It’s a wrap for Orlando Bosch. On April 28th, it was reported that Orlando Bosch, an exiled Cuban militant, has died of undisclosed causes at age 84 in Miami. Bosch was a strange cat. Originally a pediatrician, he gave up his medical practice to pursue the armed struggle against former Cuban political leader Fidel Castro.

(In Miami, Orlando Bosch flashed victory signs in 1968, shouting, “Victory for Cuban liberation”)

Orlando was a trigger happy guy who didn’t care about killing innocent people in the name “liberating Cuba”. Orlando Bosch admits to being the “chief” of a bombing campaign that occurred around Miami in the 1960’s and 70’s. Take a look at the video below. He was sometimes cryptic about taking the blame for bombings due to criminal charge issues, but his ego was big enough that he also wanted the credit for these operations, so he always denied it with a wink hinting “yeah that was me”! Like I said, he was a strange cat.

My early memories as a little girl in Miami Beach was an infamous day that he grabbed a bazooka and fired a tanker across MacArthur Causeway and blew it up (to protest the Boat docking in Cuba). Flash forward a few years later, the city of Miami launches a street called “Orlando Bosch Way”. My Cuban elders treated this guy like a hero. Secretly, I thought the whole city was nuts, but I never spoke it out loud, for fear of sounding unloyal and dumb.

It wasn’t until I got older and began to understand the sophisticated fine line between the concept of a “freedom fighter” and a “terrorist” and the dangers of getting lost in the romance of it all. To wrap your head around Revolutionary cells in the face of oppression, see the film, Battle of Algiers, a historical tale about the Algerian war, and insurgent cells against French Colonial occupation.

It’s a topic of enormous ethical debate which I later experienced in the fluffy 1984 action movie, Red Dawn —  a film that shows a group of young American insurgents (Patrick Swayze, Thomas Howell, Charlie Sheen, etc) defending themselves from a Russian/Cuban invasion on US soil. Pretty soon, we see Jennifer Grey throwing bombs into buildings killing innocent civilians. The blood thirsty brat pack was cheered by American audiences nationally. It was the cold war era. The Americans bombing the commies. It was the reverse tale of justifying terrorism and American audiences ate it up. Pretty surreal, and a sobering reminder that any side can get caught up in act of justifying terrorist tactics.

(Cubana Airlines DC-8 like the one bombed by Orlando Bosch)

But back to Bosch, and the overall terrorist fever in Miami. Mr. Bosch and fellow militant Luis Posada Carriles were both accused in connection with the 1976 bombing that killed all 73 people aboard a flight bound for Cuba. Due to the bomb, the plane crashed into the Caribbean, a few miles west of Barbados. All aboard perished.

US Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Republican of Miami has made public campaigns to defend this man even as the world tried to bring justice to the tragic incident.

“He was a freedom fighter for Cuba and passed away without seeing his beloved homeland free of the Castro dictatorship,’’ Ros-Lehtinen said Wednesday after his death. Needless to say, in some Miami Republican circles, Bosch is still regarded as a hero.

Bosch was charged and then acquitted in the bombing of the Cuban jetliner in 1976. In an autobiography published in 2010, Bosch said he “categorically had no responsibility whatsoever in this act of sabotage.” In a 2005 interview, Bosch said details on the jetliner bombing would be released after his death (whatever that means). He eventually went into exile in South Florida.

(Bosch through the Years. Found on AlongtheMalecon.com)

One website further describes Bosch in a nutshell: “Despite multiple evidence of Bosch’s bloody complicity in the Cubana outrage and other politically-motivated murders, not to mention his shameless, Al Qaeda-style assertion that ‘All of Castro’s planes are warplanes’ (and therefore justifiable targets), the Cuban-American lobby’s unrivalled clout in Washington helped Bosch and his co-conspirator Luis Posada Carriles evade justice in several jurisdictions. He did go to prison for a few years for other, lesser offences but managed to avoid being called to account for the worst crime of all.”

And so the story ends. Bosch is dead. He died unrepentant. Fidel has outlived most of his arch enemies from the Cuban-American faction. Gosh, I don’t really know how to offer final words to this man’s life with all the blood on his hands. I’ll just leave it to this… Bosch has left this world and will meet his maker. The rest is up to the big guy in the sky.

I’m not a fan of rejoicing at anyone’s death so I won’t. I do however feel the battle of Cuba/US relations has lost some substantial negative energy  with the loss of this man, who was filled with incredible rage and hatred. Hopefully, there will be room to open up to new energies in the quest for reconciliation.

Onwards and Upwards!

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Video clip from the documentary “Tell Me Cuba” directed by Megan Williams.
Video clip found at: http://www.tellmecuba.com
Additional information about “Tell Me Cuba” can be found at: http://cambridge.films.com/id/17612/Tell_Me_Cuba.htm