West Miami-Dade

Man arrested after climbing crane near FIU to ask Trump for mercy for Cuban exile bomber

Man attaches U.S. flag and banner to a crane before Trump rally in Sweetwater

A man stands inside a construction crane where he attached a U.S. flag and a banner near Florida International University in Sweetwater, Florida on Feb. 18, 2019. President Donald Trump is scheduled to host a rally at the school in the afternoon.
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A man stands inside a construction crane where he attached a U.S. flag and a banner near Florida International University in Sweetwater, Florida on Feb. 18, 2019. President Donald Trump is scheduled to host a rally at the school in the afternoon.

A man who said he was a Cuban exile climbed a construction crane just north of FIU’s main campus Monday morning and unfurled a U.S. flag and a banner pleading with President Donald Trump to lighten the prison sentence of a Cuban exile bomber.

Diego Tintorero, 62, eventually came down after two hours and was arrested on charges of burglary, trespassing on a construction site, criminal mischief and disorderly conduct. The incident closed streets, FIU’s Red Parking Garage and pedestrian walkways around Southwest 109th Avenue and Southwest Eighth Street until around 10:40 a.m. — about six hours before Trump was to speak at FIU about Venezuela.

Winds twisted Tintorero’s banner, obscuring the message. After it was taken down, WPLG’s Ian Margol got a picture of the banner, which said “Mr. Presidente, Cuban Exile, Please Have Mercy for E. Arocena.”

That’s likely Eduardo Arocena, convicted in 1985 of planting nine bombs around Miami from 1979 to 1983. Arocena was sentenced to 20 years for that and got life in federal prison for ordering the 1980 murder of Cuban diplomat Felix Garcia Rodriguez. As federal Judge Robert J. Ward sentenced Arocena in 1984, he said prosecutors had proved Arocena was the “founder, leader and chief bomb maker” of Omega 7.

Omega 7, often funded by Cuban-American businessmen, engaged in anti-Castro activities, including bombings and assassinations, from 1974-83. The Global Terrorism Database credits Omega 7 with 55 acts.

After two hours and some negotiating in Spanish with Miami-Dade police, Tintorero climbed down around 10:30 a.m.

President Trump spoke about the tumult in Venezuela in a 5 p.m. speech at FIU.

Since 1989, David J. Neal’s domain at the Miami Herald has expanded to include writing about Panthers (NHL and FIU), Dolphins, old school animation, food safety, fraud, naughty lawyers, bad doctors and all manner of breaking news. He drinks coladas whole. He does not work Indianapolis 500 Race Day.


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