But in Miami, 230 miles away, Bosch’s supporters are just as sure he’s a hero, a giant among men.
These loyalists streamed into a Miami theater on Dec. 9 for the unveiling of Bosch’s memoirs, entitled “Los años que he vivido" or "The years I have lived."
Angel De Fana, a former political prisoner in Cuba, climbed onto the stage and said many people in the audience already knew Bosch. Some had even joined Bosch in the violent fight against the Cuban government.
“Almost all of us, if we haven’t planted a bomb or picked up a rifle, we’ve done other things,” De Fana said. “I went to prison for 20 years for Cuba. These are things that we thought were right at a given time. And I - at least I - do not renounce my past.”
“Nor the present!” someone yelled as others clapped.
|Angel De Fana|
De Fana said he visited Bosch every Sunday while in Venezuela and grew to admire him.
Bosch was an “outstanding pediatrician” who could have led a “super comfortable” life, De Fana said. Instead, he risked everything and dedicated his life to “fighting for freedom.”
“It’s impossible to know Orlando Bosch and not love him and not admire him,” De Fana said.
Like many of Bosch’s supporters, De Fana rejects accusations that Bosch was behind the bombing of Cubana Flight 455. “Not a single one of Orlando Bosch’s acts have caused anyone’s death.”
Bosch didn’t talk about the bombing, but writes in his memoirs:
I have lived for many years with the stigma that I am an 'assassin' because my enemy, Fidel Castro, decided it was so. He accused me, without evidence, of being the intellectual author of the sabotage of Flight 455 and many other acts with which I had nothing to do. Only someone who has no shame and decency can accuse another one of murder when that someone is guilty of so many thousands of deaths.The memoirs also show photos of Bosch proudly displaying weapons he helped to supply to combatants who fought Castro’s soldiers in the Escambray Mountains in central Cuba.
Bosch’s daughter, Lourdes, now a doctor, said her father often talked about his passion for Cuba when she was a girl.
|Lourdes, a daughter from Bosch's first marriage|
With time, she realized he was fighting for a free homeland. And now she supports his struggle, saying, “There are few men of the caliber of my father.”
|Bosch's wife, Adriana|
|Bosch's sister, Mirtha|
|Bosch's daughter Myriam, a.k.a. "La Chiqui"|
Bosch was emotional and appeared to be near tears at times.
He spoke for less than five minutes, recalling his days as a student leader in Cuba and his birth in Potrerillo, a town of less than 3,000 people.
Anti-Castro militant Guillermo Novo also spoke. He said the fight to liberate “our homeland is a rosary of heroes and martyrs,” and Bosch is “a giant among those heroes.”
|Alberto Hernandez, left, with Bosch.|
|Luis Posada Carriles, center, is an old friend of Bosch|
|Friends help Bosch from the stage.|
This article first appeared in the Huffington Post.
Additional coverage of Orlando Bosch memoirs:
Dec. 13 - Orlando Bosch speaks to supporters in Miami
Dec. 13 - Slideshow of Bosch photos
Dec. 13 - Friends and family rally around Orlando Bosch
Dec. 12 - Orlando Bosch denies he's a killer
Dec. 10 - New photos of Orlando Bosch book bash
Dec. 9 - Orlando Bosch hasn't hurt a soul, his friends say