Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Miami News, May 3, 1976, Editorial "An Excuse for Inaction."

When somebody knocks off a couple of banks in town, the police usually do not wait for the English-speaking community to decide to turn in the robbers. Instead, the various city, county, state and federal police agencies dig in to try to track down the lawless gang of toughs.

That is the same attitude with which law enforcement people should approach the detestable murders and attempts at murder that have become epidemic within Miami's Cuban exile community. It is ridiculous to suppose, as some police officials apparently do, that the identity of the bombers is common knowledge among the generally law abiding half-million Dade residents of Cuban origins. The criminals are killers, and they will have to be tracked down like other killers.

There is a not-so-subtle racism in the implication that four murders, dozens of bombings and several attempts at killings are somehow a Cuban problem for which all local Cubans share the responsibility.

The explosion Friday night which nearly killed WQBA newscaster Emilio Milian was not an act of the Cuban community - it was a vicious act by criminals who deserve at least as much attention as police gave to Patty Hearst. It is an insult to Dade's thousands of Cubans to imply that they do not want to see the terrorists brought to justice.

Milian's employer is offering a $25,000 reward for information on his assailants and many leading local Latins have deplored the violence that terrorizes their neighborhoods. It is time for the police, and especially the federal agencies, to stop blaming their own failures on some alleged conspiracy of silence.

There is good reason to believe that at least some of the bombings and killings are connected to each other, and that they may relate either to political activity or to organized extortion. In either case, there is justification for the FBI to bring its full weight into the matter as Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre requested last year.

The terrorism which makes Dade the nation's leading center of such activity is not a Cuban problem, it is a Miami problem, and it is past time for the police to throw their fullest possible resources into the fight.

Copyright (c) 1976 The Miami News