(Original title) Supporters seek money to defend Luis Posada Carriles
Alfonso Chardy | Cuban Colada Blog
One reason several traditional Cuban exile groups organized a tribute dinner to Luis Posada Carriles, the Cuban exile militant, emerged during the Friday night event when one of his closest supporters rose to introduce the guest of honor.
Nelly Rojas, a longtime Posada friend, told the packed banquet hall at the Big Five Club in west Miami-Dade, that supporters will soon be asked to contribute money for the Cuban militant’s legal defense fund.
Rojas said the Luis Posada Carriles Support Group was being “reactivated’’ and that soon it will stage a series of events aimed at raising funds to pay for Posada’s legal expenses.
Rojas said money was needed to cover anticipated “considerable’’ expenses associated with Posada’s pending criminal case stemming from an indictment in El Paso, Texas. The indictment accused him of lying to immigration officials about how he sneaked into the United States in March 2005.
Though a federal judge tossed out the indictment last year, the Justice Department appealed and a federal appeals court has scheduled a hearing in the case in June in New Orleans, Rojas told dinner guests. Separately, a grand jury in New Jersey continues to investigate allegations Posada was implicated in a series of bombings of tourist sites in Cuba in 1997.
“Personally and on behalf of the group, I ask all of you to actively or in whatever way you can join us so we can raise these funds and obtain his definitive freedom,’’ Rojas said, as she introduced Posada to dinner guests.
Posada’s speech was brief, but fiery.
Though he didn’t say anything related to his legal case, Posada predicted a quick end to the government in Cuba and urged God to “sharpen our machetes’’ to hasten the end of the regime.
He started by thanking dinner guests for the tribute.
“These moments for me are undeserved but unforgettable,’’ he said, adding: “I am profoundly moved.’’
Then Posada indirectly alluded to Fidel Castro’s resignation and replacement by younger brother Raul.
“We are at the threshold of history,’’ he said. “We are coming to the end of a terrible stage…The end of our struggle is near…In these times, we must be more firm. We have to have more faith in ourselves and in God above all. God is on our side.
“We must not wait for Fidel Castro to die…for Raul to make mistakes. We must recall the words of [Cuba independence hero] General Antonio Maceo ‘liberty is not something we must beg for. It is conquered with the sharp edge of the machete.’ We ask God to sharpen our machetes because difficult times are arriving.’’
The event was organized by Municipalities of Cuba in Exile and supported by several traditional anti-Castro exile organizations such as Alpha 66 and Vigilia Mambisa.