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Posted April 17, 2005 by publisher in Cuba Human Rights

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World Socialist Web Site [url=http://www.wsws.org]http://www.wsws.org[/url]

By Bill Van Auken

“If you harbor terrorists, you are a terrorist,” were the words used by President George W. Bush in justifying the invasion of Afghanistan three-and-a-half years ago and launching the campaign of worldwide militarism known as the global war on terror.

But the Bush administration is itself harboring a notorious terrorist, wanted for the mid-flight bombing of a Cuban civilian airliner as well as other deadly attacks on civilian targets and attempted assassinations.

The terrorist in question is Luis Posada Carriles, a CIA-trained Cuban exile who slipped quietly across the US-Mexican border last month and is now formally applying for political asylum in the United States.

While Posada Carriles entered the country illegally, his presence here has hardly been a secret. His supporters in the extreme right-wing anti-Castroite exile circles in Miami’s Little Havana have launched fund-raising efforts on his behalf, and his lawyer held a press conference Wednesday formally announcing his bid for asylum.

Yet the Bush administration, in the face of demands from the governments of both Cuba and Venezuela for Posada Carriles’s extradition to face charges of international terrorism and murder, has remained totally silent. It has made no move to take the terrorist into custody and is, in every sense of the word, harboring him. Apparently, he has spent the past two weeks negotiating his status with US immigration officials and the Department of Homeland Security.

Cuban President Fidel Castro announced on Monday that his government has demanded the arrest of Posada Carriles and his extradition to face terrorist charges in Cuba. He delivered a stinging speech in Havana, denouncing the Bush administration for “hypocrisy” and comparing Posada Carriles to Osama bin Laden.

The Cuban President spoke before an audience that included survivors and relatives of victims of a series of US-backed terrorist attacks dating back to the early 1960s and including the 1976 airline bombing. Also present was the father of Fabio Di Celmo, the young Italian tourist killed in the wave of bombings of hotels and other tourist areas organized by Posada Carriles in Havana in 1997.

“Listen well, Mr. Bush,” declared Castro. “Here are the victims of the crimes and terrorist acts committed against our people going back dozens of years. It is in their name that I am speaking.”

Posada Carriles is still considered a fugitive from justice in Venezuela, where he escaped from prison after being sentenced to 25 years imprisonment for having organized the 1976 terrorist bombing of a Cuban civilian airliner flying from Bermuda to Venezuela. All 73 people aboard were killed. Stating that Venezuela was stepping up its demands for extradition, Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel told the press, “I hope Mr. Bush will take note of his own anti-terrorism policies and hand over Posada Carriles.”

In the bid for political asylum, the lawyer for the terrorist said he intends to argue that his client faces political persecution if he is returned to Cuba and that he carried out his crimes in collaboration “directly or indirectly” with the US Central Intelligence Agency.

Posada Carriles’s involvement in terrorism spans over four decades. After going into exile to oppose the Cuban Revolution of 1959, he was trained in the use of explosives by the CIA in preparation for the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in 1961. He subsequently underwent military training in the US Army’s officer candidate school.

He was implicated in the 1976 Washington, DC assassination of former Chilean government minister Orlando Letelier, a prominent opponent of the Pinochet dictatorship who died in a car bombing together with his American associate Ronni Moffit. At the time, Venezuelan police found maps and other evidence at Posada Carriles’s home in that country tying him to the terrorist killings.

After his escape from prison in Venezuela in 1985, he made his way to El Salvador, where he played a key role in the illegal operation organized by the Reagan administration to fund and arm the contra terrorists attacking Nicaragua.

In 1998, he admitted to the New York Times that he was responsible for organizing a string of bombings of Cuban hotels, department stores and other civilian targets the previous year, having hired a group of Central American mercenaries to do the dirty work. The bombings killed one person and wounded 11 others.

At the time, Posada Carriles said that his terrorist activities were funded by the Cuban American National Foundation, the powerful exile group that both the Democrats and Republicans have courted and awarded government funding.

Posada Carriles is responsible for several attempts to assassinate Cuba’s Fidel Castro. The most recent was uncovered by Cuban intelligence in Panama in 2000, where he directed a plot to bomb a speech by Castro during the Ibero-American summit.

He was arrested together with three other Cuban exiles. One of his co-conspirators was Guillermo Novo, who was tried, convicted and then released on a technicality in connection with the 1976 Letelier assassination. The other two were implicated in assassinations of Cuban diplomats and others targeted by the anti-Castro terrorist groups.

Despite overwhelming evidence that the four intended to bomb a crowded lecture hall, a crime that would have produced massive casualties, the right-wing government in Panama tried the four only on lesser charges. Then, in August 2004, just days before she left office, Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso pardoned them, in response to US pressure and in return for $4 million from Cuban exile groups in Miami.

In timing that seemed to be more than coincidence, the pardon came on the eve of a major campaign rally for George W. Bush in Miami, where the Republican president refused to condemn the release of the four convicted terrorists.

Posada Carriles’s three co-conspirators all had US citizenship. Allowed back into the US with no questions asked, they were greeted as heroes by the right-wing exile groups. While not a citizen, Posada Carriles was supplied with a false American passport by the US embassy and made his way to Honduras and then El Salvador, where he apparently had powerful protectors.

There is no reason to believe that Posada Carriles would have returned to the US without a signal from top government officials that they intend to protect him and continue supporting the terrorist activities that he has directed over the past four decades.

If it were to adopt policies analogous to those utilized by the Bush administration in its so-called global war on terror, the Cuban government would be entitled to send special forces into Miami to either kidnap or assassinate Posada Carriles, or even launch a military attack on Washington.

That such a scenario seems farfetched only underscores the fraud of the US war on terrorism itself. While using the supposed threat of terrorism as a pretext for carrying out global military aggression and a means of stampeding the American people into accepting war and social reaction, the US government remains the greatest purveyor of state-sponsored terrorism on the face of the earth. That is why a monstrous killer like Posada Carriles feels safe coming in from the cold.

  1. Follow up post #1 added on April 17, 2005 by waldo with 264 total posts

    Posada Carriles sneaky entrance into US territory means another collosal failure in US intelligence with major slaps on the face of homeland security. On the other hand, the White House help and complicity in his entrance would mean that Mr. Bush propagandized global war on terror is full of double standards and B.S. Either way, Posada’ presence in Miami shatteres the credibility of the government of the USA. What a shame!!!
    Why is Mr. Bush, Mrs. Rice and the American press so silent about all of this? If anybody in the world would have access to the truth, it would be them, why don’t they tell us and the world the truth?

  2. Follow up post #2 added on April 17, 2005 by YoungCuban with 409 total posts

    “”“In the bid for political asylum, the lawyer for the terrorist said he intends to argue that his client faces political persecution if he is returned to Cuba and that he carried out his crimes in collaboration “directly or indirectly” with the US Central Intelligence Agency.”“”“

    I think this paragraph says it all!

  3. Follow up post #3 added on April 17, 2005 by waldo with 264 total posts

    He should be sent to Venezuela where he escaped from jail with help from Miami. Caracas has extradition contracts with Washington and has asked for the return of the terrorist.

  4. Follow up post #4 added on April 18, 2005 by Cubana with 282 total posts

    I think I might have given this article more credibility if it had not come from a socialist website! A few factual inaccuracies:

    Posada Carriles was not sentenced to 25 years imprisonment - he escaped from jail in Venezuela as he was still being held even though he had been acquitted twice.

    He retracted his admission that he was involved in the bombings of Havana hotels.

    Panama is a representative democracy with an independent judiciary. Therefore it is not possible for the “right-wing” (i.e. not socialist) Panamanian government to try anyone. Unlike in Cuba where judges are under the control of the government.

    Although I in no way condone any of the acts alleged of Mr Carriles one should remember that the attack on the Moncada barracks was also a terrorist act. What’ that about those without sin casting the first stone?

  5. Follow up post #5 added on April 18, 2005 by yumaguy with 176 total posts

    Whoa, Cubana! No disrespect, but I think you’re mixing up what is usually considered terrorism with crime or rebellious acts. If I remember correctly, there were no civvies killed or intentionally targeted in the Moncada barracks attack. I believe, as far as I know, terrorism is usually defined as an intentional attack on civilians, i.e., civilians are purposely targeted and killed to make a political statement.

    In fact, if I remember my history correct, Castro avoided getting too close with the FEU in the 50’ because they were condoning assasination of political figures as a legit tactic. Fidel thought that those kind of lowball tactics would backfire bigtime. At least back in those years, I can’t speak for now. But let me stop this before people begin to think I’m some kind of crazy, leftist, Castro apologist, lol. . .  grin

    In any case, you do point out many errors in the article. But this guy still seems very shady to me. If this could be brought to the attention of the mainstream media, that alone should be enough to embarrass the U.S. govt. to not be associated with this guy, and send him packing to a 3rd-party country like say Argentina. . .

  6. Follow up post #6 added on April 18, 2005 by Cubana with 282 total posts

    It doesn’t necessarily have to be only civilians that are targeted. If terrorism is defined strictly in terms of attacks on non-military targets, a number of attacks on military installations and soldiers’ residences could not be included as terrorist acts. I am sure those Iraqi soldiers and potential Iraqi soldiers blown up by suicide bombers would define them as terrorists.
    However I see your point. Many people in the late 50’ saw Castro as a freedom fighter. Unfortunately he was no such thing.

  7. Follow up post #7 added on April 18, 2005 by waldo with 264 total posts

    Miami is harboring a terrorist who is asking for assylum. A terrorist is a terrorist, is a terrorist, there are not exceptions,or could there be? The credibility of Mr. Bush, homeland security and the entire government of the USA is at stake in this case. If Posada stays or even more grotesque, if he is pardon, what else could you spect from Washington,its homeland security and its war on terreor?

  8. Follow up post #8 added on April 18, 2005 by GregoryHavana with 196 total posts

    I always find it amusing to come across any debate where you are present. Your visceral hatred for Fidel Castro always seem to cloud any capacity at rational thought that you might have.
    More specifically, I find your comment that Posada Carriles “retracted” his admission of involvment in the hotel bombing as completely inane. Does a simply retractment obviate the issue. I guess Osama Bin Laden could could also clear up things by retracting his admission also, right?
    In regards to Venezuela, Posada Carriles was in prison because his case was being appealed and, as history revealed, the authorities did not want to allow him out in fear that he would flee the country. You make it seem like he was definitively acquitted and was nonetheless being imprisoned.
    Regarding your spurious comparison to the Moncada attack, Robledo revealed the gross errors in your reasoning quite well. Cubana, you are quite amusing, but I long for more intelligent critics of Fidel Castro…that you are not.

  9. Follow up post #9 added on April 18, 2005 by yumaguy with 176 total posts

    LOL! C’mon guys, give the lady a break. grin
    Maybe’ she’ having a bad day. She’ a consistently good contributor. You know, we all get crazy sometimes. . .  wink

  10. Follow up post #10 added on April 18, 2005 by GregoryHavana with 196 total posts

    Robledo….Actually, Cubana is not a lady. In an admission from a previous debate, “Cubana” admitted that he was a British man married to a Cuban in the United States. A constant contributor he is, and well behaved, except for his visceral opposition to the Cuban government and concomitant vitriolic comments. The only problem is that his arguments are often ridiculous and not based on either history or rational analysis. This of course is my subjective point of view. Moreover, diversity is the spice of life and is what makes a website interesting. Could one expect anything else from a debate on Cuba?

  11. Follow up post #11 added on April 18, 2005 by yumaguy with 176 total posts

    LOL! OK, so Cubana’ really a man. I guess when it comes to Cuba debates, anything is possible. . .  grin

  12. Follow up post #12 added on April 19, 2005 by waldo with 264 total posts

    Fidel desenmascarû la “extraña” teoría surgida hace apenas 48 horas de que la presencia de Posada Carriles en Estados Unidos era un invento de la Inteligencia cubana. ¿QuÈ pasû, cûmo llegû Posada Carriles a los Estados Unidos, y quiÈn lo llevû, con bastante seguridad? El Comandante en Jefe explicû el recorrido de Posada Carriles desde su indulto y salida de Panamá junto a los demás terroristas, en la madrugada del 26 de agosto del 2004, hasta su llegada a Miami.
    Dos aviones enviados desde Miami por el terrorista Santiago Álvarez Magriñá, “el urbanista”, despegaron del aeropuerto panameño. Viajaban en Èl Posada Carriles y los tambiÈn terroristas residentes en Estados Unidos, Ernesto Abreu, Orlando González y Miguel Álvarez. Aterrizaron en San Pedro Sula, Honduras, donde los esperaba Rafael Hernández Nodarse, jefe de la estructura terrorista anticubana y traficante de armas, de origen cubano, con residencia en esa ciudad. Con un pasaporte estadounidense falso se moviû por CentroamÈrica, hasta que a mediados de marzo llegaron noticias publicadas en ûrganos de prensa del estado mexicano de Quintana Roo, que informaban que la embarcaciûn de bandera norteamericana tipo camaronera, Santrina, había encallado cerca de Islas Mujeres (MÈxico), durante un extraño recorrido, pues según su capitán JosÈ Pujol, había salido de Bahamas y seguía hacia Miami. Pujol se negû en todo momento a dar informaciûn sobre el motivo de su entrada al puerto.
    Más adelante Fidel preguntû: ¿QuiÈn es el propietario de este barco? Y argumentû: pues el “urbanista”, Santiago Álvarez Fernández Magriñá, el mismo que designû un abogado para representar a Posada Carriles. El Santrina fue comprado bajo la cobertura de una fundaciûn ecolûgica que preside el terrorista de origen cubano radicado en EE.UU. Ernesto Abreu, uno de los que viajû a Panamá a recoger a Posada Carriles, y en la fundaciûn funge como tesorero Santiago Álvarez, el que paga. El capitán de la embarcaciûn es el viejo agente de la CIA JosÈ Pujol, conocido como Pepín, y a bordo de la misma viajaba el propio Santiago Álvarez.  Santiago Álvarez ahí está en Miami y habla todos los días.
    Cûmo puede alguien tomarse la atribuciûn de llevar a un individuo como ese a EE.UU., es un hecho gravísimo, y eso tiene que herir el honor y la sensibilidad de los ciudadanos norteamericanos, aseverû. La prensa norteamericana debiera salir a buscar el barco antes de que lo hundan, alertû.

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