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For the past hour or so Andres Orta has been trying to persuade the listeners of radio station La Poderosa (WWFE-AM 670) that the reason for Cuba's suffering isn't communism. Instead it's something called the "new world order." He explains the island's leaders are entangled in an international conspiracy led by wealthy and powerful Jews, the true enemies of his nation.
"Communism is a doctrine of Zionist origin," he says. "It was born of the diabolical mind of a man named Karl Marx, who was Jewish."
Orta is the coordinator of Alianza Nacional, a twenty-member organization dedicated to liberating Cuba and preserving Christian values. Clad in a guayabera, the 43-year-old Havana native is participating in a debate on host Carlos D'Mant's La Hora del Tranque (Rush Hour). Across the table from Orta is Miguel Angel Aldana, a young Jewish-Cuban man wearing a white yarmulke and holding a Bible. Aldana heard Alianza's anti-Semitic rhetoric on a previous Tranque program and demanded this afternoon's debate.
Soon Orta begins reeling off a list of Cuban Communist Party members he claims are Jewish. Aldana groans slightly and rolls his aquamarine eyes. Orta, pounding his finger on the table, goes on to say that both the media and the federal government are Jewish puppets. Don Francisco from Sabado Gigante is Jewish. So are President Clinton, Al Gore, Madeleine Albright, and yes, even Fidel Castro. From a manila folder, Orta produces a document with a portrait of Castro on it that details the dictator's Jewish heritage.
That's too much for Aldana, who throws his head back, half in amusement, half in horror. "Come on!" he pleads. "Everyone's Jewish! My uncle's Jewish. Castro's Jewish. Who's Jewish? Who else?" Then Aldana chuckles at the exchange and so does Orta.
Orta, however, is dead serious about his fledgling organization, which has drawn significant attention since it was founded six months ago. The Anti-Defamation League recently started monitoring Alianza for trouble and terms it anti-Semitic, white-supremacist, and militialike. And while many of the exiles whom Alianza targets may find the message laughable, some are listening. In the past month alone, Orta has appeared twice on WWFE's Tranque (a planned third appearance is still unscheduled) and twice more on a show called Buenos Dias Miami, which airs on a cable channel called Telemiami. The group has begun spreading the word via their Website and about thirty people attended a recent Alianza-sponsored breakfast at a west Miami-Dade restaurant.
Orta, a short, thin, and neatly groomed man with a pleasant disposition, doesn't fit the thuggish image often associated with hate groups. His family fled Cuba when he was seven years old and settled in Spain at a time when dictator Francisco Franco, once a Nazi ally, held sway. Orta says he was seventeen years old when he initially discovered the new world order in a book titled Derrota Mundial, about the "global defeat" that World War II represented. "It opened my eyes, and I've been fighting ever since," he says.
In Spain Orta belonged to a right-wing political party called Fuerza Nueva. He finished junior college and worked as a salesman and low-level supervisor before moving to Miami three years ago. Soon after his arrival here, Orta, who works as a sporting goods salesman in Little Havana, joined El Movimiento Nacionalista Cubano, a group he considers moderately nationalist. But he grew disillusioned with his fellow exiles' tolerance of Jews and formed Alianza with the help of a handful of other Movimiento Nacionalista members. Alianza gathers donations from its members, most of whom, he says, are middle-age men with full-time jobs who have lived in Miami for decades.
At the core of the organization's beliefs is an obsession with exposing a secret society of Jewish magnates, financiers, and journalists who are using communism as a tool to dominate the world. Like many exile groups, Alianza wants to free Cuba. But its members leave mundane tasks like lobbying for the embargo or vilifying Castro to the mainstreamers. "We want to work with all organizations that want to free Cuba, but our strategy is different," Orta explains. "They're all turning their attention to the south, trying to accomplish something in Cuba, but the battle is really here."
Blacks are not immune from Alianza's diatribes. Orta bemoans the sharp rise in Cuba's black population since the Communist revolution and dreams of seeing segregation instituted on the island. He believes that all ethnic groups should live separately. "The Communists have erased all the signs of our identity: our ethnicity, family values, our culture," he says. "Our Spanish heritage is gone. Cuba has been Africanized."
But Orta insists that Alianza isn't a white-supremacist organization. He makes a distinction between racism and racial segregation. He doesn't resent all Jews, only devious Zionists. "We reject the term anti-Semitic," he says, echoing a phrase used by former Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. "We have nothing against Jewish people in themselves. In all our activities we have defended the right of the Jewish people to have their own country."
Alianza's beliefs are not the first ultraright offshoot of the Cuban exile community's traditionally conservative thought. Although most Cuban Americans are not anti-Semitic, Alianza's emergence doesn't surprise Michael Winograd, associate director of the Anti-Defamation League's Florida regional office. "They are more extreme than any group of its kind that I've heard of lately," he stresses. "But in Miami, among the people on the political right and among the white supremacists, are some Cuban Americans. This group is not a unique phenomenon here and it concerns us."