While the Bush administration has moved the case of anti-Castro terrorist Luis Posada Carriles into low gear, his case continues to attract attention both here and abroad.
Posada, 77, is accused of multiple acts of terrorism spanning several decades, including the bombing of a Cuban airliner in 1976 that killed 73 people.
Last month Posada’s lawyer persuaded an immigration judge to delay bail hearings related to his client’s alleged violation of immigration laws, but didn’t succeed in his effort to move the hearings from El Paso, Texas, to Miami. The El Paso court will hear Posada’s plea for political asylum on Aug. 29.
The Venezuelan National Assembly called for Posada’s extradition May 5 to stand trial on terrorism charges. On June 10, that country’s foreign ministry provided the U.S. government with 700 pages of supporting documents. Four days later, a delegation of Venezuelan legislators journeyed to the U.S. to deliver the Assembly resolution. A petition calling for extradition has gained hundreds of thousands of signatures in Venezuela.
On June 13, in 12 cities across the U.S., participants in a “National Day of Action” also called for Posada’s extradition. His continued stay on U.S. soil is looming as a major source of embarrassment for the U.S. government.
René González Schwerert, one of the “Cuban Five” jailed in the United States for trying to stop anti-Cuba terrorism emanating from Miami, said June 24 that Posada’s mere existence testifies to the crucial role the Cuban Five were playing. His interview with Rafael Rodriguez Cruz, a member of the board of directors of the Rosenberg Foundation, appeared at www.rebelion.org.
“The United States has already lost this battle with Cuba,” González said. “[Posada] is an example of the impunity with which terrorists operate within the United States.” He added, “The presence of Luis Posada in this country provides confirmation that our own work, that of the five prisoners, was indispensable for the security of Cuba, and for North Americans too.”
Declassified FBI, CIA, and State Department files released May 10 and June 9 by the National Security Archives at George Washington University highlight some crucial facts about Posada’s activity. In the 1960s and 1970s, he was a full-time terrorist. He shared major responsibility for the 1976 Cuban airliner bombing. The U.S. government at all times supported and protected him.
A week after the airliner bombing, Posada was in a Venezuelan jail. The CIA chief in Caracas sent a cable Oct. 14, 1976, reporting on U.S. Embassy officials’ disappointment that the Venezuelan president had not yet responded to their request for Posada’s release. Presumably they planned to transfer him to safety in the United States. The U.S. ambassador is quoted as saying, “I have still not received official confirmation about the [Venezuelan] President’s decision.”
Other information contained in the released documents includes these items:
• CIA agent Posada carried out sabotage, bombings and assassinations in the 1960s and 1970s. He trained others in these activities.
• Under CIA sponsorship, he was second in command of the Venezuelan intelligence service.
• The CIA and Venezuelan intelligence together planned the Cuban airliner bombing. Posada and other CIA personnel attended meetings held in the Dominican Republic where the airliner bombing and the 1976 murder of ex-Chilean diplomat Orlando Letelier were planned.
• In Caracas, Posada was heard publicly boasting about the upcoming airliner assault.
• The day after the airplane went down, an informant is quoted: “The source is aware that Posada and Bosch had orchestrated, had directed the bombing of the airplane.” He was referring to Orlando Bosch, a convicted anti-Cuba terrorist.
• At Posada’s request, the U.S. Embassy issued a visa to one of the airplane bombers for entry into the United States the week of the bombing. He was Posada’s employee at a fake detective agency.
• Another bomber – and Posada employee – was found with a Caracas CIA telephone number in his possession when he was apprehended in Trinidad.