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Posted April 04, 2005 by publisher in Cuba Human Rights

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Publisher note: Here is another article from the Miami Herald downplaying Posada - http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/breaking_news/11272289.htm . Be sure to send your thoughts to Mr. Chardy.

Elusive Castro foe may be here

A veteran Cuban exile militant linked to a string of violent acts against Fidel Castro and his government is reportedly in South Florida seeking safe haven.

BY ELAINE DE VALLE AND ALFONSO CHARDY

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Luis Posada Carriles, the legendary Cuban exile operative accused of blowing up a Cuban airliner in 1976 and trying to kill Fidel Castro in 2000, is believed to have secretly slipped into South Florida after years of hiding abroad, a federal source said Wednesday.

The source said he understands that Posada, 77, has been in the area for about a week and has made contact with government authorities.

The source said he may be trying to retain a local attorney, but didn’t explain why. One possibility might be to help ensure Posada wouldn’t be extradited to Venezuela, where he escaped from prison in 1985 while facing charges related to the airliner bombing.

The Cuban-born militant, however, does not face any charges in the United States.

Santiago Alvarez, a Miami developer who is a close friend and financial backer of Posada, said he talked to three attorneys on Wednesday in case his friend decides to come forward and seek asylum. Alvarez, however, said he would neither confirm nor deny Posada is in the area.

‘‘I cannot tell you if I have seen him or have not seen him, if he is here or is not here,’’ Alvarez said. “What I can tell you is that I am signing a contract with a lawyer to represent him in case it is true that he is here and that he will present himself to immigration.’‘

Were Posada to emerge publicly in Miami, his presence could pose an embarrassing foreign-relations dilemma for the Bush administration. Amid the U.S. war on global terrorism, Posada’s alleged involvement in hotel bombings and assassination plots could leave the nation open to criticism, especially by Cuba and Venezuela, whose governments are antagonistic toward American policies.

AGREEMENT CITED

In Washington, Venezuelan Ambassador Bernardo Alvarez Herrera stopped short of saying his country would seek the extradition of Posada.

‘‘If the presence of this person on U.S. soil is confirmed, the Venezuelan government has a cooperation agreement [with the United States] regarding judicial matters and there is also an extradition treaty,’’ Alvarez said.

‘‘We have already asked for extradition of this person [from Panama in 2001],’’ he added. ‘‘He is a person who has a judicial proceeding pending in Venezuela,’’ where Posada and others allegedly hatched the plot to bomb a Cubana airliner off the coast of Barbados.

Though virtually any Cuban who reaches U.S. soil would be entitled to stay under current immigration policy, Posada is no ordinary Cuban refugee.

He is a highly controversial figure who was a Bay of Pigs veteran with ties to the CIA dating back to the 1960s. An icon to some in the exile community, Posada has been linked to assassination and sabotage operations against Castro and his government, including a string of bombings against Havana tourist spots in 1997.

A federal official said Posada’s name has been on an immigration watch list for years in case he should try to enter the country through an airport, seaport or border crossing.

But Santiago Alvarez, the longtime friend and benefactor, said that if Posada were here he would likely have sneaked across the border.

‘‘He has family—a son, a daughter and a wife—here [in Miami],’’ Alvarez said. “If he wants to come to immigration, we are ready to represent his case. Whenever he decides what he wants to do, we’ll help him.’‘

Alvarez said Posada, who once was a permanent resident in the United States, gave up that status years ago when he moved to Latin America to pursue anti-Castro operations.

He worked for the Venezuelan secret police for several years. Then, in 1976, he and Miami pediatrician Orlando Bosch were arrested following the midair bombing of a Cubana airliner that killed all 73 people aboard.

Both were acquitted twice at trial, but were not immediately released pending an appeal by prosecutors. Bosch served 11 years behind bars and was released.

ESCAPE FROM PRISON

But in 1985, Posada escaped from prison. He turned up a year later in El Salvador, where he worked for an unauthorized Nicaraguan contra resupply network overseen by then-National Security Council staffer Oliver North.

In 1997, he first admitted and then denied masterminding the bombing attacks on several Havana hotels and restaurants that catered to foreign tourists, who provided needed currency to cash-strapped Cuba.

Three years later, Posada and three Miami exiles were arrested in Panama after Castro, visiting for a heads-of-state summit, alleged at a news conference that they were plotting to kill him. The four claimed they were trying to help a Cuban general defect.

They were cleared of the assassination and explosives charges, but were convicted of endangering the public safety and given sentences of up to eight years in prison.

Last year, then-Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso issued a controversial pardon to the four, prompting Cuba to break off diplomatic relations with Panama. The three Miamians returned home, but Posada remained in Central America.

He was last seen publicly in August in Honduras. The Cuban government formally requested his capture and extradition—to face a firing squad. But Posada managed to disappear again.

The first hint Posada might be in the Miami area came Tuesday night, when Spanish-language television station Channel 41 quoted three unidentified sources as saying he was here and planning “to present himself to North American authorities.’‘

On Wednesday, El Nuevo Herald, also citing unidentified sources, reported Posada was in Miami ‘‘to negotiate his surrender’’ to U.S. authorities.

FBI STATEMENT

Judy Orihuela, spokeswoman for the FBI, said Posada has not contacted the agency. Carlos B. Castillo, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami, said prosecutors also have not heard from Posada.

A Department of Homeland Security official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said only that the agency is “working closely with our law enforcement partners and we’re looking into the matter.’‘

Herald staff writers Nancy San Martin and Jack Dolan contributed to this report.

  1. Follow up post #1 added on April 04, 2005 by jesusp with 246 total posts

    Is Osama Bin Laden Bush’ foe by these standards?


  2. Follow up post #2 added on April 05, 2005 by Dana Garrett with 252 total posts

    But let’ face the facts.  If the Miami Herald had dubbed Posada what he is—a child murdering terrorist—they would have had bombs exploding in their corridors the next day.


  3. Follow up post #3 added on April 08, 2005 by waldo with 264 total posts

    Havana, Apr 6 (Prensa Latina) The cosy relationship between Luis Posada Carriles and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) indicates that the US authorities will yet again welcome him with open arms.
    The Miami Herald recently said the self-proclaimed terrorist may get legal residence as payment for his services in the Army during the war in Vietnam, a paradox considering Washington"s antiterrorist crusade, which should ensure his position at the top of the list of most wanted terrorists.
    As he confessed to the New York Times in 1998: “I went after them all the time. There were many, many dead”. Posada Carriles and his acolytes tried to murder Fidel Castro on his 1971 visit to Chile.
    But he perpetrated the most hideous of his crimes in October 1976 with the first use of a civilian aircraft as a weapon of terrorism - the mid-flight explosion of a Cuban airliner flying the route Caracas-Havana with a stop-over in Barbados. All 73 people on board were killed. Posada was arrested and served nine years in prison in Venezuela for this crime - until he escaped in 1985.

    In his Autobiography The Paths of the Warrior, Posada Carriles confessed that in 1997 he organized several attacks against Cuban tourism with money supplied to him by the Cuban American National Foundation.
    He told the New York Times that the US authorities did not bother to question him. “Neither the CIA nor the FBI bother me, I remain neutral with them, and even help them whenever possible.”
    His terrorist career suffered a setback in November 2000 with his arrest along with Cuban-born Guillermo Novo Sampol, Pedro Remon (killer of Cuban Ambassador to the UN in New York on September 11 1980) and Gaspar Jimenez Escobedo. They were caught during an attempt to murder President Fidel Castro during the 10th Ibero-American Summit.
    After serving two years in prison and a lengthy legal battle, they were pardoned by the outgoing Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso, following “arrangements” with Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell.
    Upon their release, Miami immediately rolled out the red carpet for Novo Sampol, Remon and Jimenez Escobedo, while Posada Carriles waited for the dust to settle before applying for legal residence, hoping his US employers will be as accommodating as usual. It seems this major spoke will fit seamlessly back into the wheel of Miami terrorism spinning on the real axis of evil.


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