Fidel Castro: The Media in US Recognize Posada Carriles as a Terrorist
Campaign News | Friday, 13 May 2005
New York Times: Case of Cuban emigre could test the U.S. definition of terrorist
Havana May 13: Cuban President Fidel Castro said the media in the United States and other countries widely recognize Luis Posada Carriles as being a terrorist who is hiding out in the US.
The Cuban leader maintained his denunciation of Posada Carriles during a televised appearance Thursday evening in Havana in which he cited declassified CIA and FBI documents revealing that different US administrations were aware of the terrorist actions carried out against Cuba by Miami-based counterrevolutionary organizations.
Besides Posada and kingpin Orlando Bosch, there are many others who deserve to be put on trial, said Fidel Castro. He added that the world should be made aware of the content of the declassified documents that reveal the complicity of US administrations with terrorist actions against several nations.
Fidel noted that the US-based Cuban American National Foundation received 200 million dollars for their criminal plans in the 12-year period (1981-1992) of the Ronald Reagan and the George H.
Bush administrations. It is public record that these funds were dedicated to paying for terrorist actions.
We have to spread that fact around the globe whenever there is talk about a total war against terrorism, since it uncovers the two faced policy of the US empire, pointed out Fidel Castro.
The declassified documents reveal dozens of criminal actions directed by Orlando Bosch in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and Costa Rica as the head of the Coordination of United Revolutionary Organizations, known by its Spanish acronym CORU. This international terrorist must face justice, said Fidel Castro.
While in Chile after the bloody September 11, 1973 coup, Bosch committed himself to support the Pinochet dictatorship by eliminating people associated with the Allende government who had gone into exile.
Bosch is credited with 14 terrorist actions against Cuban diplomatic missions and personnel as well as other criminal plots coordinated with the Pinochet junta.
Fidel Castro also referred to the murder of a young man named Carlos Muñiz Varela in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Muñiz Varela was killed by Bosch's group CORU, an event which FBI officials said they could not investigate because they did not know of that organization. However, Fidel Castro noted that the declassified documents now reveal that the FBI did have details on the terrorist group called CORU.
The President of the Cuban Parliament, Ricardo Alarcon, said that Muñiz Varela, 26, was a Cuban-born man who had been taken to the United States when he was only 8 years old. He lived in Puerto Rico, where he supported Cuba's cause, the lifting of the US blockade on the island and the independence of Puerto Rico.
Muñiz Varela should be considered a martyr of the Cuban Revolution, said Fidel Castro.
Further citing the CIA and FBI declassified documents, Fidel Castro said that after 11 years in prison in Venezuela, Orlando Bosch was released in 1988 and used an emergency passport to move to Miami, where he was granted a pardon by Bush Sr. and declared himself pledged to use violence to overthrow the Cuban government.
Both Orlando Bosch and Posada Carriles continue today to be pledged to such violence, and if there is any doubt about it, it has been fully revealed by the documents declassified by the National Security Archives of George Washington University, said Fidel Castro.
Several press reports in the US media are currently informing about Posada Carriles and about the FBI and CIA documents, but the Bush administration maintains its total silence on the case.
A press conference will take place early Friday on the issue at the National Press Club in Washington, where several public figures and relatives of victims of terrorism will demand justice.
Cuba to hold huge march in protest at the case of terrorist seeking asylum in the USA
Havana May 11 - Cubans will stage on May 17 a giant march passing by the United States Interests Section headquarters in this capital to demand the US administration to arrest the terrorist of Cuban origin Luis Posada Carriles.
The march -announced Tuesday night by Cuban President Fidel Castro in a televised address to the nation- will take place next Tuesday when Cuba celebrates Farmers Day. Over a million people are expected to join march along Havana?s waterfront drive. They will march by the US Interest Section.
We cannot stand with our arms crossed; we cannot remain silent. We are going to mobilize World opinion, assured the Cuban leader who a month or so ago challenged the US government to come forth and say what it plans to do with the notorious terrorist.
The George W. Bush administration, however, has denied having any knowledge of the presence in US territory of the murky figure, when even Posada Carriles? lawyer made public his client had sneaked into the US and was officially requesting political asylum.
"Let?s see if this gentleman does what is most convenient for him and does what he must", Fidel Castro said referring to the silence and lack of action by Bush on this case.
Among other crimes, Posada Carriles is responsible for blowing up in the sky a Cuban commercial airplane off the coast of Barbados in 1976, killing 73 persons. He's also behind several other bomb attacks on tourist resorts in Havana in 1997 and 1998. In one of the explosions a young Italian tourist, Fabio di Celmo, died.
He was also involved in the assassination of former Chilean foreign minister Orlando Lettelier and was arrested and convicted for attempting to kill President Fidel Castro while in Panama in November in 2000. He was later pardoned by ex president Mireya Moscoso.
The Cuban leader also demanded from the Organization of American States and the Chilean government, whose Interior Minister is the new OAS Secretary, to take a position on this matter.
President Fidel Castro said that the said march would serve to "demand punishment for the murderers" and said one of the march?s purposes was to prevent similar bomb attacks and tortures as those suffered by Iraqis from repeating themselves.
We will demand justice to be served, that US support to terrorism stops. It will be a battle against terrorism, a protest against injustice, a battle for truth, said Fidel Castro, visibly angered while the audience gave him a standing ovation.
The head of state called "infamous" and a "great imprudence" the silence of US authorities regarding Posada Carriles. They don?t even acknowledge being informed", he stressed and insisted the Bush administration is lying about Posada Carriles.
He remembered the United States has encouraged terrorism against Cuba for a long time.
In that context, he recalled the hijacking of civil Cuban planes and the so-called Cuban Adjustment Act, which encourages illegal immigration to US territory, causing "countless deaths" among those who dare to cross the Florida strait in precarious boats and flimsy rafts.
The Cuban leader said the march will serve to show Cuba is also protecting World peace, preventing neofascist theories and incidents as those who brought about the Second World War from spreading.
In a clear reference to Bush, he said Adolf Hitler was the "predecesor and inspirer" of those who hold a greater and more dangerous power.
About the march, he advanced "we will do like the 1st of May, show the world what the revolution is and the force of the revolution."
We will be denouncing them (US government) to the world. Let?s see what they will fabricate next, he asked.
On the International Workers?Day celebration, about one million 300 thousand Cubans flooded the Revolution Square and there they heard Fidel Castro come out once again demanding the US government to take action against Posada Carriles.
New York Times: Documents link Cuban emigre to bomb plot
MIAMI May 10 - Declassified documents made public Tuesday link a Cuban emigre seeking U.S. asylum -- long regarded as a violent opponent of Fidel Castro -- to a plot to bomb a Cuban airliner in 1976 and indicate he was on the CIA's payroll for years.
One FBI document dated Nov. 3, 1976, quotes a confidential informant saying Luis Posada Carriles was among a group that discussed "the bombing of a Cubana Airlines airplane" before an attack at a hotel bar in Caracas, Venezuela.
Posada, a former senior officer of the Venezuelan intelligence service, denies involvement in the bombing, which killed 73 people, including 24 members of Cuba's national fencing team, according to his lawyer, Eduardo Soto.
Soto did not immediately return a call for comment Tuesday.
Other documents say Posada was also a CIA agent in the 1960s and that he was paid about $300 by the CIA while working with an alliance of several groups based in the Dominican Republic that sought Castro's overthrow.
Still another FBI document quoted an unnamed Cuban refugee as saying Posada was paid $5,000 in 1965 by a prominent Cuban exile in Miami to finance an attempt to attach powerful explosive mines to Cuban or Soviet ships in the port of Veracruz, Mexico.
The documents were released by the National Security Archive, a nonprofit organization based at George Washington University that collects government records.
Their release comes as U.S. officials wrestle with the political asylum request from Posada, who is regarded by Cuba, Venezuela and some in the United States as a criminal or terrorist.
In a televised appearance Tuesday, Fidel Castro dedicated more than an hour to listing numerous terrorist actions Cuban officials attribute to Posada or his associates, and suggested Posada might have ties the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
"There are strange things, very strange, mixed up here," Castro said.
On Monday, State Department spokesman Tom Casey had declined to discuss Posada's past, saying only the United States "has no interest in allowing anyone with a criminal background to enter the United States."
"This declassified dossier is a record of Luis Posada's career in violence," said Peter Kornbluh, director of the Archive's Cuba Documentation Project. "In this day and age, the U.S. cannot wage a war on international terrorism on the one hand and allow someone with this kind of record to live here on the other."
Soto said last month that Posada, 77, slipped into the United States via Mexico in mid-March and deserves asylum because of his work with the CIA and long opposition to Castro.
Posada is believed to be in hiding in the Miami area but FBI and immigration officials say they cannot confirm his whereabouts. Venezuela is seeking the extradition of Posada, who escaped from prison there while awaiting a prosecutor's appeal of his second acquittal in the airline bombing.
New York Times: Case of Cuban Exile Could Test the U.S. Definition of Terrorist
Published: May 9, 2005 By Tom Weiner of the New York Times
MIAMI, May 5 - From the United States through Latin America and the Caribbean, Luis Posada Carriles has spent 45 years fighting a violent, losing battle to overthrow Fidel Castro. Now he may have nowhere to hide but here.
Mr. Posada, a Cuban exile, has long been a symbol for the armed anti-Castro movement in the United States. He remains a prime suspect in the bombing of a Cuban commercial airliner that killed 73 people in 1976. He has admitted to plotting attacks that damaged tourist spots in Havana and killed an Italian visitor there in 1997. He was convicted in Panama in a 2000 bomb plot against Mr. Castro. He is no longer welcome in his old Latin America haunts.
Mr. Posada, 77, sneaked back into Florida six weeks ago in an effort to seek political asylum for having served as a cold war soldier on the payroll of the Central Intelligence Agency in the 1960's, his lawyer, Eduardo Soto, said at a news conference last month.
But the government of Venezuela wants to extradite and retry him for the Cuban airline bombing. Mr. Posada was involved "up to his eyeballs" in planning the attack, said Carter Cornick, a retired counterterrorism specialist for the Federal Bureau of Investigation who investigated Mr. Posada's role in that case. A newly declassified 1976 F.B.I. document places Mr. Posada, who had been a senior Venezuelan intelligence officer, at two meetings where the bombing was planned.
As "the author or accomplice of homicide," Venezuela's Supreme Court said Tuesday, "he must be extradited and judged."
The United States government has no plan yet in place for handling the extradition request, according to spokesmen for several agencies. Roger F. Noriega, the top State Department official for Western Hemisphere affairs, said he did not even know whether Mr. Posada was in the country. In fact, Mr. Posada has not been seen in public, and his lawyer did not return repeated telephone calls seeking to confirm his presence.
Mr. Posada's case could create tension between the politics of the global war on terrorism and the ghosts of the cold war on communism. If Mr. Posada has indeed illegally entered the United States, the Bush administration has three choices: granting him asylum; jailing him for illegal entry; or granting Venezuela's request for extradition.
A grant of asylum could invite charges that the Bush administration is compromising its principle that no nation should harbor suspected terrorists. But to turn Mr. Posada away could provoke political wrath in the conservative Cuban-American communities of South Florida, deep sources of support and campaign money for President Bush and his brother Jeb, the state's governor.
To jail Mr. Posada would be a political bonanza for Mr. Castro, who has railed against him in recent speeches, calling him the worst terrorist in the Western Hemisphere.
To allow his extradition would hand a victory to President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, Mr. Castro's closest ally in Latin America and no friend to President Bush.
"As a Cuban, as a freedom fighter myself, I believe he should be granted asylum," said Marcelino Miyares, a veteran of the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion and president of the Christian Democratic Party of Cuba, which is based in Miami. "But it's a no-win situation for the United States government."
Orlando Bosch, the most prominent face of the violent anti-Castro wing in Florida, said in an interview broadcast on Tuesday in Miami that he had spoken by telephone with Mr. Posada, who, "as everybody knows, is here."
Mr. Bosch, a longtime ally of Mr. Posada's, presented a similar problem for the United States in 1989, when the Justice Department moved to deport him despite resistance from Miami's Cuban-Americans.
The Justice Department called Mr. Bosch "a terrorist, unfettered by laws or human decency, threatening and inflicting violence without regard to the identity of his victims," in the words of Joe D. Whitley, then an associate United States attorney general. Mr. Whitley added: "The United States cannot tolerate the inherent inhumanity of terrorism as a way of settling disputes. Appeasement of those who would use force will only breed more terrorists. We must look on terrorism as a universal evil, even if it is directed toward those with whom we have no political sympathy."
The first Bush administration overruled the deportation in 1990; Mr. Bosch remained in Florida. Mr. Whitley, now general counsel for the Department of Homeland Security, declined to comment on the Posada case.
Mr. Posada in 1976, the year the bombing of a Cuban airliner killed 73 people. He is a prime suspect.
Mr. Posada is said to be sick with cancer, facing mortality. Some veterans of the Bay of Pigs say the armed struggle he represents is dying, too.
"I believe that movement is already dead," Mr. Miyares said.
Alfredo Durán, who was captured at the Bay of Pigs and later led a militant anti-Castro group, said that "after 9/11, it has become inexcusable to defend attacks that could kill innocent civilians."
"Everybody's renouncing violence except a small group of ultra-hard-core right-wingers," said Mr. Durán, now a lawyer in Miami advocating peaceful change in Cuba.
Mr. Durán said that Mr. Posada had never renounced violence and that the question for the United States was whether to denounce him despite his service during the cold war.
Mr. Posada served with the C.I.A. from 1961 to 1967, according to declassified United States government records. He was scheduled to land at the Bay of Pigs, the attack on Cuba ordered by the Kennedy administration, but his mission was canceled when the invasion collapsed. He kept in close touch with the agency after leaving it and joining Venezuela's intelligence service, known by its initials as Disip, where he served as a senior officer from 1969 to 1974, according to the declassified records and retired American officials who served in Venezuela.
In 1974, after a change in government, Mr. Posada set up a detective agency in the capital, Caracas, an office through which many anti-Castro Cubans passed, according to F.B.I. records. He retained his links to Disip, a militantly anti-Castro agency in those cold war days.
Then, amid an international wave of violence by the anti-Castro movement, including the attempted bombing of a New York City concert hall, two attacks shook the United States and Cuba.
On Sept. 21, 1976, in the heart of Washington, a car bomb killed a former foreign minister of Chile, Orlando Letelier, and an American aide, Ronni Moffitt; at the time, it was one of the worst acts of foreign terrorism on American soil. Fifteen days later, a Cubana Airlines flight with 73 people on board was blown out of the sky off the coast of Barbados in the worst terrorist attack in Cuban history.
Mr. Cornick, the F.B.I. counterterrorism specialist who worked on the Letelier case, said in an interview that both bombings were planned at a June 1976 meeting in Santo Domingo attended by, among others, Mr. Posada.
"The Cubana bomb went off, the people were killed, and there were tracks leading right back to Disip," said Mr. Cornick, who is now retired.
"The information was so strong that they locked up Posada as a preventative measure - to prevent him from talking or being killed. They knew that he had been involved," said Mr. Cornick, referring to the Venezuelan authorities. "There was no doubt in anyone's mind, including mine, that he was up to his eyeballs" in the Cubana bombing.
A November 1976 F.B.I. report, based on the word of a trusted Cuban-American informer, Ricardo Morales, places Mr. Posada at two meetings where the Cubana bombing was plotted. It quotes the informer directly: "If Posada Carriles talks," it says, "the Venezuelan government will 'go down the tube.' " The document was obtained from government files by the National Security Archive, a private research group in Washington.
Mr. Posada has always denied that he had a role in the bombing. But he was detained by the Venezuelan government for almost nine years in the case - never formally convicted, never fully acquitted. Finally, in 1985, he escaped his minimum-security confines.
He found work in El Salvador as a quartermaster for the contras, the rebels fighting the Nicaraguan government, whose mission was financed by the C.I.A. and Lt. Col. Oliver L. North of the National Security Council. After that covert operation was exposed in 1986, Mr. Posada landed in Guatemala, working as a government intelligence officer. In 1990, he was nearly killed in Guatemala by gunmen who he has said he suspected were sent by Mr. Castro.
After a slow recovery, Mr. Posada, by his own admission, ran a string of operatives on a series of missions to blow up Cuban people and places. Mr. Posada spoke to The New York Times seven years ago, boasting of what was then his latest exploit, a string of bombings at Havana's hottest tourist spots that terrorized the city and killed an Italian visitor.
Then in November 2000, he traveled to Panama, accompanied by Guillermo Novo, whose conviction in the Letelier bombing had been overturned on appeal; Gaspar Jiménez, convicted of trying to kidnap a Cuban diplomat in Mexico in 1977; and Pedro Remón, convicted of the attempted murder of Cuba's ambassador to the United Nations in 1980.
The moment Mr. Castro arrived in Panama for an international conference, he accused Mr. Posada of plotting against his life. Mr. Posada was seized, along with his three colleagues and 33 pounds of the plastic explosive C-4. Despite Mr. Posada's protest that the case was a sting set up by the Cuban spy service, he received an eight-year sentence in April 2004 for endangering public safety.
Eight months ago, in her last week in office, President Mireya Moscoso of Panama pardoned the men. She cited humanitarian grounds. Ms. Moscoso, who has long had a home in Key Biscayne, has strong social ties to Cuban conservatives in South Florida, said Mr. Durán, the Bay of Pigs veteran.
Her successor, Martín Torrijos, criticized the pardon at his inauguration, saying, "For me, there are not two classes of terrorism, one that is condemned and another that is pardoned."
Mr. Posada left Panama City and flew to San Pedro Sula, Honduras, bearing a false American passport, according to President Ricardo Maduro, who publicly denounced him.
Mr. Posada left Honduras in a hurry. Mr. Castro said in a recent speech that Mr. Posada then went to the Mexican resort Isla Mujeres and arrived in Florida on a boat owned by a Cuban-American developer in Miami. The Cuban leader offered no proof.
If Mr. Posada wants asylum, "there will come a time when he will have to come out of the dark," Mr. Durán said. "At that point, he could be arrested for illegal entry." But in the present political climate, "the only place he's safe is here - even if he's in jail."
Cuban official demands action on Posada
Cuban Parliament President Ricardo Alarcon speaks out about the accused terrorist Luis Posada Carilles seeking asylum in the U.S.
HAVANA April 29: Luis Posada Carilles is a household name in Cuba. Havana authorities identify him as “Latin America’s Osama bin Laden,” blaming him for dozens of terrorist acts aimed at toppling the government of Fidel Castro.
His supporters in Miami, undeniably fewer in today’s post-9/11 world than when he first began his fight, prefer the term “militant.”
Now his attorney is seeking asylum for Posada in the United States. NBC News producer Mary Murray spoke with Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada, President of Cuba's National Assembly, for his views on this case.
Are you surprised that Luis Posada Carilles has surfaced in Miami?
Absolutely not. In an interview with the New York Times [in 1997] he was asked specifically whether or not he enters the U.S. And he laughed, saying that he has many times and in many different ways. His family has been living in Miami for quite some time.
Not everyone in Miami was happy to hear that Posada surfaced in their city. In fact, some Cuban Americans oppose his political asylum request. This seems to represent a change in Cuban-American public opinion where at one time anyone who stood against your government was welcomed as a hero. What accounts for that change?
Everybody in the U.S. has strong feelings about terrorists. Ordinary Americans are outraged that he’s there and nothing is happening.
This is a very serious problem for the U.S. government. The U.S. has spent hundreds of millions of dollars protecting its borders, fighting illegal immigration, hunting undocumented people across the country.
At the same time that a well-known terrorist announced his specific whereabouts - in Miami Dade County - and his lawyer informed the media that his client applied for political asylum, there are more than 34,000 undocumented people requesting political refugee status.
Posada Carilles is one of them. The only difference is that 34,000 thousand were taken into custody and are now in jail while Posada Carilles is at-large.
The U.S. is under a clear obligation to find this man, take him into custody and expel him to another country.
After 9/11, the U.N. Security Council, at the request of the U.S. government, adopted Resolution 1373 on Sept. 28, 2001 that makes it mandatory for every government in the world to oppose any form of cooperation with all terrorists - no matter what they did or where. No protection. No refuge. Nothing.
The Security Council established a permanent committee to follow-up on the implementation of that resolution.
Imagine if someone asked the Committee about Posada Carilles? A fugitive of Venezuelan justice. An admitted terrorist. How can he be in the U.S. and nothing happens to him? It is extremely embarrassing for the U.S. to be forced to recognize that a person linked with terrorism is on U.S. soil.
Does Cuba want him returned to the island?
No. We are not asking for his extradition, although we have that right because he’s committed many crimes against us. But, we’ve officially said we don’t want him here.
Twenty years ago Venezuela declared him a fugitive from justice - long before President Chavez came to power. The U.S. has a clear obligation to find Posada, detain him and send him back to Venezuela to answer those charges
But, wouldn’t you like to see Posada go on trial here in Cuba?
We don’t want to give people any excuse not to bring him to justice.
We made that decision a long time ago. He was being tried in Venezuela as the result of an international agreement between Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Cuba and Venezuela. I participated in drafting that agreement.
At the time I was Cuba’s ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago. We met in Port of Spain to analyze where to try those people. It was a Cuban airplane but the victims were not only Cubans, but also Guyanese and from other nations. The incident took place near Barbados, and the assassins were two Venezuelans arrested in Trinidad and Tobago and imprisoned in Trinidad.
We agreed that the trial should be held in Venezuela for a number of reasons. First, Venezuela does not have the death penalty while the rest of the countries do. They were mostly Venezuelans or residents of Venezuela like Posada Carilles and a man named Orlando Bosch who now resides in Miami. The action was clearly planned in Caracas.
His lawyer says that extraditing him to Venezuela would be tantamount to his client receiving a death sentence.
It is completely false that he could be executed. As I said, Venezuela does not have the death sentence. If he were finally found guilty, he would serve time.
You mentioned that your government delivered a formal appeal to the U.S. State Department.
Two actually. We delivered a diplomatic note here in Havana to the U.S. Interests Section and another one in Washington to the State Department.
What are you asking for?
First to tell the truth. Recognize the facts. Acknowledge that Posada Carilles is in the U.S. He has friends in the U.S. paying his lawyer and appearing on TV describing how he made it to the U.S. How can the U.S. government continue to claim that it has no evidence that Posada is there?
Second, since the 1970s we’ve asked for cooperation in the investigation of the terrorist bombing of our airplane. For decades, the U.S. government has refused.
When Posada’s associate, Orlando Bosch, entered the U.S. in the late eighties, the Attorney General determined that he was inadmissible due to his terrorist actions. In the Attorney General’s document, he said that law enforcement agencies possessed secret evidence regarding the attack on the airplane.
This means that the U.S. has evidence of that crime but they never shared it with anyone. At the time the bombing took place, it was a moral obligation. Now, it is a legal obligation according to Security Council Resolution 1373.
What has been the response from the U.S. government?
Silence. They continue to say they have no evidence he is in the U.S.