RADIO MIAMI TV: Terrorism killed Réplica magazine in Miami

Walter Lippmann

Terrorism killed Réplica magazine in Miami
By: Hedelberto López Blanch
June 22, 2021

Translated by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.

Max Lesnik, recalls The siege was total and the monetary inflows were reduced to the minimum expression while the federal government "investigated" the facts but the culprits never appeared.

This article was published on May 19, 2005, in RadioMiami TV and Cubadebate.  

An anonymous phone call alerted the employees of Revista Réplica: there was a bomb on the premises. Immediately the employees evacuated the building and a few minutes later a huge police deployment appeared with patrol cars, firemen and ambulances.

On three previous occasions bombs had exploded in the building occupied by the editorial offices of the Miami magazine Réplica and one of its offices, where I conducted the interview with its editor-in-chief Max Lesnik, was completely destroyed in 1981.

On none of the occasions did the intelligence services or the police investigate who could have been the perpetrators of these terrorist acts, based on the reality that they were in complete collusion with the Cuban-American ultra-right-wing organizations, whose members hated and attacked anyone who dared to speak or mention anything favorable to the Cuban government.

Revista Réplica emerged in the late 1960s as a counterpart to the only Spanish-language publication circulating in Miami at the time (there were no major radio, television or newspaper outlets) run by personnel of the overthrown dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista and named, incredibly, Patria.

Batista's people, through their newspaper, influenced the mentality of all the emigrants, sowing intolerance and terrorism against the Cuban people.

Lesnik founded the weekly Réplica which, when it saw the light of day in its then offices at 3026nw and 7th St., did so with eight tabloid pages, few advertisements and poor printing quality. But its articles served to fill the information vacuum and to counteract the approaches and philosophy of the Batista ultra-right.

Given the positive impact it had within the emigrant community, in 1972 it was transformed from a tabloid into a weekly magazine with 48 pages and a format and style similar to the Cuban magazine Bohemia.

"From its beginnings, it did not accept foreign subsidies, much less from the CIA, which at that time gave money to journalists, newspapers and other publications," says Lesnik.

Due to the confrontation from its pages with the powerful Cuban-American right-wing, supported by the different U.S. administrations, these elements began a boycott against Réplica, especially when in 1978 the publication supported the talks that took place between the emigrant community and the government of the island.

Aggressiveness was not long in coming and "the poisonous seed of fascism was taking shape in the soul of the exile community," Max points out.

The result was several bombs in the offices, assassination attempts against the editor, threats and aggressions against the shopkeepers who distributed the magazines in the establishments, intimidations to the advertisers.

The siege was total and the monetary income was reduced to the minimum while the federal government "investigated" the facts but the culprits never appeared.

The U.S. authorities could not afford to let the last bomb go off. Four pounds of C-4 had been placed on the premises, and its explosive force would blow up the entire block and even a school across the street from Replica.

The device was defused and, with the intervention of the FBI, some members of the Omega 7 terrorist organization were arrested and later released.

In 1983 the main leader of Omega 7, Eduardo Arocena, was arrested and accused of planning the assassination attempt against the Cuban ambassador to the United Nations, Raúl Roa Kourí, of drug trafficking and of placing more than 20 bombs in New York and Miami.

In his pleas, before he was sentenced to life imprisonment, Arocena declared that Pedro Remón, (the same one who with Posada Carriles, Guillermo Novo and Gaspar Jiménez Escobedo attempted to assassinate Cuban President Fidel Castro in Panama), was the direct perpetrator of the murders of Cuban official at the United Nations, Félix García and Cuban émigré Eulalio José Negrín.

Remón was not charged with murder and served only a few months in prison despite the fact that in 1986 Judge Robert L. Ward of the Federal District of Manhattan sentenced him, along with Andrés García and Eduardo Losada to 10 years in prison. The sanction was only a hoax, as Judge Ward said at the trial that he admired Omega 7's actions to get Cuban ruler Fidel Castro out of office.

The aggressions against Réplica, carried out by Omega 7, caused the magazine and its other publications, which already numbered four, to reduce circulation and personnel until they ceased to circulate at the end of the 1990s.

In summary, as indicated by its founder and former editor, Max Lesnik, Réplica is another victim of the profuse terrorist actions carried out in Miami, which for more than 40 years have been supported by the different U.S. administrations.

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