The U.S. government has charged Posada with 11 counts of perjury and naturalization fraud for lying to an immigration judge about how he entered the United States in 2005 and his role in a series of bombings in Havana in 1997. The trial is taking place in El Paso, Texas, where the defense is now presenting its arguments.
Among the lead witnesses called to testify was Cuban lieutenant colonel Roberto Hernández Caballero. He presented details about these blasts, which killed Italian tourist Fabio Di Celmo and wounded at least a dozen others.
Hernández, who works for the state security division of Cubas Interior Ministry, headed a task force that investigated the bombings in Havana and the beach resort of Varadero between April and October 1997. Cuban medical examiner Ileana Vizcaino Dime also testified.
Posada, who U.S. government prosecutors admit was on the CIA payroll from the early 1960s to 1976, bragged about his involvement in these bombings in an interview with journalist Ann Louise Bardach that appeared in the July 12, 1998, issue of the New York Times.
At the trial the prosecution played portions of Bardachs taped interview with Posada where he discusses his role in preparing the bombings. Under questioning from Posadas attorney on whether his client explicitly admitted to the bombings, Bardach shot back, Yes he did, in a hundred ways he admits to the bombing campaign. He was proud this was a success, minus the death.
Posada has a long record as an organizer of violent attacks and sabotage operations directed against the Cuban Revolution. Ample evidence implicates him as the mastermind behind the October 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner over Barbados that killed all 73 people aboard, including the Cuban Olympic fencing team, many of whom were teenagers. At the time Posada was working as chief of operations for the Venezuelan secret police under the government of President Carlos Andrés Pérez. A Venezuelan military court dismissed charges against him for the crime, but the decision was later overturned. In 1985 he was allowed to escape from prison.
Washington has refused repeated requests by the Cuban and Venezuelan governments to extradite Posada to stand trial for the 1976 airline bombing.
After entering the United States in 2005, Posada was held in an immigration detention center in El Paso until May 2007, when a judge dropped the charge that he was in the country illegally. Since then he has been living in Miami.
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