By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
By Ryan Yousefi
By Kyle Swenson
Moments after that day's talk show ended, as he was preparing to leave Radio Fe's Little Havana studios, Gonzalez was arrested by Miami police detectives and charged with bouncing $1,064.57 worth of checks in 1984 and 1988. On the air for the next two days, Gonzalez berated Miami Mayor Xavier Suarez and City Manager Cesar Odio, as well as police and local business leaders, alleging that his arrest was politically motivated and conveniently timed to coincide with the first day of publication of his new newspaper.
"That's nonsense," says Maj. Miguel Exposito, head of the police department's special investigations section. "This conspiracy theory is just a big smoke screen. It's really ironic, since we couldn't arrest him if those warrants hadn't been there in the first place. It's not like they're new. In some cases they went as far back as 1984. My investigator simply became interested in him after reading in the newspaper about his financial problems, and when he checked, sure enough, he found the warrants."
Gonzalez sees Diario Nacional - which he claims is supported by advertising, subscriptions, and donations - as a way to pester the power brokers with no threat of being taken off the air, and a means to puncture the Miami Herald, which he calls "the media monopoly." The debut issue, dated January 8 but released a day earlier, berates Radio Progreso, a Union Radio show sponsored by Francisco Aruca, owner of Marazul Charter Inc. That company has a virtual monopoly on Miami flights to Cuba, and Gonzalez considers Aruca one of the most despicable of the "dialoguers." A front-page caricature depicts a Castro-faced octopus stretching a tentacle beneath the Florida Straits and into Florida, wrapping the appendage around a radio tower labeled Union Radio. Subsequent issues devote space to Gonzalez's financial problems and to the Persian Gulf crisis, including Castro's reaction. Splashed throughout are cartoons and caricatures, including a Napoleoncito strip drawn in the likeness of Victor De Yurre and a Mogolla center spread.
Although ostensibly a daily paper, only five of eleven issues have actually hit the streets. Several carriers who deliver the paper quit after being physically threatened by unidentified thugs. Two days after he was arrested, Gonzalez says, he received death threats over the telephone at home and chased two men away from his car, parked in his driveway in the middle of the night. A lack of funds has taken his talk show off the radio airwaves, but Diario Nacional's employees say they will continue to work at the newspaper's offices, at 759 NW 22nd Avenue, even if Gonzalez can't pay them.
"Everyone who works here is here to build a future and to help out Alberto," says Maria Smith, the paper's commercial director. "There's a feeling that if it works, everyone will be in good shape. But we think that if it fails, somebody or something is blocking our way. Other than that, there's no reason it can't work."
And now we bring you "The Political Weather Report" with Professor Carlos Parques Sterling...
SOUND: Thunder and rain
STERLING: Holy cow! It doesn't let up! The quarrel continues between those who support Gustavo Arcos - not dialogue [with Fidel], because no one supports that; but there are people who think Arcos doesn't deserve being called a traitor, it's true - and those who sympathize with [Armando] Valladares [former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva], who in turn are against [exile leader Ricardo] Bofill, who, by chance, now is against what the [Cuban American National] Foundation thinks. What a mess! I tell you, the scandals and infighting that form here in el exilio.
All right. With all of this, the weather is very cloudy, naturally, in the area of human rights.... There is a very strong low front in Geneva and an even lower one in the White House, with respect to Valladares, who looks like he's about to get a layoff from his position as ambassador. The weather is good over Television Marti, with plenty of sun over Congress, because it looks like the U.S. government doesn't believe in interference and is inclined to push forward with the television station - even if they can't see it in Cuba even in seances!
The forecast for the next 24 hours: Persistent rain of opinions regarding Ricardo Bofill thanks to an area of low pressure in the Foundation that is now moving north. The temperatures will be very hot on some open-mike radio programs. As far as the tides, they can't get any lower than they've been in the last few days with so many insults here in the City of Miami.
All right. This is all for the political weather, so I'll close my umbrella and take my forecast somewhere else. Heh, heh. Until the next one.
The source of most of the insults in the city, the show's targets insist, is La Mogolla itself. While Gonzalez is ready to draw and quarter anyone who steps into the limelight, he reserves his most savage satire for a small cadre of regulars - Cuban American National Foundation chairman Jorge Mas Canosa, Miami Mayor Suarez, city commissioners Victor De Yurre and Miriam Alonso, ex-Governor Bob Martinez, Camacol president Luis Sabines, Barnett Bank vice chairman Carlos Arboleya, WQBA news director Tomas Garcia Fuste, and Radio Mambi general manager Armando Perez Roura. Tony Varona, head of the Junta Patriotica Cubana, is another favorite target, as is the Miami Herald, which Gonzalez accuses of trying to de-Cubanize Miami. And of course there's Fidel. But while Mogolla frequently takes aim at Castro - the Cuban president has made "guest" appearances on the show, compliments of impersonator Tito