Miami News

January 25, 1968

'Cuban Power' is war cry of Exile terror group


By Milt Sosin

"El Poder Cubano!"

The words stirred a furor today in Miami's Cuban Community as bombs damaged two agencies shipping food packages to Cuba and a garage with no apparent Cuban connections.

The words mean "Cuban Power," a terror organization which claimed responsibility for the bombing of an airplane at Miami International Airport last Saturday and warned, in its "Communique Number 1" of its intent to move against any business dealing with Castro's Cuba.

Along SW 8th Street and on Flagler Street and in the side streets between the two where many thousands of Miami's Cuban exiles live, it was freely predicted in the food markets and at the street front coffee counters that "Communique Number 2" would be issued today and would claim credit for the bombings earlier today.

And it was just as freely predicted that the bombings would increase. The big question was, "Who is Ernesto?"

Communique No. 1 was signed on behalf of El Poder Cubano by "Ernesto."

Investigators had many candidates in mind for the leadership, but there was no clear-cut indication of his identity. There were too many possibilities.

Felipe Rivero, leader of the militant anti-Castro Cuban Nationalist Association, who was released last October 30 on $10,000 bond after spending 171 days in Dade County jail pending appeal from an Immigration Service order excluding him from the United States, was told by a newsman today that it had been suggested that he was the leader of El Poder Cubano.

"No, I am not Ernesto," the 43-year-old Rivero said.

"If our organization had been in back of these bombings, I would not have hidden behind any name like that. I would have said we had placed the bombs and told why - just as we did when we attacked the Castro embassy in Ottawa and the warehouse in Montreal filled with material stolen by Castro."

"These people who are bombing those places to stop packages going to Cuba are accomplishing only one thing - depriving a lot of old ladies and babies in Cuba of food, medicine, and clothing."

"They are not hurting the Castro economy one bit. The place to strike at Fidel Castro is in the economy that provides him with dollars - not take away food and medicine from old ladies and babies."

Rivero said that although Cuban Power claimed to have been born in Havana, he did not believe this was true.

"This group came to life in Miami," he said. "Somebody liked the sound of the words "Black Power" so they adopted Cuban Power.

He and other Cubans said they did not believe the organization was very large. It was pointed out that they must be in possession of funds to purchase the C-4 plastic explosive.

Rivero said there has been for a long time an active black market for the plastic explosive, possession of which supposedly is limited to military authorities.

Several other leaders of military-type anti-Castro organizations were queried about possible affiliation with Cuban Power. All denied such ties.

"It's going to be a tough one to infiltrate," said the chief of one intelligence organization which exercises surveillance on underground organizations.