La Cosa Nuestra

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3. Eladio José Armesto, Underboss. The 45-year-old Armesto has served as Take Back Miami-Dade's communications director since its 1998 inception. Also an officer of the small but vocal Democratic League of Dade County, he has criticized Republican President George W. Bush's war on terrorism. Armesto, however, has adapted the basic concept of the Bush Doctrine into what might be called the Armesto Doctrine: There is no distinction between homosexuals and those who harbor them, that is, homosexualists. Moreover, homosexualist politicians and officials who commit electoral fraud to protect gays and lesbians are more dangerous than any al Qaeda thug. Denouncing these foes on the eve of the 9/11 anniversary, Armesto told a Channel 51 reporter: "America will wake up on September 11 more united than ever to combat not just terrorists who kill persons and destroy buildings but also the terrorists who kill the human spirit." The next night he expounded alongside host Matias Farias at the La Poderosa studio. "The national security of the United States is at stake here," Armesto proclaimed. "The legitimacy of a government falls when its population doesn't have a way to prove who has been elected or how," he added, referring to Florida's new computerized voting machines. "Those who commit this type of fraud," he continued, "are much more frightening than any terrorist who destroys a building or kills a citizen, because what they are undermining is not a building or human being but the institutions of an entire nation."

Armesto's public comments suggest he has well-placed informants inside the Miami-Dade Department of Elections. Four days before the vote he announced that Supervisor of Elections David Leahy was preparing systematic voter fraud in order to defeat the Take Back campaign. "They said we were crazy," Armesto fumed after the September 10 election-day debacle. "Well, now it has turned out that the crazies have become prophets in this county."

Apparently an admirer of the late Spanish dictator Generalissimo Francisco Franco -- godfather to the modern family-values movement -- Armesto sees a parallel between the old international communists and today's homosexualist network, which landed one of his capos and three soldiers in jail. "I was going to ask the caller," Armesto began on a recent late-night appearance on La Poderosa, "if he didn't see a parallel between the international brigades that the communists imported into Spain to fight the native Spaniards and impose communism in Spain, and the one thousand homosexualist troops brought in from different parts of the U.S. by the group headed by Alex Penelas, Mayor Manny Diaz, and Mayor Raul Martinez to impose on this community a homosexualist political agenda totally alien to the values and principles of the people from here."

Armesto insists he has friends who are gay, but occasionally erupts in contemptuous similes: "If you were having dinner and a cockroach crawled onto your plate," he asked during another radio stint, "would you discriminate?" "Of course," replied a caller. "Thank you," Armesto responded.

4. Antonio "Tony" Verdugo, capo. Verdugo, 40-year-old chairman of the Miami-Dade Christian Coalition, is currently awaiting trial. Florida Department of Law Enforcement officers arrested him at 6:00 a.m. on August 16. They charged Verdugo with one felony count of false swearing in connection with the petition drive that put the repeal referendum on the ballot. (Three other Take Back family members were also arrested on charges related to petition fraud.) Verdugo faces up to three years in jail if convicted. In La Poderosa appearances he compared his arrest to the early-morning raid in April 2000 in which federal agents removed Elian Gonzalez from the arms of a Broward housecleaner who had hidden the boy in a Little Havana closet. He has choice words for his homosexualist enemies at SAVE Dade/Say No to Discrimination. "I have homosexuals who signed the petition," he told radio host Farias. "I have homosexuals who are helping [us] in this campaign. Because they know that this group of chums, this little Mafia, this grupito, these extremists who say they represent the homosexual community, what they represent is their wallets and their interests."

5. Rosa Armesto, consiglieri. The arrest of Verdugo and the three others thrust the Underboss's tempestuous yet elegant 38-year-old sister into the public spotlight, and added to her already heavy burden as a DCF employee. She has shouted down almost everyone who has dared debate her, with the possible exception of Phil Donahue. As a guest on Donahue's new MSNBC show, she explained to Phil, Mayor Penelas, and the nation that "all laws are passed when there is a demonstrated need for it [sic]." As evidence that there is no discrimination, she noted that loan applications in Miami-Dade do not ask applicants to indicate whether or not they are homosexual. "Mr. Mayor," she continued, "I am reminded of that commercial: Where's the beef? Where's the discrimination? It is such a hoax that we see all the opposite. Homosexual groups have been courted by the media and have extreme political power."

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Kirk Nielsen
Contact: Kirk Nielsen

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