silliness, but it is not.

  • If by better you mean death by getting eaten by sharks is better than drowning, then we agree.

  • He assisted the al-Asad family in Syria in invading Israel (the Yum-Kippur war) – and has assisted Hamas – a defined terrorist group. But then maybe you regard Bashar al-Asad as a good guy whose actions have resulted in millions – yes, millions having to flee their homeland, but meriting the support of Vladamir Putin, the invader of Crimea and Ukraine,

  • The supporters of ‘socialismo’ Moses are without conscience or humanity. If you disagree with the Castro regime, you should be locked up! You may have noted that CErmle has persistently questioned my right to live with my wife in Cuba, just because I despise dictatorship.
    The birds of a feather flock together and curt9954 and CErmle are sitting side by side on the same be-fouled perch!

  • Agreed.

  • Castro merely replaced one dictatorship with another. All dictatorships whether of the right or left are evil and the Castro family dictatorship supported by the Communist Party of Cuba is no exception. Cuba currently has more military than for example Canada – which has more than three times the population, plus all the MININT employees, plus the CDR, plus the State Police.
    Cuban archival materials document 3,615 executions by firing squad since Fidel Castro took power on January 1, 1959. An additional 1,253 extra judicial killings have been attributed to the regime.
    How many did Batista execute? How many did Batista have under arms?
    I am not in any way supporting Batista for as I have said as a dictator he too was evil. But the concept that Fidel and/or Raul Castro are not also dictators and not also evil is delusional.
    If you lived in Cuba Ryan you would understand all that I have said.

  • I don’t know what you are blathering about Olga, but I do know that gusanos fire bombed a movie theater in Pinar in the 1960’s during a children’s matinee…

  • Castro fought a war against the military apparatus of dictatorship. Current Cuba cannot be compared to Batista’s regime.

  • Yes Moses,
    I think the Castros are better than the murderous Bastistianos like Arocena, Luis Posada Carrilles, and Orlando Bosch.

  • Where did Castro bomb movie theatres and support terrorist groups. He did aid in supporting rebels in Nicaragua and El Salvadore. Those were the good guys. Ronald Reagan was the one who supported terrorists like the drug dealing Contras. It is because of them that crack hit the U.S in the eighties.

  • Thanks, we noticed the mistake and made the correction. My fault, the editor.

  • Castro is the bigger terrorist he supported all the terrorist group in Latino America, and got in power with terrorism bombs in movies theaters killing police officers assaulting militaries installations .

  • The title is strange, do you mean “buy” or “be”. This has happened before and I just guess the correct meaning of the word. Talk to your editorial guy.

  • Imprisoned for expressing his opinion? Really? Let me guess, you support the Castros dictatorship, right?

  • Yusimi, you sound like a very crazy person, even to suggest that a murderous terrorist like Arocena should be freed because of his age and poor health. You say he should receive the same deal as the Cuban 5, who killed no one. You need psychiatric help. If you live in Cuba you are one dissident who deserves to be imprisoned.

  • He should die in prison.

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