Exiles march in support of Cuban dissidents
By LUISA YANEZ
About 3,000 people crowded a stretch of Southwest Eighth Street in
Little Havana Thursday to mark the 15th anniversary of the shoot-down of
four Brothers to the Rescue fliers and call for the release of political
prisoners in Cuba.
Waving Cuban flags and placards with the image of Cuban dissident
Orlando Zapata Tamayo -- who died a year ago following a hunger strike
-- marchers called for "Liberty for political prisoners" and a "Free
Cuba." Among the marchers were numerous community activists and
political leaders, including Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado and
Congressional Reps. David Rivera and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
The march on Calle Ocho, between Southwest 4th and 13th Avenues, was
expected to continue through late afternoon.
The fliers being honored are: Armando Alejandre Jr., Carlos Alberto
Costa, Mario de la Pena and Pablo Morales . They were shot down by Cuban
MiGs on Feb. 24, 1996, while flying near Cuba. A vigil also is scheduled
to take place Thursday evening in Hialeah.
On Thursday, Congressman David Rivera called for the indictment of Fidel
and Raul Castro.
"Fifteen years ago, Raul Castro gave the order that brought down the
Brothers to the Rescue planes, and he faced no consequences. For the
last 14 months he and his brother have held an American citizen, Alan
Gross, hostage for distributing humanitarian assistance on the island.
Instead of being penalized for repeated attacks on American citizens and
residents, the Castro brothers have most recently been rewarded through
unilateral concessions from the Obama administration in the form of
relaxed restrictions on travel and remittances to Cuba,'' Rivera said in
a prepared statement..
"The Obama administration needs to do more, beginning with revoking the
recent concessions given to the Castro dictatorship and indicting the
Castro brothers for their murderous role in the Brothers to the Rescue
shootdown. This will send a clear message that acts of terror and
repression are not acceptable or tolerable,"