[freedomtowernight_edited.jpg] 26th Parallel: Atrocity at Sea

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Atrocity at Sea

The Miami Herald deserves to be criticized, and criticized frequently, for its sub-par coverage of local news (which should be where they stand out. They do, but for the wrong reason), almost daily mistakes with sports box scores and other things that should be caught by an attentive and competent staff, as well as for making us endure the likes of Ana Menendez.

Still (and yes you knew it was coming), when it comes to the Cuba issue, the editorial staff almost always comes down on the right side. The Herald may be barely good enough to line bird feeders all across Miami and its environs, but every once in a while, we need to pull the editorial page out of the cage floor for articles such as the one below which is a verbatim account of the Cuban Tugboat Massacre of July 13, 1994 by Maria Werlau of the Cuba Archive project.

It never fails to boggle my mind that there are educated people out there willing to give castro a pass while he gets away, quite literally, with murder.

One day...one day, I keep on telling myself.

Full article below.

In 1994, popular dissatisfaction with the Castro regime had deepened as Cuba endured a severe economic crisis amid continued repression. Although the country's laws forbid citizens from leaving without government authorization and punishes violations with years of prison, attempts to escape by any means had been growing exponentially. . . .

On the designated date, the group quietly boarded the 13 de Marzo tugboat in the middle of the night and the motors were started. Unexpectedly, people who were not on the list showed up, a few others who were to come did not. . . .

Just as the 13 de Marzo cleared the harbor, two other tugboats that had been waiting for them in the dark joined the chase. With their water cannons, they started spraying high-pressure jets at the escaping vessel. The wooden 13 de Marzo was now being hounded by three modern, larger and heavier tugboats made of steel. . . .

Although the 13 de Marzo had stopped and signaled its willingness to surrender and turn back, the relentless attack continued. The adults brought out the children on deck to see if this would deter the incessant jet streams and collisions. In desperation, parents held their children up in the air and pleaded for their lives, putting them in front of the powerful reflector lights. The attackers disregarded their cries and continued to bombard the powerless passengers with the high pressure water. The mighty streams scattered them all over deck, ripped clothing off and tore children from their parents' arms. Some were swept into the ocean.

It was around 4:50 a.m. when the tugboat sank seven miles northeast of Havana harbor. The three boats then began circling the survivors, creating wave turbulence and eddies for around 45 minutes. It was obvious they wanted to make sure no one would be left alive to bear witness to the horror. María Victoria García, who lost her 10-year-old son, husband and many other close family members, later related:

``After nearly an hour of battling in the open sea, the boat circled round the survivors, creating a whirlpool so that we would drown. Many disappeared into the seas . . . We asked them to save us, but they just laughed.''

Murder was planned

Over time, as more survivors and witnesses left the island and their accounts were pieced together, it became apparent that the Cuban government had planned the murder. It was evident that spies had been infiltrated and offered early and detailed knowledge of the preparations. Reportedly, once the plot was known, the decision had been made at the highest levels of government to not foil it by arresting the organizers or closing the entrance to Havana harbor. Instead, they would be allowed to steal the tugboat, so it could be sunk and an enduring lesson could be delivered to prevent further escapes from the island. . . .

On the island, the Cuban government continues to imprison, threaten and intimidate those who seek to peacefully protest the sinking and remember those who died, usually in small ceremonies on the anniversary of the attack. Government-organized mobs, the Rapid Response Brigades, habitually scream insults and hit participants.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Agustin Farinas said...

Someone should post this entire article on the Mambi Watch blog for his enlightment, since he wastes no opportunity to find excuses for the regime when it comes to this massacre. He considers this whole incident "an error in judgment" by the authorites of the regime. That is little consolation to the women and children who perished as a result of this act of cold blooded murder. But one can always find apologists for the regime on this side of the pond to try to confuse the issue and let the regime get off the hook. I hope they can sleep well at night when posting excuses and apologies for this criminal and barbarous act perpetrated against so many innocent souls. And these people call themselves human and objective observers of the Cuban scene. The hipocrisy of these so called objective observers is overwhelming.

11:18 AM, July 22, 2007  
Blogger Robert said...

Agustin,

People and blogs such as Mambi Watch aren't worth the effort. He lost me a long time ago by doing exactly what you said: "since he wastes no opportunity to find excuses for the regime when it comes to this massacre". It's always the exile's fault, according to him.

One thing is to disagree on ideology, which I can tolerate and even welcome debate over. What is inexcusable is to knowingly excuse the actions of tyrants and murderers. That's essentially what MW does.

Quite frankly, I haven't as much as laid my eyes on the MW site in months. We have bigger fish to fry. Let people such as MW wallow in their own anti-exile misery.

11:28 AM, July 22, 2007  
Blogger Agustin Farinas said...

Robert,
What I find so amazing about his Blog is that it is called Mambi Watch! And yet this blogger never misses an opportunity to bash all exiles who are opposed to the Communist regime with great zeal and gusto, while he never misses a chance to make excuses and apologies for the regime in Cuba. I don't ever remember reading anything critical or that is contrary to said regime on his blog. He never finds any fault with the Communists, but his blog is full of exile bashing on every entry in it. Is this guy Cuban or what? And if he is Cuban (highly doubtful), what in God's name is he doing in the USA? Why doesn't he put his talent to good use for the cause on the other side of the pond he so strongly defends?
Perhaps because he may find himself the subject of one of these "errors in judgment" he so much decries and apologizes for. Wouldn't that be poetic justice? Most of his commenters are all in tune with him too and waste no chance to join in the exile bashing at every turn except for one I know of, Manuel Tellechea, who comments there with great success to expose his hipocrisy.

3:07 PM, July 22, 2007  

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