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Cuban Museum Hit by Terrorist Bombing

June 15, 1990

MIAMI (AP) _ A Cuban art museum targeted by exile hard-liners for showing works by artists considered sympathetic to communist Cuba was ripped by a terrorist bomb Thursday for the second time in two years.

A ″high-order explosive″ blew out the front of the Cuban Museum of Arts and Culture in Little Havana at 1:09 a.m., said FBI spokesman Paul Miller.

″This is a terrorist incident,″ he said.

The museum was closed at the time, and there were no injuries. No arrests have been made, and Miller would not comment on whether the FBI’s anti- terrorism task force in Miami had any suspects.

It was the 17th Cuban-related bombing or attempted bombing laid to terrorists in the area in three years.

The blast damaged artwork inside, scattered debris along the street outside, broke windows in nearby buildings and left a small crater in the sidewalk.

″It did a considerable amount of damage to the front of the building, including structural damage to the roof,″ Miller said.

Damage to the art, pieces by 16 Cuban artists who arrived on the Mariel boatlift in 1980, was estimated at $10,000, Miller said. Preliminary estimates of damage to the building ranged into the tens of thousands.

″There is nothing very controversial that we’re exhibiting now,″ said museum Director Osvaldo Monzon. He said the display ″is something that I’m quite proud of ... the art of artists who came from Mariel and have succeeded greatly.″

In May 1988, a small pipe bomb blew out the front door while art from Cuba was on display. Thursday’s explosion wasn’t caused by a pipe bomb. FBI experts will analyze evidence from the scene to determine what it was, Miller said.

″The FBI and Miami Police Department believe this is the 17th device since May 1987 of a terrorist nature ... attributed to individuals who have targeted individuals, businesses and museums they believe may advocate better relations with Castro’s Cuba,″ he said.

Most of the bombs have been small devices placed outside buildings and homes at night. Before Thursday, the most recent bombing was at an optical store in suburban Hialeah last September.

The bombing in May 1988 occurred during a controversy in the city’s Cuban community over the handling of works by artists considered sympathetic to Cuban President Fidel Castro.

The day after the bombing, 17 of the museum’s directors and five top officials resigned, saying the institution had lost touch with the community and the trauma suffered by Cubans on their island homeland.

Monzon vowed Thursday that the museum would not be intimidated.

″We will continue,″ he said. ″Political pressure and terrorists will not discourage us.″

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