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Luis Posada Carriles

Luis Posada Carriles

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Luis Clemente Faustino Posada Carriles (born February 15, 1928) (nicknamed Bambi by some Cuban exile
Cuban exile
The term "Cuban exile" refers to the many Cubans who have sought alternative political or economic conditions outside the island, dating back to the Ten Years' War and the struggle for Cuban independence during the 19th century...

s) is a Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

n-born Venezuela
Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

n anti-communist and former Central Intelligence Agency
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

 agent.

Posada has been convicted in absentia
In absentia
In absentia is Latin for "in the absence". In legal use, it usually means a trial at which the defendant is not physically present. The phrase is not ordinarily a mere observation, but suggests recognition of violation to a defendant's right to be present in court proceedings in a criminal trial.In...

 in Panama, of involvement in various terrorist
Terrorism
Terrorism is the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion. In the international community, however, terrorism has no universally agreed, legally binding, criminal law definition...

 attacks and plots in the Americas
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

, including: involvement in the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner
Cubana Flight 455
Cubana Flight 455 was a Cuban flight from Barbados to Jamaica that was brought down by a terrorist attack on October 6, 1976. All 78 people on board the Douglas DC-8 aircraft were killed in what was then the deadliest terrorist airline attack in the Western hemisphere...

 that killed seventy-three people; admitted involvement in a string of bombings in 1997 targeting fashionable Cuban hotels and nightspots; involvement in the Bay of Pigs invasion
Bay of Pigs Invasion
The Bay of Pigs Invasion was an unsuccessful action by a CIA-trained force of Cuban exiles to invade southern Cuba, with support and encouragement from the US government, in an attempt to overthrow the Cuban government of Fidel Castro. The invasion was launched in April 1961, less than three months...

; and involvement in the Iran-Contra affair
Iran-Contra Affair
The Iran–Contra affair , also referred to as Irangate, Contragate or Iran-Contra-Gate, was a political scandal in the United States that came to light in November 1986. During the Reagan administration, senior Reagan administration officials and President Reagan secretly facilitated the sale of...

. In addition, he was jailed under accusations related to an assassination attempt on Fidel Castro
Fidel Castro
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz is a Cuban revolutionary and politician, having held the position of Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976, and then President from 1976 to 2008. He also served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from the party's foundation in 1961 until 2011...

 in Panama
Panama
Panama , officially the Republic of Panama , is the southernmost country of Central America. Situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America, it is bordered by Costa Rica to the northwest, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The...

 in 2000, although he was later pardoned by Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso
Mireya Moscoso
Mireya Elisa Moscoso Rodríguez de Arias is a Panamanian political figure. She was the President of Panama from 1999 to 2004, representing the Arnulfista Party...

 in the final days of her term. Posada Carriles has always denied involvement in the airline bombing and the alleged plot against Castro in Panama, but has admitted to fighting for "freedom" in Cuba.

In 2005, Posada was held by U.S. authorities
Federal government of the United States
The federal government of the United States is the national government of the constitutional republic of fifty states that is the United States of America. The federal government comprises three distinct branches of government: a legislative, an executive and a judiciary. These branches and...

 in Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

 on the charge of illegal presence on national territory before the charges were dismissed on May 8, 2007. On September 28, 2005 a U.S. immigration judge ruled that Posada cannot be deported, finding that he faces the threat of torture in Venezuela. Likewise, the US government has refused to send Posada to Cuba, saying he might face torture. His release on bail on April 19, 2007 had elicited angry reactions from the Cuban and Venezuelan governments. The U.S. Justice Department
United States Department of Justice
The United States Department of Justice , is the United States federal executive department responsible for the enforcement of the law and administration of justice, equivalent to the justice or interior ministries of other countries.The Department is led by the Attorney General, who is nominated...

 had urged the court to keep him in jail because he was "an admitted mastermind of terrorist plots and attacks", a flight risk and a danger to the community. On September 9, 2008 the United States Court of Appeals
United States court of appeals
The United States courts of appeals are the intermediate appellate courts of the United States federal court system...

 for the Fifth Circuit reversed the District Court's Order dismissing the indictment and remanded the case to the District Court. On April 8, 2009 the United States Attorney
United States Attorney
United States Attorneys represent the United States federal government in United States district court and United States court of appeals. There are 93 U.S. Attorneys stationed throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands...

 filed a superseding indictment in the case. Posada-Carriles' jury trial had been set for February 26, 2010 but it was announced on February 22 that it would be postponed for at least three months. Posada-Carriles' trial ended on April 8, 2011 with a jury acquitting him on all charges.

Although he has never been convicted for his various acts of violence, Peter Kornbluh
Peter Kornbluh
Peter Kornbluh is director of the National Security Archive's Chile Documentation Project and of the Cuba Documentation Project.He played a large role in the campaign to declassify government documents, via the FOIA, relating to the history of the U.S. Government's support for the Pinochet...

 of the National Security Archive
National Security Archive
The National Security Archive is a 501 non-governmental, non-profit research and archival institution located in the George Washington University in Washington, D.C.. Founded in 1985 by Scott Armstrong, it archives and publishes declassified U.S. government files concerning selected topics of US...

 has referred to him as "one of the most dangerous terrorists in recent history" and the "godfather of Cuban exile violence." In Miami however, where Posada currently resides, he is considered "a heroic figure in the hardline anti-Castro exile community."

Early years (1928–1968)


Posada was born in Cienfuegos
Cienfuegos
Cienfuegos is a city on the southern coast of Cuba, capital of Cienfuegos Province. It is located about from Havana, and has a population of 150,000. The city is dubbed La Perla del Sur...

, Cuba. He studied medicine and chemistry at the University of Havana
University of Havana
The University of Havana or UH is a university located in the Vedado district of Havana, Cuba. Founded in 1728, the University of Havana is the oldest university in Cuba, and one of the first to be founded in the Americas...

 and worked as a supervisor for the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company
Firestone Tire and Rubber Company
The Firestone Tire and Rubber Company is an American tire company founded by Harvey Firestone in 1900 to supply pneumatic tires for wagons, buggies, and other forms of wheeled transportation common in the era. Firestone soon saw the huge potential for marketing tires for automobiles. The company...

. As a student he had come in contact with Fidel Castro
Fidel Castro
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz is a Cuban revolutionary and politician, having held the position of Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976, and then President from 1976 to 2008. He also served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from the party's foundation in 1961 until 2011...

, who had become a figure of some significance in the violent student politics of the time. Misgivings about the Cuban revolution
Cuban Revolution
The Cuban Revolution was an armed revolt by Fidel Castro's 26th of July Movement against the regime of Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista between 1953 and 1959. Batista was finally ousted on 1 January 1959, and was replaced by a revolutionary government led by Castro...

 of 1959 led Posada to become an activist in open opposition to the new government. After a spell in military prison Posada sought political asylum in Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

. By 1961 Posada had relocated to the United States where he helped to organize the failed invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs
Bay of Pigs Invasion
The Bay of Pigs Invasion was an unsuccessful action by a CIA-trained force of Cuban exiles to invade southern Cuba, with support and encouragement from the US government, in an attempt to overthrow the Cuban government of Fidel Castro. The invasion was launched in April 1961, less than three months...

.
Though his squadron failed to see action, Posada made a number of contacts and lifelong friends, including future president of the Cuban American National Foundation, Jorge Mas Canosa
Jorge Mas Canosa
Jorge Mass Canosa was a Cuban-American activist best known for his strong opposition to Fidel Castro and his leadership of the Cuban American National Foundation. He was considered by some to be the leading figure in the Cuban exile community in Miami, Florida...

, who was stationed in the same platoon.

After the failed invasion, Posada was trained by CIA in sabotage and explosives at the U.S. Army's Fort Benning
Fort Benning
Fort Benning is a United States Army post located southeast of the city of Columbus in Muscogee and Chattahoochee counties in Georgia and Russell County, Alabama...

 between March 1963 and March 1964. He worked closely with the CIA in Miami and was active in the CIA's Operation 40
Operation 40
Operation 40 was a Central Intelligence Agency-sponsored undercover operation in the early 1960s, which was active in the United States and the Caribbean , Central America, and Mexico. It was created by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in March 1960, after the January 1959 Cuban Revolution, and was...

. He later described his role as that of the agency's "principal agent", informing the organisation about political movements within the exile community and operating anti-Castro activities. In Florida, Posada also trained members of the JURE, Junta Revolucionaria Cubana, a group which aimed to infiltrate Cuba. CIA files indicate that Posada was involved in a 1965 attempt to overthrow the Guatemalan government. The same year, the CIA reported that Posada was involved in various bombing plans in association with Jorge Mas Canosa. In 1968, relations frayed with the CIA when Posada was questioned about his "unreported association with gangster elements". Posada relocated to Venezuela
Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

, taking with him various CIA supplied weapons including grenades and fuses. He became a naturalized
Naturalization
Naturalization is the acquisition of citizenship and nationality by somebody who was not a citizen of that country at the time of birth....

 citizen of that country where he began his association with fellow Cuban exile and accused terrorist Orlando Bosch
Orlando Bosch
Orlando Bosch Ávila was a Cuban exile militant, former Central Intelligence Agency-backed operative, and head of Coordination of United Revolutionary Organizations, which the FBI has described as "an anti-Castro terrorist umbrella organization". Former U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh called...

.

Venezuela (1968–1985)


In Venezuela, Posada became chief of operations of one of the Venezuelan direction of services for intelligence and prevention, the DISIP. The role involved countering various guerrilla movements supported by Cuba, but by 1974 he was dismissed after internal differences with Venezuelan authorities. Prior to his dismissal, the CIA had begun to believe that Posada was involved in cocaine trafficking, but did not break formal ties until February 13, 1976. The agency also believe that Posada was involved in a plot to assassinate Henry Kissinger
Henry Kissinger
Heinz Alfred "Henry" Kissinger is a German-born American academic, political scientist, diplomat, and businessman. He is a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. He served as National Security Advisor and later concurrently as Secretary of State in the administrations of Presidents Richard Nixon and...

, who at that time was advocating a more cooperative approach to Cuba-United States relations
Cuba-United States relations
Cuba and the United States of America have had an interest in one another since well before either of their independence movements. Plans for purchase of Cuba from the Spanish Empire were put forward at various times by United States...

. The Church Committee
Church Committee
The Church Committee is the common term referring to the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, a U.S. Senate committee chaired by Senator Frank Church in 1975. A precursor to the U.S...

 hearings of 1975, which had been triggered by fears that the CIA were running too many rogue operations, had a significant impact on the agency, and Posada's association was seen to be "not in good odour". Posada went on to found a private detective agency in Caracas
Caracas
Caracas , officially Santiago de León de Caracas, is the capital and largest city of Venezuela; natives or residents are known as Caraquenians in English . It is located in the northern part of the country, following the contours of the narrow Caracas Valley on the Venezuelan coastal mountain range...

.

With Orlando Bosch
Orlando Bosch
Orlando Bosch Ávila was a Cuban exile militant, former Central Intelligence Agency-backed operative, and head of Coordination of United Revolutionary Organizations, which the FBI has described as "an anti-Castro terrorist umbrella organization". Former U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh called...

, Guillermo Novo Sampoll, and Gaspar Jiménez Escobedo, he founded the Coordination of United Revolutionary Organizations
Coordination of United Revolutionary Organizations
Coordination of United Revolutionary Organizations is an anti-Castro group founded by Cuban exiles Orlando Bosch, Luis Posada Carriles, Guillermo Novo Sampoll and Gaspar Jiménez Escobedo....

 (CORU). The FBI has described CORU as "an anti-Castro
Fidel Castro
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz is a Cuban revolutionary and politician, having held the position of Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976, and then President from 1976 to 2008. He also served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from the party's foundation in 1961 until 2011...

 terrorist umbrella organization."

Cubana Flight 455, 1976



Cubana Flight 455 was a Cubana de Aviación
Cubana de Aviación
Cubana de Aviación S.A., commonly known as Cubana, is Cuba's largest airline and flag carrier. The airline was founded on 8 October 1929, and has its corporate headquarters in Havana. Its main base is at José Martí International Airport...

 flight departing from Barbados
Barbados
Barbados is an island country in the Lesser Antilles. It is in length and as much as in width, amounting to . It is situated in the western area of the North Atlantic and 100 kilometres east of the Windward Islands and the Caribbean Sea; therein, it is about east of the islands of Saint...

, via Trinidad
Trinidad
Trinidad is the larger and more populous of the two major islands and numerous landforms which make up the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. It is the southernmost island in the Caribbean and lies just off the northeastern coast of Venezuela. With an area of it is also the fifth largest in...

, to Cuba. On October 6, 1976 two timebombs variously described as dynamite
Dynamite
Dynamite is an explosive material based on nitroglycerin, initially using diatomaceous earth , or another absorbent substance such as powdered shells, clay, sawdust, or wood pulp. Dynamites using organic materials such as sawdust are less stable and such use has been generally discontinued...

 or C-4 planted on the Douglas DC-8
Douglas DC-8
The Douglas DC-8 is a four-engined narrow-body passenger commercial jet airliner, manufactured from 1958 to 1972 by the Douglas Aircraft Company...

 aircraft exploded, killing all 78 people on board, including all 24 members of the 1975 national Cuban Fencing team that had just won all the gold medals in the Central American and Caribbean Championship.

Investigators from Cuba, Venezuela and the United States traced the planting of the bombs to two Venezuelan passengers, Freddy Lugo and Hernán Ricardo Lozano. Both men were employed by Posada at his private detective agency based in Venezuela, and they both subsequently admitted to the crime. A week after the men's confessions, Luis Posada and Orlando Bosch
Orlando Bosch
Orlando Bosch Ávila was a Cuban exile militant, former Central Intelligence Agency-backed operative, and head of Coordination of United Revolutionary Organizations, which the FBI has described as "an anti-Castro terrorist umbrella organization". Former U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh called...

 were arrested on charges of masterminding the attack, and were jailed in Venezuela. Declassified FBI and CIA reports show that the agencies suspected his involvement in the airline bombing within days of its occurrence. It was reported that several Miami residents and Bosch met in the Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of La Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries...

 shortly before the bombing and issued a statement declaring their intention of waging a terrorist campaign against Cuba.
A declassified CIA document dated October 13, 1976 quotes Posada – at the time in Caracas
Caracas
Caracas , officially Santiago de León de Caracas, is the capital and largest city of Venezuela; natives or residents are known as Caraquenians in English . It is located in the northern part of the country, following the contours of the narrow Caracas Valley on the Venezuelan coastal mountain range...

 – as saying a few days before Cubana flight 455 exploded: "We are going to hit a Cuban airliner... Orlando has the details".

Posada, who denied involvement in the Cubana 455 bombing, insisted his "only objective was to fight for Cuba's freedom". Posada was found not guilty by a military court; however, this ruling was overturned and he was held for trial in a civilian court. Posada escaped from prison with Freddie Lugo in 1977, turning themselves in to the less-than-sympathetic Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

an authorities. He was immediately extradited
Extradition
Extradition is the official process whereby one nation or state surrenders a suspected or convicted criminal to another nation or state. Between nation states, extradition is regulated by treaties...

, and was held without conviction for eight years before escaping in 1985 while awaiting a prosecutor's appeal of his second acquittal in the bombing. His escape is said to have involved a hefty bribe and his dressing as a priest, as well as the pseudonym "Ramón Medina". According to Posada, the escape was planned and financed by Jorge Mas Canosa
Jorge Mas Canosa
Jorge Mass Canosa was a Cuban-American activist best known for his strong opposition to Fidel Castro and his leadership of the Cuban American National Foundation. He was considered by some to be the leading figure in the Cuban exile community in Miami, Florida...

, by then head of the Cuban American National Foundation, a group with close ties to the Reagan administration
Reagan Administration
The United States presidency of Ronald Reagan, also known as the Reagan administration, was a Republican administration headed by Ronald Reagan from January 20, 1981, to January 20, 1989....

. Mas then helped Posada settle in El Salvador
El Salvador
El Salvador or simply Salvador is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America. The country's capital city and largest city is San Salvador; Santa Ana and San Miguel are also important cultural and commercial centers in the country and in all of Central America...

, where he joined the White House-directed operations in the region.

Contras and Central America (1985–2005)


In Central America
Central America
Central America is the central geographic region of the Americas. It is the southernmost, isthmian portion of the North American continent, which connects with South America on the southeast. When considered part of the unified continental model, it is considered a subcontinent...

, Posada was assigned as deputy to Félix Rodríguez
Félix Rodríguez (Central Intelligence Agency)
Félix Ismael Rodríguez Mendigutia is a former Central Intelligence Agency officer infamous for his involvement in the Bay of Pigs Invasion, in the interrogation and execution of Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara and his ties to George H. W. Bush during the Iran-Contra Affair...

, a CIA operative who had overseen the capture of Ernesto "Che" Guevara in 1967. The pair were to coordinate drops of military supplies to the Contras
Contras
The contras is a label given to the various rebel groups opposing Nicaragua's FSLN Sandinista Junta of National Reconstruction government following the July 1979 overthrow of Anastasio Somoza Debayle's dictatorship...

, a paramilitary militia funded by the Reagan administration opposed leftist Sandinistas in Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics. The Pacific Ocean...

. Posada was paid $3,000 per month plus expenses from U.S. Major General Richard Secord
Richard Secord
Major General Richard V. Secord, Retired , is a United States Air Force officer convicted for his involvement with the Iran-Contra scandal only to be exonerated after a 1990 Supreme Court case found the statute used to be illegal....

, who was directing operations for Oliver North
Oliver North
Oliver Laurence North is a retired U.S. Marine Corps officer, political commentator, host of War Stories with Oliver North on Fox News Channel, a military historian, and a New York Times best-selling author....

. The subsequent Iran-Contra investigations cast light over U.S. operations in the region, and several of Posada's connections, including Félix Rodríguez were asked to testify.

Posada remained in El Salvador during the hearings before signing up as a security advisor to the Guatemala
Guatemala
Guatemala is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast...

n government. He also remained in contact with Cuban exile groups during this period. In February 1990 Posada was shot while sitting in his car in Guatemala City
Guatemala City
Guatemala City , is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Guatemala and Central America...

 by unknown assailants that Posada believed were Cuban assassins. In his memoir, Posada said that his recovery and medical bills were paid by the Cuban American National Foundation, with additional payments from Richard Secord. Though recuperating in Honduras, the FBI believed that Posada was responsible for 41 bombings in the country, Posada himself admitted to planning numerous attacks against Cuba and seeking assistance from the Honduran military to aid his cause, which was not forthcoming.

Tourist bombings of 1997


In 1997, Posada was implicated in a further series of terrorist bombings in Cuba
1997 Cuba hotel bombings
The 1997 Cuba hotel bombings were a series of bombings of Cuban hotels, which resulted in the death of an Italian tourist, Fabio di Celmo. Targets included the Hotel Capri, Hotel Nacional de Cuba, and the Meliá Cohiba Hotel. The Cuban-born Venezuelan Luis Posada Carriles admitted organising the...

 intended to deter the growing tourism trade
Tourism in Cuba
Tourism in Cuba attracts over 2 million people a year, and is one of the main sources of revenue for the island. With its favorable climate, beaches, colonial architecture and distinct cultural history, Cuba has long been an attractive destination for tourists...

 on the island. An Italian-Canadian, Fabio di Celmo
Fabio di Celmo
Fabio di Celmo was an Italian entrepreneur, murdered in the 1997 explosion of a bomb planted by anti-Castro terrorists in a bar at the Hotel Copacabana....

, was killed and 11 people wounded as a result. In reaction to Celmo's death, Posada told reporter Ann Louise Bardach
Ann Louise Bardach
Ann Louise Bardach is an American journalist and non-fiction author. Bardach is best known for her work on Cuba and Miami and was called "the go-to journalist on all things Cuban and Miami," by the Columbia Journalism Review having interviewed people such as Fidel Castro, Juanita Castro, Luis...

 in a 1998 taped interview that "the Italian was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but I sleep like a baby."

In a taped interview with The New York Times, Posada said: "It is sad that someone is dead, but we can't stop." Posada was reportedly disappointed with the reluctance of American news organisations to report the bombing attacks, saying "If there is no publicity, the job is useless. He later recanted the confession. Raúl Ernesto Cruz León, who Posada admitted was a mercenary under his employment, was sentenced to death by the Cuban authorities after admitting to the attacks.
Posada also claimed that Jorge Mas Canosa, the head of the Cuban American National Foundation, was well aware of the attacks, but the two men agreed never to discuss the operations. The Foundation has denied these claims. In 1998, The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

indicated that, even after the U.S. government no longer sponsored Posada's violent activities, Posada Carriles may have benefited from a tolerant attitude on the part of U.S. law enforcement. As bombs were being placed in tourist hotels and restaurants in Havana, the New York Times reported, a Cuban-American business-partner of Posada's tried to inform first Guatemalan, then U.S., law enforcement of Posada's involvement and possible links to Cuban exiles in Union City
Union City, New Jersey
Union City is a city in Hudson County, New Jersey, United States. According to the 2010 United States Census the city had a total population of 66,455. All of the city is on land, an area of...

, New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

.

On 3 May 2007 it was revealed that FBI agents traveled to Cuba in 2006 as part of an investigation into Posada's possible role in the 1997 bombings in Havana. New FBI documents were also released revealing new details about Posada's many terrorist plots, including concealing high explosives in shoes and shampoo bottles.
However the FBI failed to use the evidence to follow up on Posada, using it instead to uncover the Cuban spy network which had brought together the evidence, which led to the conviction of the Cuban Five
Cuban Five
The Cuban Five, also known as the Miami Five are five Cuban intelligence officers convicted in Miami of conspiracy to commit espionage, conspiracy to commit murder, and other illegal activities in the United States...

.

Panama: Arrest, conviction and release (2000–2004)



On November 17, 2000 Posada was discovered with 200 pounds of explosives in Panama City
Panama City
Panama is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Panama. It has a population of 880,691, with a total metro population of 1,272,672, and it is located at the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal, in the province of the same name. The city is the political and administrative center of the...

 and arrested for allegedly plotting the assassination
Assassination
To carry out an assassination is "to murder by a sudden and/or secret attack, often for political reasons." Alternatively, assassination may be defined as "the act of deliberately killing someone, especially a public figure, usually for hire or for political reasons."An assassination may be...

 of Fidel Castro, who was visiting the country for the first time since 1959. Three other Cuban exiles were also arrested alongside Posada: Gaspar Jiménez who worked at the Cuban American National Foundation in Miami, Pedro Remón Rodríguez and Carlos Muñiz Varela.

Communist leader Fidel Castro announced the alleged discovery of the plot on international television, describing Posada as "a cowardly man totally without scruples". Castro also blamed the CANF for allegedly orchestrating the plot. Shortly after, Justino di Celmo, the father of an Italian
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 killed by a bomb in Havana, appeared on Cuban television to urge the Panamanian authorities to extradite Posada to Cuba. Posada was subsequently convicted and jailed in Panama for the assassination attempt.

In August 2004, Posada and the three other convicted plotters were pardoned by outgoing Panamanian president Mireya Moscoso
Mireya Moscoso
Mireya Elisa Moscoso Rodríguez de Arias is a Panamanian political figure. She was the President of Panama from 1999 to 2004, representing the Arnulfista Party...

. Moscoso, who had been close to the Bush administration in the U.S., denied that she had been pressured by U.S. officials to engineer a release of the men, though U.S. officials said they were not involved. "This was a decision made by the government of Panama," said State Department spokesman J. Adam Ereli. "We never lobbied the Panamanian government to pardon anyone involved in this case, and I'd leave it to the government of Panama to discuss the action." President Mireya Moscoso commented, saying that "No foreign government has pressured me to take the decision," she told reporters. "I knew that if these men stayed here, they would be extradited to Cuba and Venezuela, and there they were surely going to kill them there."

The U.S. government declined to condemn the actions of the four men. Moscoso's decision was heavily criticized by incoming president Martín Torrijos
Martín Torrijos
Martín Erasto Torrijos Espino is a Panamanian politician and the former President of the Republic of Panama.Torrijos was elected President on May 2, 2004...

, and speculation was rife that the pardon was politically motivated. Cuba expert Julia E. Sweig
Julia E. Sweig
Julia E. Sweig is the Nelson and David Rockefeller Senior Fellow for Latin America Studies and Director for Latin America Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and specializes in Latin America and U.S.-Latin America foreign policy. Sweig holds a B.A. from the University of California, Santa...

 said the decision "reeks of political and diplomatic cronyism". Sweig cited business and personal connections between Panama and the Cuban American exile community in Florida, and implied that Florida governor Jeb Bush
Jeb Bush
John Ellis "Jeb" Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd Governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007. He is a prominent member of the Bush family: the second son of former President George H. W. Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush; the younger brother of former President George W...

 may have had a role in the release. Immediately after news of the pardon broke, Venezuela and Cuba withdrew diplomatic ties with Panama.

United States (2005–)



In 2005 Posada requested political asylum in the United States through his attorney, and on May 3, 2005, the Venezuelan Supreme Court approved an extradition request for him. On May 17, 2005 the Miami Herald conducted an interview with Posada in South Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

; later that day, the Herald and the Associated Press
Associated Press
The Associated Press is an American news agency. The AP is a cooperative owned by its contributing newspapers, radio and television stations in the United States, which both contribute stories to the AP and use material written by its staff journalists...

 reported that he had been detained by the Department of Homeland Security. He had withdrawn his asylum appeal and was moving to sneak out of the country when arrested. His arrest coincided with large anti-Posada protests in Havana - organizers estimated that hundreds of thousands of Cubans participated in the rally. On September 28, 2005 a U.S. immigration judge ruled that Posada could not be deported because he faced the threat of torture in Venezuela. The Venezuelan government reacted angrily to the ruling, accusing the US of having a "double standard in its so-called war on terrorism". The US government sought to deport Posada elsewhere, but at least seven friendly nations refused to accept him. Cuba and Venezuela have sought Posada's extradition under the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings
International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings
The 1997 United Nations International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings is a multilateral treaty open to the ratification of all states designed to criminalize the unlawful and intentional use of explosives in public places with intention to kill, to injure, or to cause...

 and the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation. Under the 1971 Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation the US is obligated to prosecute Posada for the alleged acts of terrorism if it does not extradite him.

The US Government has been heavily criticized in some circles, especially in the context of the so-called "war on terror" as well as being hypocritical as far as the Bush Doctrine
Bush Doctrine
The Bush Doctrine is a phrase used to describe various related foreign policy principles of former United States president George W. Bush. The phrase was first used by Charles Krauthammer in June 2001 to describe the Bush Administration's unilateral withdrawals from the ABM treaty and the Kyoto...

 goes. International law, including the UN Security Council Resolution 1373 of September, 2001, states that countries should not give safe haven or any kind of assistance to people involved in present or past terrorist activities.
The final declaration of the XIVth Ibero-American Summit
Ibero-American Summit
The Ibero-American Summit , is a yearly meeting of the heads of government and state of the Spanish-...

, held in Salamanca
Salamanca
Salamanca is a city in western Spain, in the community of Castile and León. Because it is known for its beautiful buildings and urban environment, the Old City was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988. It is the most important university city in Spain and is known for its contributions to...

 in October 2005, includes a demand to "extradite or judge the man responsible for the terrorist blowing-up of a plane of Cubana Aviation in October 1976, which caused the death of 73 innocent civilians". Posada was referenced in Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez
Hugo Chávez
Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías is the 56th and current President of Venezuela, having held that position since 1999. He was formerly the leader of the Fifth Republic Movement political party from its foundation in 1997 until 2007, when he became the leader of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela...

's address to the UN General Assembly on September 20, 2006. Railing against the U.S. for "imperialism" and "hypocrisy", Chávez called Posada "the biggest terrorist of this continent", and said: "Thanks to the CIA and government officials, he was allowed to escape, and he lives here in this country, protected by the government."

During a United Nation Security Council meeting to review the work of its three subsidiary counter-terrorism committees, the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 was invited by the representatives of Venezuela
Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

 and Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

 to comment on the evidence
Evidence
Evidence in its broadest sense includes everything that is used to determine or demonstrate the truth of an assertion. Giving or procuring evidence is the process of using those things that are either presumed to be true, or were themselves proven via evidence, to demonstrate an assertion's truth...

 (above) in the Posada case. The US representative, Ms. Willson, then stated, "an individual cannot be brought for trial or extradited unless sufficient evidence
Evidence
Evidence in its broadest sense includes everything that is used to determine or demonstrate the truth of an assertion. Giving or procuring evidence is the process of using those things that are either presumed to be true, or were themselves proven via evidence, to demonstrate an assertion's truth...

 has been established that he has
committed the offence charged." She also alleged that removal to Venezuela or Cuba could not be carried out as "it was more likely than not that he would be tortured if he were so transferred." The Venezuelan representative denied the allegation, and pointed to the United States' own record in Abu Ghraib
Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse
Beginning in 2004, human rights violations in the form of physical, psychological, and sexual abuse, including torture, rape, sodomy, and homicide of prisoners held in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq came to public attention...

 and in Guantánamo as examples of what Venezuela would not do.
Luis Posada Carriles was released from jail after paying bond on April 19, 2007. The US Fifth District Court of Appeals in New Orleans rejected a Justice Department request Posada be refused bail for entering the U.S. illegally and he was escorted by Federal agents to Miami where members of the Cuban community welcomed him as a patriot. Posada was required to remain under 24-hour house arrest at his wife's apartment in Miami until trial, with permission to leave only to meet with attorneys or for doctor's appointments. On May 8, 2007 U.S. district judge Kathleen Cardone dismissed seven counts of immigration fraud and ordered Posada's electronic bracelet removed. In a 38 page ruling Judge Cardone criticized the U.S. government
Federal government of the United States
The federal government of the United States is the national government of the constitutional republic of fifty states that is the United States of America. The federal government comprises three distinct branches of government: a legislative, an executive and a judiciary. These branches and...

's "fraud, deceit and trickery" during the interview with immigration authorities that was the basis of the charges against Posada. Cardone's ruling was overturned in mid-2008 by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit is a federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the district courts in the following districts:* Eastern District of Louisiana* Middle District of Louisiana...

, which ruled that Posada Carriles should be tried for the alleged immigration violation.

In 2009, a federal grand jury
Grand jury
A grand jury is a type of jury that determines whether a criminal indictment will issue. Currently, only the United States retains grand juries, although some other common law jurisdictions formerly employed them, and most other jurisdictions employ some other type of preliminary hearing...

 issued a superseding indictment, which marked his first official link by the United States government to the 1997 bombings in Cuba. On April 9, 2009 The Miami Herald
The Miami Herald
The Miami Herald is a daily newspaper owned by The McClatchy Company headquartered on Biscayne Bay in the Omni district of Downtown Miami, Florida, United States...

reported:
"The superseding indictment from the grand jury in El Paso does not charge Posada, 81, with planting the bombs or plotting the bombings but with lying in an immigration court about his role in the attacks at hotels, bars and restaurants in the Havana area. The perjury counts were added to the previous indictment that accused Posada of lying in his citizenship application about how he got into the United States. Another new charge is obstruction of a U.S. investigation into "international terrorism.""

2010 Texas trial


Posada was accused of lying to U.S. authorities and about his alleged involvement in bomb attacks in Havana in 1997, and went on trial in Texas. However many of his backers in the Cuban exile
Cuban exile
The term "Cuban exile" refers to the many Cubans who have sought alternative political or economic conditions outside the island, dating back to the Ten Years' War and the struggle for Cuban independence during the 19th century...

 community gathered thousands of dollars for his defense during what they termed a "radio marathon" on Radio Mambí
WAQI
Radio Mambi is a radio station broadcasting a Spanish News/Talk format. Licensed to Miami, Florida, USA, the station is currently owned by Univision Communications....

. The tried case against Posada began after he sailed illegally into the United States and applied for political asylum. However, he was not being tried for killing the 73 people aboard the Cubana airliner or the tourists in Havana; his charges revolved around lying to immigration agents about his trip to the U.S. and illegally crossing the border. Prosecutors allege that he deceived them about his passport and arrived on a boat named the Santrina, not on a bus as he had told the government during interviews.

A footnote in a document filed by Posada's lead defense attorney on January 28, 2010, is quite revealing about the kind of classified information that Posada Carriles threatens to expose in the course of the trial. His attorney, Arturo Hernández, argues in that motion, "The Defendant's CIA relationship, stemming from his work against the Castro regime through his anti-communist activities in Venezuela and Central America, are relevant and admissible to his defense." The motion furthermore alleges that the US government had been complicit in bomb-setting in Cuba and asked the court to compel the government to declassify all information that shows the "involvement, knowledge, acquiescence and complicity [of the U.S. Government] in sabotage or bombings in Cuba." Also, the motion requests disclosure of "[t]raining, instructions, memos or other documents reflecting orders to the Defendant to maintain secrecy and not disclose his relationship or information regarding his activities on behalf of the U.S. Government or any of its Agencies." Venezuelan state attorney José Pertierra has interpreted the "bombings" in question as being the 1997 bombings of tourism areas in Cuba, and not necessarily the Cubana Airliner bombing (which did not occur "in Cuba").

Posada was found not guilty on all charges against him. After the trial he hugged his lawyers and told reporters he was grateful to the US, the court and the jury for what he said was a fair trial
Fair Trial
Fair Trial was a British Thoroughbred racehorse and Champion sire. He was bred and raced by John Arthur Dewar who also bred and raced Tudor Minstrel....

, saying that, "What happened here should serve as an example for justice in my country, Cuba, which is unfortunately in the hands of a dictator
Dictator
A dictator is a ruler who assumes sole and absolute power but without hereditary ascension such as an absolute monarch. When other states call the head of state of a particular state a dictator, that state is called a dictatorship...

."

Alleged relationships


Luis Posada Carriles claimed in a 1998 New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

interview that he received financial backing from Cuban American National Foundation for a 1997 bombing campaign in Cuba. CANF has strongly denied Posada's statement. Posada, however, describes long term relationships with CANF figures in his autobiography. Declassified CIA and FBI documents allege that Posada was one of the "engineer[s]" of the 1976 terrorist bombing of Cubana Airlines flight 455 that killed 73 passengers. The administration of President George W. Bush refused to extradite Posada to Venezuela, where he is wanted for this crime.

The Cuban Ministry of the Interior claimed that the three September 4, 1997 bomb attacks against three hotels in Havana
Havana
Havana is the capital city, province, major port, and leading commercial centre of Cuba. The city proper has a population of 2.1 million inhabitants, and it spans a total of — making it the largest city in the Caribbean region, and the most populous...

, which killed one person, were planned and controlled by CANF. CANF has denied the allegations. However, a former board member of the group has stated that several of its leaders planned attacks in Cuba during the 1990s. In 1997, the CANF published a statement supporting un-conditionally all terrorist attacks against Cuba; the CANF chairman at the time stated that "We do not think of these as terrorist actions". For his part, Carriles has claimed to be responsible for planning six bombings at Havana hotels and restaurants during 1997.

Cuba's accusations


Cuba's state newspaper Granma
Granma (newspaper)
Granma is the official newspaper of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party.Its name comes from the yacht Granma that carried Fidel Castro and 81 other rebels to Cuba's shores in 1956 launching the Cuban Revolution.-Editions:...

, has accused Carriles of being a "psychopath" and "CIA hit man" who is part of a "brotherhood of killers" paid by the U.S. government. Cuban researcher José Luis Méndez has described Carriles as "a man highly trained in the use of explosives, in the use of arms, and techniques for killing, disappearing, kidnapping". Granma goes on to allege that Carriles "makes regular appearances before those nostalgic for the Batista
Fulgencio Batista
Fulgencio Batista y Zaldívar was the United States-aligned Cuban President, dictator and military leader who served as the leader of Cuba from 1933 to 1944 and from 1952 to 1959, before being overthrown as a result of the Cuban Revolution....

 dictatorship", accusing him of being a central player in a Miami "mafia apparatus" of "terrorists". In Havana, officials routinely refer to Posada as "the Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden was the founder of the militant Islamist organization Al-Qaeda, the jihadist organization responsible for the September 11 attacks on the United States and numerous other mass-casualty attacks against civilian and military targets...

 of Latin America," while the case remains a particular sore point in US-Cuba relations.

Personal life


In 1960, when Posada went to the United States, he married a resident of Miami, Florida, and has two children. He currently resides in Miami, where he openly attends "right-wing exile fundraisers" and participates in public protests against Fidel Castro
Fidel Castro
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz is a Cuban revolutionary and politician, having held the position of Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976, and then President from 1976 to 2008. He also served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from the party's foundation in 1961 until 2011...

's Cuba.

See also

  • Criticisms of the War on Terrorism
  • Coordination of United Revolutionary Organizations
    Coordination of United Revolutionary Organizations
    Coordination of United Revolutionary Organizations is an anti-Castro group founded by Cuban exiles Orlando Bosch, Luis Posada Carriles, Guillermo Novo Sampoll and Gaspar Jiménez Escobedo....

  • Terrorism
    Terrorism
    Terrorism is the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion. In the international community, however, terrorism has no universally agreed, legally binding, criminal law definition...

  • War on Terror
    War on Terror
    The War on Terror is a term commonly applied to an international military campaign led by the United States and the United Kingdom with the support of other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as well as non-NATO countries...

  • Cuban Five
    Cuban Five
    The Cuban Five, also known as the Miami Five are five Cuban intelligence officers convicted in Miami of conspiracy to commit espionage, conspiracy to commit murder, and other illegal activities in the United States...


Further reading

  • Cuba Confidential: Love and Vengeance in Miami and Havana by Ann Louise Bardach, 2003, Vintage Books, ISBN 0385720521
  • Dateline Havana: The Real Story of US Policy and the Future of Cuba by Reese Erlich, 2008, Polipoint Press, ISBN 0981576974
  • Deadly Secrets: The CIA-Mafia War against Castro and the Assassination of J.F.K by Warren Hinckle & William W. Turner, 1992, Thunder's Mouth Press, ISBN 1560250461

External links