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Univision Let Right Wing Cubans Call For His Death, Defector Claims

MIAMI (CN) - Univision conspired to allow a radio host and the Bay of Pigs Veterans Association, 2506 Brigade demand the execution of Rafael del Pino, the highest-ranking military official ever to defect from Cuba, and demand that his family be executed too, because del Pino wrote newspaper articles stating that the time has come to negotiate with Cuba, del Pino claims in Federal Court. He also sues longtime CIA agent Felix Rodriguez, other members of the 2506 Brigade, and Univision affiliates and employees.

Del Pino was a fighter pilot for the Cuban Air Force who rose to commander of the Air Force in 1965, and deputy chief of staff of the Cuban Armed Forced in 1985. He defected in 1987 because of disagreements with Fidel Castro, and President Ronald Reagan hailed him as a hero.

The defendant Bay of Pigs Veterans Association, Brigade 2506 is named for "the 1961 CIA incursion into Cuba. Brigade 2506 was the self designation of the Cuban exiles who named their invasion force after the number of the first training casualty," del Pino states. "Brigade 2506 was created for the organizational activities in support of opposing the Castro government. ... Today, Brigade 2506 no longer represents the energetic modern Cuban community, but rather, Brigade 2506 predominantly consists of old retired CIA-supported self-designated 'Cuban Patriots' who actively pursue donations from right-wing foundation so that they will enjoy a comfortable retirement. Brigade 2506's current purpose is no more than an effort to seek publicity so that its members personally will not be forgotten, nor unsupported."

Felix Rodriguez is president of the Bay of Pigs Veterans Association, Brigade 2506.

Defendant Esteban Bovo, a city commissioner in Hialeah, Fla., is secretary of the Bay of Pigs Veterans Association, Brigade 2506.

Also named as defendants are America Teve Network; its employee Oscar Haza, host of the Channel 41 TV show "A Mano Limpia" (With Clean Hands); Miguel Cossio, producer of "A Mano Limpia;" and Martha Flores, host of a radio show on Univision's station WAQI Radio Mambi.

Del Pino wrote an article published on June 25 called "The Hour of Negotiation," saying the time had come for the United States and Cuba to negotiate. This stirred up the right-wing Cuban community in Miami.

On Aug. 1, El Nuevo Heraldo, the Miami Herald's Spanish language edition, published another article by Del Pino, an "Open Letter for Raul Castro."

Del Pino appeared on "A Mano Limpia" on Sept. 12, where Haza read letters from former members of Fulgencio Batista's regime and Brigade 2506 harshly criticizing him. "Almost immediately thereafter, Flores, a radio show host on Radio Mambi 710 AM, a subsidiary of Univision, declared openly on her show that Del Pino should be executed for publishing his articles/letters. ... Flores broadcast an appeal for a mob to hang and lynch Del Pino in the middle of Calle Ocho (8th Street) in Little Havana."

On Sept. 27, "A Mano Limpia" broadcast a "mock trial" of Del Pino, "for the purpose of prosecuting Del Pino for the so-called crime of exercising his rights to freedom of speech under the U.S. Constitution." Haza was the "prosecutor," and his "judges" were Rodriguez, Bovo, and Arturo Cobo, another member of Brigade 2506.

Del Pino says the "judges" incited violence, broadcast his home address, and did this to "encourage(e) right-wing Cubans and members of Brigade 2506 to harass, intimidate, and ultimately, execute Del Pino and his family, for comments Del Pino made in his articles and during the television show."

Del Pino adds: "This call for incitement to violence and vigilantism is no different than Deputy Sheriff Cecil Price telling the Ku Klux Klan in 1964 the time and which route the civil rights workers Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and James Cheney would be on when they were released from the Neshoba County Jail."

Del Pino also claims that Bovo defamed Del Pino's son by calling him homosexual, "for the purpose of inciting violence and provoking hatred against Del Pino."

Del Pino claims that "several hosts" on Radio Mambi have taken to calling him "an undercover agent for Fidel Castro's regime, which is categorically false," and that the defendants continue to provoke violence and hatred against him, threatening his life and liberty, and the life and liberty of his family and property.

He demands punitive damages for conspiracy, assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress, and a protective injunction. He is represented by Richard Burton. See complaint.

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