Let Terrorist Eduardo Arocena Go

El exilio wants him out of jail.

Miriam firmly asserts she knew nothing of her husband's anti-Castro violence. Mostly, she dismisses the question of his culpability. "I have been asked that many times, but let me tell you," she says, punctuating her next words with slaps on her kitchen table, "I don't know Omega 7.... I know Eduardo, I miss him, my children miss him."

(Remón, Arocena's right-hand man, was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 1986. After his release, he joined Luis Posada Carriles and two others in an attempt to assassinate Castro at a Panama summit meeting in 2000; he spent four years in prison there before gaining a pardon and returning to Miami in 2004.)

Richard Negrín takes a different view from Miriam. The 13-year-old who narrowly avoided the MAC-10 rounds that felled his father went on to live something of an American dream after that tragic fall day. "I really threw myself into football after my dad's murder, because otherwise I would have gone insane with anger," Richard says.

Photos of happier times fill Miriam Arocena's kitchen table.
Courtesy of Miriam Arocena
Photos of happier times fill Miriam Arocena's kitchen table.
An Arocena supporter gathers signatures.
Jacqueline Carini
An Arocena supporter gathers signatures.

He was a talented player with a chip on his shoulder who ended up an All-American at Wagner College and played two years as a reserve for the Cleveland Browns and New York Jets. He earned a law degree from Rutgers after his playing career ended and now works as the general counsel for Aramark, the Philadelphia-based corporate services giant.

He remembers taking the stand during the trial and describing his father's murder. "I was 18 years old, a freshman in college, and looked at him and told him what his group had done," Negrín says of Arocena. "I looked at him throughout and he sat there emotionless, with a cold, empty stare in his eyes."

So now he's unequivocal about the clemency petition.

"I think he's lucky to have a life in prison, because years later we have a 'kingpin law' where he would have faced the death penalty for orchestrating my dad's murder," Negrín says. "He was a clear and present danger to people of the United States. It was a rampage of violence that at the time was unprecedented in the United States."

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