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Thu Sep 29, 2005

Meeting a family member of the victim of Luis Posada Carriles

A couple weeks ago I was in Perugia, Italy at the 'People's UN' conference, where about 200 people from around the world were invited to discuss the future of the UN, and the obligation of first world countries on meeting development goals of the third world, Iraq and a score of other issues. It was very ambitious, incredibly interesting, and I was very glad to take part.

Arriving in Italy, we had shared our car to the hotel from the airport with 3 men from Syria, Turkey and Bahrain and an older, woman who appeared to be in her 60's from Cuba. Groggy and jet-lagged, we didn't talk too much in the car with everyone.. but we learned the Cuban woman's name: Iraida.

That first night in the hotel in Perugia, we had dinner and invited the Cuban woman to sit with us. Our new friend Sheri at the table spoke spanish, so we were all able to converse a bit through her. We discussed small things, leading up to why we were there at this meeting, what we hoped to take away. Iraida mentioned that her son was a filmmaker, and she was there to be present at a screening of his movie. I mentioned that my brother was killed in 9/11, and part of why we were there in Perugia was to connect with other people who had also lost loved ones in terrorism and war who were invited to the conference. She immediately said 'I am like that, too', and said that her husband was an airline pilot who was killed in 1976 when the plane he was flying was bombed, which along with Iraida's husband 73 others were killed including the Cuban Olympic fencing team by a terrorist. She said that she was grateful that her children, although they did not have a father, had grown up without letting this get them down.

It hit me - the person who planted the bomb that killed her husband and her children's father was Luis Posada Carriles, who had been in the news this year for sneaking into the United States and seeking asylum here. He was apparently here for months and hired a lawyer to plead his case, and even then it took weeks for him to be arrested.

He was trained in the 60's by the CIA as a demolitions expert. Posada was convicted of engineering the Cuban airliner bombing along with Orlando Bosch in Venezuela - and escaped from prision in Venezuela a couple years later and fled to Honduras where he helped US covert operations run by Oliver North in supporting the contras in the 1980's. He is implicated in a car bombing on American soil in the killing of Chilean government minister Orlando Letelier and his associate Ronni Moffit. He is also claimed responsibility for a string of hotel bombings in the 90's in Cuba that killed an Italian tourist (in an interview with a NY Times reporter in 1998), as well as jailed in Panama for plotting an assasination of Fidel Castro by bombing the theater in which he was to be appearing - that bomb would have killed hundreds in the theater audience. This kind of skims the top of it. In 2000, he was pardoned by the current leader of Panama. This year he made his way to Miami.

To right now, a US judge has ruled that he is not going to be extradited to Venezuela, where he escaped prision for the 1976 airliner bombing that killed Iraida's husband - he will not be extradited to Venezuela because he may be tortured. Probably closer to the truth is that it would be a PR nightmare for the US government to hand him over for a trial, with all the associations with our own government coming under scrutiny. The 'torture' angle is utter hypocrisy coming from the United States which now routinely sends terrorism suspects to be 'rendered' (tortured) in other world countries and operates extra-judicial detention camps (Guantanamo is not the only one).

All I can say is that the actions of our government for being involved with this thug throughout his 'career' and the United States inability to own up to the CIA's own breeding of freedom fighters/terrorists (pick one depending on what side you are on - but I wonder what side the dead innocents are on?) and our current reluctance to recognize the soverignity of other countries legitimate concerns about this? And how with no legitimate exercise in bringing people like this to justice, does that legitimize violent acts of terrorism against the United States citizens?

If we want to be against terrorism, then we must be against terrorism across the board.

If this guy is somehow granted asylum in the United States then it's pure hypocrisy. But he probably will not be - because of his past associations with the CIA and FBI, officials who are currently in the Bush administration who were involved in Iran/Contra arms and narco-trafficing in support of the contras, and Bush-loving militant cuban-exiles who support Posada and his actions.

But apparently this kind of cronyism laden wet-kiss pardon to 'good' terrorists is common: fellow engineer of the 1976 airliner bombing Orlando Bosch got a 1992 pardon from George H. Bush. Posada himself got a pardon in 2004 from outgoing Panama president Mireya Moscoso apparently at the urging of right-wing Cubans - and Posada's co-conspirators in the bomb assasination immediately went to Miami.

Posada follows them here now, expecting asylum, too.

I quote from an article in which Iraida's filmmaker son, Juan Carlos Cremata is quoted:
Juan Carlos Cremata, whose father was one of the 73 people killed in the 1976 airliner bombing, bitterly denounced the prospect that a "terrorist can enjoy impunity and receive protection from the US administration," and added that "by harboring Posada [Bush] will lose all credibility."

For the declassified records of Luis Posada Carriles visit the George Washington University's National Security Archive.

References:
US Representative Dennis Kuchinich on Posada - http://www.kucinich.us/floor_speeches/intl_posada18may.php
Why the US will not extradite Posade to Venezuela - http://narcosphere.narconews.com/story/2005/9/1/232838/8666
WA-PO article on the Panama pardon of Posada - http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A36924-2004Aug26.html
OR, just do a google search on him.

Moral Citizen: evil-barry on Sep 29, 05 | 12:17 pm | Profile

Category: political violence
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