The Militant (logo)  

Vol. 75/No. 16      April 25, 2011

U.S. court sets free
anti-Cuba mercenary
(front page)
A CIA-trained counterrevolutionary Cuban who bragged to the New York Times that he directed hotel bombings in Cuba in 1997 was acquitted in federal court in Texas April 8.

Acquitted of what? Not on charges related to the killing of an Italian tourist in Cuba and the wounding of 12 others at those hotels. Instead, the indictment for which Luis Posada Carriles was found not guilty was for lying to U.S. immigration cops about how he entered the United States in 2005 and his role in those murderous assaults.

“His being tried for committing perjury during an immigration process and not for being a terrorist is an outrage against the people of Cuba and the families that were plunged into mourning by the actions committed by Posada,” said a statement by Cuba’s foreign ministry. The verdict is “additional proof of the support and protection that the U.S. authorities have traditionally granted to him.”

Posada also faces charges in Cuba and Venezuela for masterminding the bombing of Cubana Airlines flight 455 after its takeoff from Barbados in 1976. All 73 passengers were killed, including Cuba’s entire Olympic fencing team, a number of whom were in their teens. But Washington rejects extraditing Posada to either country.

U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone allowed the jury to hear only selected and edited portions of the taped 1998 interview with Times journalist Ann Louse Bardach.

Bardach also testified at the trial. “In a hundred ways he admits to the bombing campaign,” she said. “He was proud.”

Bardach authored two articles in July 1998 in which Posada details how he organized the bombings from El Salvador and Guatemala. “We just wanted to make a big scandal so that the tourists don’t come anymore. We don’t want any more foreign investment” in Cuba, he said.

Cuban lieutenant colonel Roberto Hernández Caballero, who works for Cuba’s Interior Ministry and headed the investigation of the bombings, was among the prosecution’s 23 witnesses.

Posada’s long history as an asset in Washington’s counterrevolutionary wars in Latin America began when he joined the U.S.-organized mercenary brigade that invaded Cuba in April 1961 near the Bay of Pigs. He was supposed to be part of a second wave of attackers from Guatemala. But the reinforcements never got off the ground, since the first wave was crushed in fewer than 72 hours by Cuban workers and farmers, who had conquered power through a popular revolution two years earlier.

Posada was later trained by the U.S. Army and CIA in explosives, sabotage, and assassination. He soon became a CIA operative, directly employed by the agency until the mid-1970s. With recommendation from the CIA, he also worked as chief of operations for the Venezuelan secret police from 1967 until at least 1974.

Posada was arrested in Venezuela for the Oct. 6, 1976, bombing of the Cuban airliner. He was acquitted by a military tribunal, but remained in jail awaiting a civilian trial.

In 1985 he bribed his way out of jail and within weeks was working for the U.S. government in its covert operations organizing counterrevolutionary rebels—the “contras”—in Nicaragua, directed by then White House aide Lieut. Col. Oliver North.

In 2000 Posada was arrested in Panama and convicted of trying to detonate a car bomb packed with C-4 explosives in an assassination attempt on then Cuban president Fidel Castro during a Latin American summit. Posada was pardoned and released in 2004 by Panama’s president Mireya Moscoso, a decision later ruled unconstitutional by the country’s supreme court. He entered the United States in March 2005 seeking political asylum and was charged with lying to immigration authorities.

Meanwhile, five Cuban revolutionaries remain imprisoned in the United States since 1998 with sentences ranging from 15 years to double life. The Cuban Five, as they are known, were framed up by the U.S. government on false “conspiracy” charges for monitoring the activities of counterrevolutionary groups in Miami with a history of armed assaults and acts of sabotage against Cuba.
Related articles:
Fighting in Yankee heartland alongside Cuba
As Cuban toilers routed invaders at Bay of Pigs, Washington’s lies unraveled
What 1961 Cuban victory teaches  
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