Cuba Politics

Shame on The Miami Herald - opinion

Posted April 04, 2005 by publisher in Cuba Politics.

Publisher note: Here is the article as found at, the web site of the Miami Herald. Notice anything wrong with the introduction line “WAR ON CASTRO” and with the title “Activist emerged from shadows”?

In my opinion “WAR ON CUBA” should read war on Cuba. If someone bombed tourists spots in the United States should the introduction line be “WAR ON BUSH”?

Also, the title “Activist emerged from shadows”. Really? This is the title using the word “activist”? I think everyone will agree that “TERRORIST” would be the best term to use.

Shame on the Miami Herald and shame on Nancy San Martin. I have sent her an email with a link to this page. Feel free to send her your comments as well.

End Publisher note.


Activist emerged from shadows

A half a dozen terror bombings in Havana returned longtime anti-Castro activist Luís Posada Carriles to the limelight in 1997.


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Luís Posada Carriles was just a name on a list of aged anti-Castro militants until a Salvadoran man confessed in 1997 to the first terror bombings inside Cuba in decades.

Posada, then about 69, made front pages around the world when he admitted to masterminding the blasts and hinted the plot had been financed by Jorge Mas Canosa, the late founder of the Miami-based Cuban American National Foundation.

He later denied the Mas Canosa connection—claiming he had lied to throw the blame to a dead person—and any role in the bombings of Havana tourist spots that killed an Italian-Canadian tourist and wounded a dozen other persons.

The blasts—the first since the mid 1960s that Cubans could remember—were apparently designed to hurt Cuba’s tourism industry, but sparked widespread rumors that they were the work of an anti-Castro faction within the communist island’s security services.

Raúl Ernesto Cruz Leon, the then 27-year-old who set off many of the bombs, was captured in 1997, tried in 1999 and sentenced to death by firing squad, although the government has now held off his execution for more than six years.

Another Salvadoran tied to the bombings, Otto Rene Rodríguez Llerena, also was condemned to death, and three Guatemalans arrested in a separate bombing plot received lengthy prison sentences.

Posada, nicknamed Bambi despite his fearsome history as a Bay of Pigs veteran, CIA explosives expert and Venezuelan political police commissioner, had been hiding in El Salvador since his escape from a Venezuelan prison while awaiting a retrial for the 1976 midair bombing of a Cuban jetliner that killed 73.

In his trial in 1999, Cruz Leon confessed to a half-dozen bombings but portrayed himself as a foolish youth who was deeply in debt when a Salvadoran friend, Francisco Chávez Abarca, offered him $14,400 to travel to Havana and carry out the string of bombings.

‘‘I am not innocent, but I am sorry,’’ he said.

Cruz testified that he had never met Posada. But Police Capt. Francisco Estrada testified that a Salvadoran travel agent had identified the man who picked up Cruz’s airplane tickets to Cuba as a tall, older white male who mumbled when he spoke—a description that perfectly fit Posada, whose jaw was shattered in an assassination attempt years earlier.

The Miami Herald first reported the Havana bombings—the government there tried to keep the blasts under wraps—and first linked them to Posada, reporting that the money had come from a small group of unidentified U.S.-based Cuban exiles.

Underlining the importance of the case, Cuba’s Foreign Ministry invited all foreign diplomats in Havana to attend Cruz Leon’s trial and issued visas to scores of U.S., Salvadoran and Guatemalan journalists to report on the unusually detailed and public proceedings that included presentations by forensic experts using computers, videos and laser pointers.

The trial was held in La Cabaña, a notorious 18th-century fortress overlooking the Havana harbor.

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