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Cuba Calls For U.S. Terrorist Probe Into Embassy Attack; Blames Trump And Miami

Minrex de Cuba
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez speaking in Havana on Tuesday.

Two weeks ago a lone gunman shot up the exterior of the Cuban embassy in Washington D.C. Now the Cuban government accuses the U.S. of not investigating what it calls a terrorist act.

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At 2 a.m. on April 30, police say a Cuban-American named Alexander Alazo, 42, fired dozens of rounds from an assault rifle at the Cuban embassy. No one was hurt. Alazo, who was living in Texas, was quickly arrested – and was later determined to be mentally ill, telling investigators he heard voices in his head warning him Cuban criminal gangs were out to kill him.

But in Havana on Tuesday, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez called for a terrorist investigation by the U.S. –  and said Alazo was radicalized by the Trump Administration’s aggressive rhetoric against communist Cuba.

“The attack was a direct result of an official policy of hatred and violence against Cuba,” Rodríguez said. He said an evangelical church and other right-wing forces in Miami, where Alazo briefly lived, were also to blame for turning him into a terrorist.

Rodríguez presented no real evidence. Cuba experts say his claims are a classic regime distraction move.

“Bruno Rodríguez is trying to take the pressure the Cuban government is facing today from the impact of COVID-19 on their economy," says Andy Gomez, a former director of the University of Miami’s Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies.

"He wants to make the Cuban people think all the negative stuff going on inside in Cuba is the fault of the United States and Miami.”

Alazo was carrying a Cuban flag with pro-Trump messages written on it during his attack on the embassy. U.S. officials insist he acted alone.

Tim Padgett is the Americas Editor for WLRN, covering Latin America, the Caribbean and their key relationship with South Florida. Contact Tim at tpadgett@wlrnnews.org
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