Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Cuban-exile roaming the U.S.

Harry Lam
Journal Contributor

In the U.S., when one thinks of terrorist attacks involving commercial airliners, first to mind are the barbaric 9/11 attacks that killed about 3,000 people. However, few in the U.S. remember the attack on Cubana Airliner 455 on October 6, 1976, which at the time was one of the deadliest terrorist attacks on a commercial airliner in the western hemisphere. On that day, a Cubana Airliner plane was dynamited off the coast of Barbados and resulted in the deaths of all 73 passengers.

One of the terrorists that orchestrated this attack is Luis Posada Carriles, a Cuban-exile and former CIA operative. What is just as horrific as the attack itself is that this terrorist walks the streets of the U.S. as a free man. Many people in the Cuban-exiled community and the Miami mafia even consider him to be a “hero.” For example, on March 25, Luis Posada participated as an “honored guest” in an anti-Cuba demonstration in Miami that was organized by Cuban-exiled singer Gloria Estefan. In 2005, Jose Hernandez, President of the Cuban National Foundation in Miami, claimed Posada to be “a true fighter, a true believer who has fought for the freedom of his country.” Immediately after the attack, Barbadian and Venezuelan authorities traced the attack to two Venezuelans working for Posada. The two immediately admitted that Posada was the mastermind of the attack. Posada was arrested in Venezuela and spent nine years in a Venezuelan jail. He was never convicted of his crimes, and escaped in 1985 by bribing his guards.

Declassified FBI documents revealed that after his escape, he remained in El Salvador and aided the U.S. military and the CIA in operations that involved supplying the Contras, a paramilitary militia that was funded by the Reagan administration, during the Nicaraguan Civil War of the 1980s.

Posada was also the mastermind of a series of 1997 bombings of hotels and restaurants in Havana that killed an Italian tourist and wounded 11 others. In an interview with the New York Times in 1998, Posada claimed, “I sleep like a baby,” and added, “It is sad that someone is dead, but we can’t stop.”

In 2000, Posada and three others were arrested in Panama City for plotting to assassinate former Cuban President Fidel Castro. He was found with over 200 pounds of explosives, and if the attack had been successful it could have led to the murder of hundreds of people. The outgoing Panamanian president pardoned him in 2004.

Posada illegally arrived in the U.S. in 2005 seeking political asylum. The U.S. government refused to extradite him to Cuba or Venezuela under the claim that he would be tortured. He was jailed under the charges of illegally entering the country, and lying to immigration authorities and in his application for citizenship.

The U.S. government has never charged Posada for any of the terrorist attacks he has organized, or the innocent people he has murdered in the past. Declassified CIA and FBI documents show that the CIA knew of his plans to blow up a Cuban airliner months before the attack. Posada himself has claimed that he has asked the CIA for assistance for every one of his attacks on Cuba.

He was released in April, 2007 by paying bond, and was essentially pardoned by the Bush Administration. He was given a hero’s welcome when he arrived in Miami.         Jean-Guy Allard, a journalist for Granma International, said, “despite being denounced and calls from Venezuela for his extradition, Luis Posada Carriles, the most dangerous terrorist in the hemisphere, is still conspiring to murder with his accomplices without any intervention from the U.S. legal authorities.”

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Cuban-exile roaming the U.S.