Cuba edgy after bombings
Man arrested for setting off firecrackers
July 23, 1997
Web posted at: 10:36 p.m. EDT (0236 GMT)
From Correspondent John Zarrella
HAVANA (CNN) -- In the wake of a recent series of
small explosions in tourist hotels, Cuba has been on
edge -- as a German man discovered the hard way this
When the unidentified man allegedly tossed firecrackers out
the window while driving through a tunnel in Havana, Cuban
authorities paid an early morning visit to Guanabo, the small
town outside the city where he was staying. His room was
searched and he was arrested.
Cuban sources tell CNN that they don't believe the
firecracker incident is connected to minor explosions
July 12 at two hotels that cater to international
tourists, which injured three people.
But because those cases are still unsolved, even something as
minor as a blast of firecrackers can cause rumors to spread
Speculation has been that the bombs were planted in an
attempt to scare international tourists away from
Cuba. The Cuban government has blamed exile groups
based in the United States, who oppose the government
of President Fidel Castro.
According to government figures, tourism has surpassed
sugar cane as the top source of income, bringing in
almost $1.5 billion a year. Europeans and Latin
Americans make up the bulk of the visitors.
Cuban officials say the bombings have not affected the
tourist trade. Tourism Minister Eduardo Rodriguez de
la Vega says they have "not had an important
"We have met the expectations for June," he said. "The
airlines that work with us are full. Our capacities
for the summer are full."
But clearly, the Cuban government wants to catch those
responsible before they strike again. If any tourists are
seriously hurt, officials could be hard pressed to maintain
their claim that Cuba is a safe haven for international
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