Twilight of the assassins:The inside story of the Cubana bombing

Campaign News | Wednesday, 18 October 2006

Bombing of Cuban Jetliner 30 Years Later



The inside story of the Cubana bombing--the first act of airline terrorism in the Western Hemisphere, by Ann Louise Bardach

Thirty years ago, seventy-three people died in the bombing of a Cuban passenger plane.

Now, one alleged mastermind lives freely in Miami, while another awaits trial on other charges in Texas.

With Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez insisting the CIA was behind the bombing, why won't the Bush administration at last resolve enduring suspicions?

***Among Bardach's revelations about the bombing:

-- Fidel Castro's decision not to eliminate Posada -- to keep him alive for propaganda purposes

-- Details of infighting between Henry Kissinger's State Department and George Bush's CIA

-- The destruction of vital evidence in the Miami FBI bureau that severely hobbles the investigation of Luis Posada

-- The story of JMWave, the CIA's Miami station that went rogue and defined the phenomenon of "blowback"

-- Exclusive interviews with Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada, as well as with the highest-ranking FBI investigators on the case, and CIA decision makers

-- The behind-the-scenes story of the Justice Department's pursuit and subpoena of the New York Times and Ann Louise Bardach in its effort to prosecute Posada

-- An apparent confession from Orlando Bosch, and the revelation that family and friends consider him mentally ill.

***ALSO: On The Atlantic's Web site (

-- The release of original letters from Luis Posada to the author:

-- "Life with Luis Posada," a revealing Q&A with the author:

-- Spanish text:

Washington Post: Posada warned CIA of plane bomb plot

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- An anti-Castro militant now in a Texas jail warned the CIA months before the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner that fellow exiles were planning such an attack, according to a newly released U.S. government document.

The document shows that Luis Posada Carriles _ who had worked for the CIA but was cut off by the agency earlier that year _ was secretly telling the CIA that his fellow far-right Cuban exiles opposed to Fidel Castro's communist government were plotting to bring down a commercial jet.

The document does not say what the CIA did with Posada's tip. A CIA spokesman said he had no comment on Monday, a federal holiday.

The CIA had extensive contacts with anti-Castro militants and trained some of them, but has denied involvement in the bombing.

The documents were posted online Thursday by the National Security Archive, an independent research institute at George Washington University that seeks to declassify government files through the Freedom of Information Act.

The Cubana Airlines plane, on a flight from Venezuela to Cuba, blew up shortly after taking off from a stopover in Barbados on Oct. 6, 1976, killing all 73 aboard, including Cuba's Olympic fencing team.

The bombing remains an open wound in Cuba. Weeping relatives of the victims met in a Havana cemetery on Friday, the 30th anniversary of the bombing. They demanded that Posada _ who is now 78 and in a Texas detention center on an immigration violation _ be put on trial.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is seeking the extradition of Posada, a naturalized Venezuelan who served as the country's counterintelligence chief. He accuses the U.S. government of protecting a terrorist.

The National Security Archive's Peter Kornbluh urged the U.S. government to tell everything it knows about Posada.

"Now is the time for the government to come clean on Posada's covert past and his involvement in international terrorism," Kornbluh said. "His victims, the public, and the courts have a right to know."

Separating deception from truth in the intelligence world is notoriously difficult, and the newly released documents contain mixed messages about Posada. Much remains murky.

In a report dated a month after the bombing, then FBI Director Clarence Kelly told Secretary of State Henry Kissinger that a confidential FBI source ascertained the bombing had been planned in Caracas by Posada, Venezuelan intelligence agency official Ricardo Morales Navarrete and Cuban exile Frank Castro, who is not related to the Cuban leader.

Two Venezuelan employees of Posada's private security agency were arrested in Trinidad the day after the bombing, and one of them _ who said he had worked for the CIA _ admitted the two had planted the bomb, documents posted by the National Security Archive show.

Posada trained with the CIA for the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion and served in the U.S. Army in the early 1960s. In 1965, he allegedly plotted to overthrow the Guatemalan government and blow up a Soviet or Cuban freighter in Mexico, according to the FBI. In 1967, he moved to Venezuela, eventually leading its counterintelligence agency, and was running his own security firm in the mid-1970s.

In 1973, Posada was investigated by the CIA for allegedly smuggling cocaine, but was cleared after he convinced interrogators he was "guilty of only having the wrong kind of friends," a declassified document says. The same document says the CIA "formally terminated" its relationship with him on Feb. 13, 1976.

Yet Posada still contacted the agency.

"After 2/76 contacts with (deleted by censors) were at Posada's own initiative to volunteer information in exchange for assistance U.S. visa for self and family," said the document, an annotated list of still-secret records on Posada's CIA career that was marked "sanitized."

It tells how Posada contacted the CIA in February 1976 to describe an assassination plot by Orlando Bosch and Frank Castro, two fellow right-wing Cuban exiles, against leftist Andres Pascal Allende, the nephew of slain Chilean President Salvador Allende. Posada worried that his allies would discover he was giving up their secrets.

"Posada concerned that Bosch will blame Posada for leak of plans," the report says. Andres Allende was not assassinated, and it is unclear whether the Cuban exiles ever made an attempt on his life.

Then, four months later, Posada came back to tell of a sinister plot to blow up an airliner.

On June 22, 1976, "Posada again contacts (deleted by censor) reptd info concerning possible exile plans to blow up Cubana Airliner leaving Panama and requested visa assistacne," read the document, filled with typographical errors.

Shortly after, a bomb aboard a Cubana Airlines plane leaving Panama failed to detonate, and the following month, a bomb in a suitcase exploded before being loaded onto a Cubana plane leaving Jamaica, according to a confidential State Department memo previously posted by the National Security Archive.

The day after the Cubana Airlines flight was bombed near Barbados, the CIA tried unsuccessfully to contact Posada, according to the annotated list. Five days later, Posada was arrested in Venezuela. He denied involvement in the bombing and escaped from prison in 1985 before a civilian trial was completed.

Allegations that he masterminded mass murder did not keep U.S. covert operatives from hiring Posada again. Within months, he was delivering weapons to Nicaraguan Contra rebels in an illegal Reagan administration operation. Posada also acknowledged, and then denied, a role in Havana hotel bombings in 1997 that killed a tourist.

And in 2000, Posada was arrested for allegedly plotting to assassinate Castro during a summit in Panama. He was pardoned in 2004 by then Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso.

Posada was detained in Florida in May 2005 for entering the United States illegally. A U.S. immigration judge has ruled that he cannot be sent to Cuba or Venezuela, citing fears that he would be tortured.


On the Net:

National Security Archive:

New York Tımes: Castro Foe With C.I.A. Ties Puts U.S. in an Awkward Spot

EL PASO, Oct. 6 - Thirty years ago, long before liquids and gels were restricted on airliners, a tube of Colgate toothpaste may have brought a plane down from the sky.

Cubana Airlines Flight 455 crashed off the coast of Barbados on Oct. 6, 1976, killing all 73 people aboard. Plastic explosives stuffed into a toothpaste tube ignited the plane, according to recently declassified police records.

Implicated in the attack, but never convicted, was Luis Posada Carriles, a Cuban exile who has long sought to topple the government of Fidel Castro.

Today, Mr. Posada, 78, is in a detention center in El Paso, held on an immigration violation while the government tries to figure out what to do with him. His case presents a quandary for the Bush administration, at least in part because Mr. Posada is a former C.I.A. operative and United States Army officer who directed his wrath at a government that Washington has long opposed.

Despite insistent calls from Cuba and Venezuela for his extradition, the administration has refused to send him to either country for trial.

Intensifying the problem is that Mr. Posada, who was arrested last year in Miami after sneaking into the country, may soon go free because the United States has been reluctant to press the terrorism charges that could keep him in jail.

That prospect has brought a hail of criticism of the Bush administration for holding a double standard when it comes to those who commit terrorist acts.

“The fight against terrorism cannot be fought à la carte,” said José Pertierra, a Washington lawyer who is representing the government of Venezuela in its effort to extradite Mr. Posada. “A terrorist is a terrorist.”

The Bush administration has stopped short of prosecuting him as a terrorist, however, even though the Justice Department called him as much this week. In papers filed in federal court in El Paso on Thursday, it described him as “an unrepentant criminal and admitted mastermind of terrorist plots and attacks on tourist sites.”

Instead, Mr. Posada faces immigration charges, as the Bush administration tries its best to deport him somewhere else, where he would walk free.

Few countries seem willing to take him. So far, Canada, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Panama have all turned down American requests to take Mr. Posada, who denies that he bombed the plane but who is linked to the case in declassified C.I.A. and F.B.I. files.

“Who would want him?” asked one lawyer close to the case, who spoke on the condition that he not be identified because of the delicacy of the litigation. “Wherever he goes there will be intelligence agents from a variety of nations following him, not to mention hit squads.”

Two countries do want Mr. Posada: Venezuela, where he is wanted for blowing up the plane, and Cuba, where he is viewed as an enemy of the state who has repeatedly tried to assassinate Mr. Castro.

An immigration judge has ruled that Mr. Posada may be subject to torture in those two countries. But because no other country has stepped forward, and because he has not been officially deemed a terrorist by the American government, a federal judge recommended last month - coincidentally on Sept. 11 - that Mr. Posada be released.

The Bush administration is now invoking a law that bars the release of an illegal immigrant who poses adverse foreign policy consequences for the United States. That tack has placed it in the awkward position of, in effect, having to call Mr. Posada a terrorist even as it refuses to charge him as one.

Mr. Posada has longstanding links to American intelligence agencies, and his colorful past helps to explain why this is not a garden variety terrorism case. One immigration judge involved in the proceedings described them as being “not unlike one of Robert Ludlum’s espionage thrillers.”

A former sugar chemist and exterminator in Cuba, Mr. Posada has been working in the shadows to carry out a policy not unlike the one Washington has advocated over the decades - the removal of Mr. Castro.

“How can you call someone a terrorist who allegedly committed acts on your behalf?” asked Felipe D. J. Millan, Mr. Posada’s El Paso-based lawyer. “This would be the equivalent of calling Patrick Henry or Paul Revere or Benjamin Franklin a terrorist.”

Mr. Posada received military training in the United States and worked for the C.I.A. as far back as the failed Bay of Pigs invasion. He played a role in supplying the contras in Nicaragua. He has admitted, but subsequently denied, involvement in a string of bombings of Cuban tourist facilities.

By the time the Cubana Airlines plane exploded, Mr. Posada was no longer in the employ of the C.I.A. But records show that he may have notified his former bosses that a bomb was going to be set off on a plane shortly before it happened.

Venezuela and Cuba staged events on Friday, the 30th anniversary of the airplane bombing, where Mr. Bush was condemned for his government’s failure to turn over Mr. Posada. A billboard posted outside the United States Interest Section in Havana features the image of Mr. Bush, Mr. Posada and Hitler.

Some of the anger directed at the Bush administration’s handling of the case originates closer to home. Roseanne Nenninger Persaud, whose 19-year-old brother, Raymond, was one of the passengers who perished, recently wrote a letter to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales urging him to brand Mr. Posada a terrorist.

“It feels like a double standard,” Ms. Nenninger, who was born in Guyana but has since become an American citizen, said in a telephone interview from New York. “He should be treated like bin Laden. If this were a plane full of Americans, it would have been a different story.”

A majority of the victims were Cubans, including the entire Olympic fencing team, which was returning from a competition in Venezuela. Guyanese and North Koreans made up most of the other passengers.

“Luis Posada Carriles is a terrorist, but he’s our terrorist,” said Peter Kornbluh of the National Security Archive at George Washington University, which has been unearthing documents on Mr. Posada’s case. “The historical baggage that he brought with him when he sneaked into the U.S. has created this dilemma for the Bush administration.”

Getting out of jail has not been a problem for Mr. Posada in the past. In Venezuela, where he was held in the prison bombing, he had associates bribe a guard and he walked out dressed as a priest in 1985. In Panama, where he was implicated in a plot to kill Mr. Castro during a visit there, the departing president pardoned him in 2004.

He appears headed for release again, this time from a nondescript holding center ringed by barbed wire near El Paso’s airport.

Mr. Posada’s cloak-and-dagger past - his aliases, his fake passports, his life on the run through Latin America - is over, insists his Miami-based lawyer, Eduardo R. Soto.

In fact, even before Mr. Castro fell ill and ceded power to his brother, Mr. Posada declared his campaign to topple the Cuban leader by force to be over.

“The Cuban government is in a very deteriorated condition, inexorably reaching its end, and I sincerely believe that nothing would help to go back to the past with sabotage campaigns,” Mr. Posada said.

Mr. Posada’s case has eerie parallels with the case of Orlando Bosch, an associate who has also been accused of playing a role in the bombing. The administration of Mr. Bush’s father released Mr. Bosch from prison in 1990, a step praised by many in Florida’s Cuban community. Now 80, he lives outside Miami.

Mr. Posada is two years younger and in failing health, partly the result of a 1990 assassination attempt against him. His application to become a United States citizen has been rejected by the government, but Mr. Posada, who is a naturalized Venezuelan citizen, is pursuing the matter on appeal.

Mr. Soto says Mr. Posada wants to devote whatever time he has left in life to members of his family who live in South Florida, and to a hobby he picked up years ago in prison - painting.

“Mostly nature scenes,” Mr. Soto said. “He’s seen a lot of those.”

New Documents on Luis Posada posted as US government opposes bid to release him

The US Justice Department filed objections Thursday to a US court's proposal to free an anti-Castro militant accused of bombing a Cuban airliner in 1976, killing 73 people.

The move came as new documents were revealed that further link Posada to the crime (see below).

The U.S. government had until Thursday to respond to Magistrate Norbert Garney's finding last month that Luis Posada Carriles, 79, a naturalized Venezuelan originally from Cuba, must be freed because the United States has not labeled him a terrorist and has not been able to find a friendly country to

take him.

Posada, detained by U.S. immigration since 2005 for illegally crossing the border into Texas from Mexico, has become a political hot potato for the Bush Administration because Cuba and Venezuela have declared Posada a terrorist.

New Documents on Luis Posada Posted

Colgate Toothpaste Disguised Plastic Explosives in 1976 Terrorist Attack

Confessions, Kissinger Reports, and Overview of Posada Career Posted

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 202

Edited by Peter Kornbluh and Yvette White

For more information contact

Peter Kornbluh - 202/994-7116 -

Posted - October 5, 2006

Washington D.C., October 5, 2006 - On the 30th anniversary of the first and only mid-air bombing of a civilian airliner in the Western Hemisphere, the National Security Archive today posted on the Web new investigative records that further implicate Luis Posada Carriles in that crime of international terrorism. Among the documents posted is an annotated list of four volumes of still-secret records on Posada's career with the CIA, his acts of violence, and his suspected involvement in the bombing of Cubana flight 455 on October 6, 1976, which took the lives of all 73 people on board, many of them teenagers.

The National Security Archive, which has sought the declassification of the Posada files through the Freedom of Information Act, today called on the U.S. government to release all intelligence files on Posada. "Now is the time for the government to come clean on Posada's covert past and his involvement in international terrorism," said Peter Kornbluh, who directs the Archive's Cuba Documentation Project. "His victims, the public, and the courts have a right to know."

Posada has been in detention in El Paso, Texas, for illegal entry into the United States, but a magistrate has recommended that he be released this week because the Bush administration has not certified that he is a terrorist.

Among the documents posted today are four sworn affidavits by police officials in Trinidad and Tobago, who were the first to interrogate the two Venezuelans--Hernan Ricardo Lozano and Freddy Lugo--who were arrested for placing the bomb on flight 455. (Their statements were turned over as evidence to a special investigative commission in Barbados after the crime.) Information derived from the interrogations suggested that the first call the bombers placed after the attack was to the office of Luis Posada's security company ICI, which employed Ricardo. Ricardo claimed to have been a CIA agent (but later retracted that claim). He said that he had been paid $16,000 to sabotage the plane and that Lugo was paid $8,000.

The interrogations revealed that a tube of Colgate toothpaste had been used to disguise plastic explosives that were set off with a "pencil-type" detonator on a timer after Ricardo and Lugo got off the plane during a stopover in Barbados. Ricardo "in his own handwriting recorded the steps to be taken before a bomb was placed in an aircraft and how a plastic bomb is detonated," deputy commissioner of police Dennis Elliott Ramdwar testified in his affidavit.

The Archive also released three declassified FBI intelligence reports that were sent to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger after the bombing. The updates, classified "secret" and signed by director Clarence Kelly, focused on the relations between the FBI legal attaché in Caracas, Joseph Leo, Posada, and one of the Venezuelans who placed the bomb on the plane, to whom Leo had provided a visa. One report from Kelly, based on the word of an informant in Venezuela, suggested that Posada had attended meetings in Caracas where the plane bombing was planned. The document also quoted an informant as stating that after the plane went into the ocean one of the bombers placed a call to Orlando Bosch, the leading conspirator in the plot, and stated: "a bus with 73 dogs went off a cliff and all got killed."

Another State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research report to Kissinger, posted again today, noted that the CIA had a source in Venezuela who had overheard Posada saying "we are going to hit a Cuban airplane" and "Orlando has the details" only days before the plane was blown up off the coast of Barbados.

Both Bosch and Posada were arrested and imprisoned in Venezuela after the attack. Posada escaped from prison in September 1985; Bosch was released in 1987 and returned to the United States illegally. Like Posada, he was detained by immigration authorities; over the objections of the Justice Department, which determined he was a threat to public security, the first President Bush's White House issued him an administrative pardon in 1990.

Still-secret intelligence documents cited in the file review released today suggest that the CIA assigned several cryptonyms to Posada when he was working for them, first as an operative and trainer in demolitions and later as an informant based in the Venezuelan secret police service DISIP. In 1965 he was assigned the codename "AMCLEVE-15." In 1972 he "was given a new crypt CIFENCE-4," according to a still-unreleased CIA document, and later referred to as "WKSCARLET-3."

In 30-Year-Old Terror Case, a Test for the U.S.

Decision Due on Cuban Exile Suspected in Airliner Blast

The Washington Post

By Manuel Roig-Franzia

Washington Post Foreign Service

Thursday, October 5, 2006

HAVANA - A quarter-century before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, a bomb ripped a gash in a civilian jetliner in the skies off Barbados.

The Cubana Airlines plane plummeted into the Caribbean Sea just before noon on Oct. 6, 1976. All 73 people on board died, including teenage members of Cuba's national fencing team who were returning to Havana after winning gold and silver medals at a tournament in Venezuela.

The attack marked a new era of fear. It was the first act of midair airline terrorism in the Western Hemisphere.

The 30th anniversary of the bombing is Friday, and it coincides with a critical juncture in the case of Luis Posada Carriles, a main suspect in the bombing who has been held on immigration charges in the United States for the past 16 months.

Posada Carriles's legal odyssey has turned into a diplomatic quandary for the Bush administration and a test of the president's post-Sept. 11 credo that nations that harbor terrorists are guilty of terrorism. While the United States does not want to free a terrorism suspect, it is also reluctant to send him to Cuba or Venezuela, countries that not only remain hostile to the Bush administration but that, according to court testimony of a Posada Carriles ally, also might torture him.

Attorneys for the Justice Department must respond by Thursday to a Texas magistrate's recommendation that Posada Carriles be freed by a federal judge because he has not been officially designated as a terrorist in the United States and cannot be held indefinitely on immigration charges.

"This is the moment of truth for the Bush administration," said Peter Kornbluh, a senior Cuba analyst with the National Security Archive, a nonprofit research library at George Washington University.

The prospect of freeing Posada Carriles, who is also a suspect in a series of 1997 hotel bombings in Havana that left one Italian tourist dead, has outraged Cuban leaders. Havana is papered with Cuban government posters and billboards invoking President Bush's position on harboring terrorists.

"It's as if you were to say to the American people that country X has found Osama bin Laden, who arrived without a passport or a visa, and that he is being held as an illegal immigrant but will not be sent back to the U.S.," Ricardo Alarcón, president of Cuba's general assembly, said in an interview.

Posada Carriles, 78, sneaked into the United States in March 2005. He did little to hide his presence in Miami's exile community and joked about being recognized at doctors' appointments. He wasn't arrested until he gave a newspaper interview and appeared at a news conference in May 2005, moves that seemed to taunt law enforcement officials.

At the time of his arrest, Posada Carriles, who was born in Cienfuegos, Cuba, had spent more than four decades engaged in fruitless schemes to kill Cuban leader Fidel Castro and topple his government. The immigration judge who oversaw Posada Carriles's case said his history "reads like one of Robert Ludlum's espionage thrillers with all the plot twists and turns Ludlum is famous for."

Posada Carriles was trained by the CIA, along with other Cuban exiles, for the botched Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961. He eventually made his way to Venezuela, where he became head of the secret police surveillance division.

Venezuelan officials later accused him of masterminding the Cubana bombing, which claimed the lives of 57 Cubans, as well as passengers from Guyana and North Korea. But he escaped from a Venezuelan prison in 1985 while prosecutors were appealing his acquittal in a military trial.

Since then, he has survived a 1990 assassination attempt, which scarred half his face, and has managed to wriggle out of legal trouble while on the run in Central America. He was arrested in 2000 in Panama for allegedly plotting to set off 30 pounds of explosives during a speech by Castro at the University of Panama, but the charges were dropped.

Posada Carriles's attorney has said that his client, who has a heart condition, no longer plans violence against the Castro government.

"The Cuban government is in a very deteriorated condition, inexorably reaching its end, and I sincerely believe that nothing would help to go back to the past with sabotage campaigns," Posada Carriles said in a statement released by his attorney.

U.S. officials see the aging Castro opponent as a more sinister figure. A field officer at the Department of Homeland Security who follows Posada Carriles's case described him as a "present danger to the community" whose "propensity to engage in terrorist activities poses a national security risk to the United States."

All of which makes the actions of the U.S. government in the case puzzling to critics, who say Posada Carriles should be prosecuted or at least confined to prison. Even some Cuba hard-liners in the United States confide privately that the case has turned into an embarrassment for the United States.

"They're just dancing around," Wayne Smith, a former head of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana and vocal critic of the Bush administration's Cuba policies, said of prosecutors. "They have all kinds of evidence against him."

It's clear that the U.S. government would prefer to make Posada Carriles someone else's problem. According to court documents, the Department of Homeland Security failed to persuade seven countries to take him -- Canada, Mexico, Panama, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Costa Rica.

The magistrate in Posada Carriles's case said that the Justice Department could have legally held him for a longer period if it had officially certified him as a terrorist, but that prosecutors did not do so.

"The problem is that the American government created him, it taught him, and now it's hard for the government to punish him," Camilo Rojo Alvarez, son of a crew member who died in the 1976 attack, said in an interview.

Much of the evidence against Posada Carriles has been drawn from the U.S. government's own files, including declassified FBI and CIA documents. One declassified CIA intelligence report, citing information from informants, said Posada Carriles attended a $1,000-a-person fundraising and planning dinner for anti-Castro activities in September 1976 along with Orlando Bosch, another prime suspect in the Cubana bombing.

Not long afterward, the report stated, Posada Carriles said, "We are going to hit a Cuban airplane. Orlando has the details."

Bosch was once in a position similar to Posada Carriles, and the outcome of his case unnerves Cubans now focused on Posada Carriles. In 1990, the administration of George H.W. Bush released Bosch from prison after he, like Posada Carriles, was caught entering the country illegally. Cuba had been the only country willing to take him and the U.S. refused to send him to the island.

Bosch, an 80-year-old retired physician who now lives in a Miami suburb, has stopped just short of claiming that his and Posada Carriles's group was responsible for the Cubana bombing.

Earlier this year, he told the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia that the Cubana flight was a "legitimate target." And in an Atlantic Monthly interview with "Cuba Confidential" author Ann Louise Bardach that is to be published this week, Bosch said: "We were at war with Castro, and in war, everything is valid."

Declassified documents state that the two men who placed the bomb on the Cubana flight worked for Posada Carriles. After getting off the plane in Barbados, one of the men called his girlfriend, who was also a Posada Carriles employee, and delivered a coded message to report the attack was successful. The message: "The bus was fully loaded with dogs."

FBI probes New Jersey businessmen with links to Posada Carriles

New Facts on Posada Carriles Case Revealed by New York Daily

A criminal investigation into the case of international terrorist Luis Posada Carriles has extended to prominent business people in New Jersey, according to the New York-based La Prensa daily newspaper.

In an extensive article, La Prensa reveals that the FBI is investigating into financial operations by Cuban-American business people in Union City and West New York who could have supported the activities of Posada Carriles.

Posada, along with Orlando Bosh, planned the 1976 bombing of a Cubana airliner in mid-flight which claimed 73 innocent lives off the coasts of Barbados.

The FBI probe is linked to bombings carried out in 1997 against several hotels in Havana, one of which claimed the life of Italian tourist Fabio di Celmo and wounded many other Cubans.

Posada cynically claimed responsibility for such terrorist actions during an interview with the New York Times in July 1998.

That same year the US newspaper, based on another interview with Cuban businessman Antonio Jorge (Tony) Alvarez, revealed possible links between the masterminds behind the bombings and four Cuban-Americans living in Union City who

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