By WILL WEISSERT | Associated Press Writer
Cubans were outraged Thursday at the release of anti-communist militant Luis Posada Carriles from U.S. custody pending a May immigration trial.
Posada, an aging ex-CIA operative considered a terrorist by many in Cuba, faces a May 11 trial on immigration fraud charges in the United States. But Cuba and Venezuela accuse him of much more serious crimes, including the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner that killed 73 people, something Posada denies.
Cuba’s communist government u2;014 including Fidel Castro himself u2;014 had predicted the 79-year-old would eventually be released from jail, and it has repeatedly accused the United States of a double standard on terrorism.
“This is one of the most barbarous things the United States has done,” said Rolando Hernandez, a Havana worker in his 40s. “It has betrayed its people and has betrayed the people of other countries.”
Posada was freed from a New Mexico jail after he posted $250,000 bond and his family posted another $100,000 bond. He was headed Thursday afternoon to Miami, where he was to stay at his wife’s house. He must wear an electronic monitoring device under terms of his release.
Posada, who was born in Cuba and naturalized in Venezuela, is accused of plotting the Cubana Airlines bombing while living in Caracas. He escaped from a Venezuelan prison in 1985 and was detained in Florida in May 2005 for entering the United States illegally.
“The infamy has been consummated,” official station Radio Reloj said, announcing that government television would hold a special program on the release later Thursday.
“Cuba energetically condemns this decision and holds the United States government responsible,” said Dagoberto Rodriguez Barrera, chief of the Cuban Interests Section in Washington.
Cuban media has been filled in recent days with condemnations of Posada’s possible release. In a written message last week, Castro accused the U.S. government of deciding “the liberation of the monster beforehand.”
Castro’s ally, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, demanded that the U.S. extradite Posada to stand trial in Venezuela for the 1976 airliner bombing.
“All of Venezuela lifts its indignant voice over the protection that the imperialist government of the United States continues to give to the father of all terrorists of all time in the American continent u2;014 the murderer Luis Posada Carriles,” Chavez said.