Cozying up to Cuban-American extremists in South Florida has been a part of American political culture for decades. It is an unseemly ritual that has nevertheless persisted because of the dysfunctional peculiarities of our Electoral College that grants Florida 27 votes, exactly 10 percent of the electors needed to win the White House.
Most of the time, would-be candidates simply suspend some abstract principles about the putting the National Interest above the narrow interest of a vocal and well-moneyed minority.
Senator Joe Lieberman, however, has taken it to the next level.
Thanks to the sleuthing of avid Cuba-watcher Phil Peters over at Cuban Triangle, and a bit more digging here at The Havana Note, we can now state the following:
1. Before addressing a pro-McCain event in Florida on July 20, 2008, Senator Joe Lieberman was recorded on video telling Miriam Arocena, wife of Eduardo Arocena, the Federally-convicted leader of the Cuban-American terrorist group Omega 7, that he will carry back to Washington her request for a Presidential pardon for her husband. Arocena is serving a mandatory life sentence and was convicted on 25 Federal counts in New York and 24 counts in New York.
"It's my responsibility, it's my responsibility. I will carry it [the pardon request] back. I will carry it back. Yeah. I feel...I think of you like you were my family.... I'll bring it back. I'll do my best."
Here's the video. Lieberman's quote starts around 3:30.
2. The terrorist campaign for which Arocena was convicted did not target the island of Cuba. Rather, it took place in and around New York City and Miami, Florida. Appeals Court Judge Lumbard summarized Omega 7's string of terror attacks like this:
“From 1975 to 1982, Omega 7 conducted a series of bombings in the New York metropolitan area that injured bystanders and damaged homes, businesses, and a church. The bombsites included Avery Fisher Hall, Madison Square Garden, JFK Airport, the ticket office of Aeroflot (the Soviet airline), and the Cuban Mission to the United Nations."
Lieberman To Seek Pardon for Manhattan Terrorist (The Havana Note)