SWEETWATER (CBSMiami) – A man who had perched himself atop of a crane on the same day that President Trump was visiting F.I.U. was taken into police custody Monday morning.
CBS4 has learned that the protestor, 62-year-old Diego Tintorero, was calling for the release of an anti-Castro Cuban exile who had been imprisoned more than 34 years ago after being tied to a murder and terrorist bombings.
CBS4’s Peter D’Oench was given exclusive access inside a Miami radio station that Tintorero called while up on the crane and also received a recording of his voice.
In one recording, he tells an announcer at 670 AM ‘La Poderosa,’ that “I am here protesting. I’m here on a crane in front of Florida International University waiting for the President to arrive.”
Then he asks, “What time does he get here?”
When he is told “at midday,” Tintorero responds, “I’m asking for the President’s mercy.”
Then he rambles for a while about some other families in Cuba and says, “I want to see if we can stop this tragedy.”
The President of 670 AM, Jorge A. Rodriguez, told D’Oench, “He called about Eduardo Arocena. He wants him to be free. He wants to talk to the President about that. He also sounded nervous. He said I am here. I am real high. I am up in the tower.”
Rodriguez said that call came in about 9:37 a.m. He also said the man made a much shorter call to the station as well.
We learned the man’s banner said, “Cuban exile. Mr. Presidente. Please have mercy for E. Arocena.” CBS4 also received a transcript of what was on that banner.
Eduardo Arocena, who is 75 and will be 76 on February 26th, was sentenced in Manhattan on November 10th, 1984 to life in prison plus 35 years after he was convicted of murder and terrorist bombings as head of the anti-Castro group Omega 7.
His imprisonment has been the subject of a number of petitions as well.
Earlier in the day, the incident caused road closures around FIU after he climbed a huge crane with his message for President Trump.
In video from Chopper 4 at SW 109 Avenue and 8th Street, Tintorero appeared to be strapped to the crane using some type of safety harness. He was wearing a helmet and was seen talking on a cellphone.
Sweetwater police say the incident ended “successfully and safely,” as negotiators were able to talk Tintorero down from the crane.
They are still not sure why he did what he did.
He climbed the crane with a banner which read in part, “Mister President” — just hours before President Trump was scheduled to speak at Florida International University. The rest of the banner was not visible because it twisted in the wind.
It happened above Daniel Echemendia’s neighborhood.
“It might be a little bit extreme but everyone takes their own route,” said Echemendia.
Sweetwater Police took no chances as they called in Miami-Dade police SWAT.
Around 10:30 a.m., about three and a half hours after it began, negotiators were able to talk Tintorero down from the crane. They said he was more than 80 feet above the ground.
They had initially used a bullhorn to reach him.
“We were able to talk him into coming down. Our officers spent some time doing this,” said Sweetwater police officer Jonathan Arche, adding that police don’t know why he climbed the crane. “Our main priority was safety and safety in this process and of everyone involved.”
“It’s extremely dangerous what he did and it could have impacted many things here at this construction site,” said Chief of Sweetwater Police Placido Diaz.
“This could have been very dangerous for the man on the crane as well as all the police and the construction workers.”
Sweetwater police say Tintorero will be medically evaluated and they will take a close look at what was on the banner.
They say they are relieved this ended without anyone being hurt.
“The individual is in custody as a result of our hostage negotiators and also as a result of our partnership with Miami-Dade police and we want to thank them for their efforts,” said Diaz.
Police said Tintorero forced his way into the construction site.
They say he could face a number of charges, including burglary and trespassing.