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Cubana Airlines bombing-- 1976

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Cubana Airlines bombing-- 1976

Old 4th May 2005, 09:27
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Cubana Airlines bombing-- 1976

Suspect Stirs Memories of Attack in Cuba
By VANESSA ARRINGTON
The Associated Press

HAVANA - In the decades since terrorists blew up a Cuban airliner over the Caribbean Sea, Carlos Cremata has alternated between sadness, anger and even hope that his father had somehow survived. Eventually he came to terms with his hatred of the attackers. Now all the old feelings are rushing back as Luis Posada Carriles, the man Cuba accuses of masterminding the 1976 bombing that killed 73 people, including Cremata's father, seeks asylum in the United States.

The Cuban-born Posada, who left the island after the 1959 revolution and has spent much of his life trying to overthrow President Fidel Castro, sneaked across the Mexican border in March to request asylum, according to his lawyer, Eduardo Soto.

Castro has launched a marathon of speeches on the case, demanding that the United States extradite Posada to Venezuela, where he holds citizenship and is wanted in the bombing. Alternately, Cuba would like to see him handed over to an international tribunal in a neutral country.

Speaking to a May Day gathering of hundreds of thousands of Cubans on Sunday, Castro called Posada "the most famous and cruel terrorist of the western hemisphere." He said the case "shows the world the immense hypocrisy, the lies, the immoralities and the cynicism" of the U.S. government, which labels Cuba a terrorist state.

He, and many Cubans, question how a country that beefed up border controls after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks could let Posada slip through, and how a U.S. president who built his platform on fighting terrorism could remain silent on the militant's reported presence in Florida.

The U.S. government has not commented publicly on the Posada case. An official who refused to be identified said the government would likely want to detain him and try to deport him.

For Cremata, the politics have brought back old feelings. He said it was "a slap in the face" last year when former Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso pardoned Posada, then serving a sentence for his role in an alleged plot to kill Castro at a summit in Panama.

Posada has denied involvement in the airline explosion, and was acquitted twice in Venezuela in connection with the attack. But he escaped from prison in 1985 while awaiting a prosecutor's appeal. He once acknowledged - and later denied - overseeing the bombings of Cuban hotels in 1997.

Cremata has little doubt that Posada is responsible for the airliner attack, and he wants justice.

"It's simply for him to be tried, and the terrorist acts condemned, so that no other person has to go through this most terrible suffering," Cremata said.

Cremata said his father, who was a navigator for Cubana airlines, was a hardworking yet playful man deeply devoted to his wife and three sons.

"My father had no idea - he wasn't in a war, holding a weapon," Cremata said. "It's exactly the same as the worker who went out on Sept. 11. My father was just going to work, a peaceful employee of an airline."

Cremata, who was just 16 when the bombing occurred, remembers hearing someone speak of "seven survivors." That has fueled a fantasy that his father isn't really dead, but instead has taken on a secret identity fighting terrorism aimed at toppling the Cuban government.

"They never found his body," Cremata said. "Just his identity card, and his keys."

Along with Carlos Cremata Sr., the passengers aboard the airliner that exploded off Barbados included several dozen young Cubans returning to Havana after sweeping a regional fencing competition, as well as some Koreans and other foreigners.

"We have never been able to understand the reason for the attack," Cremata said. "Those who did this are not human."

Cremata has dedicated his life to children, founding and directing a theater group that embraces shy as well as handicapped youths.

"In my heart there is hate, but I am not multiplying it," Cremata said. "I live among children, and the only thing we do on stage is spread love, optimism and happiness."


May 2, 2005 4:44 PM
Suspect Stirs Memories
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Old 10th May 2005, 02:22
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One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter, seemingly then and now. It will be interesting to see how this politically delicate plays out, especially given the US's stance on terrorism and since the spotlight is on them now.

Anti-Castro exile could test U.S. terror policies

By Tim Weiner
NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

May 9, 2005

MIAMI – From the United States through Latin America and the Caribbean, Luis Posada Carriles has spent 45 years fighting a violent, losing battle to overthrow Fidel Castro. Now he may have nowhere to hide but here.

Posada, a Cuban exile, has long been a symbol for the armed anti-Castro movement in the United States. He remains a prime suspect in the bombing of a Cuban commercial airliner that killed 73 people in 1976. He has admitted to plotting attacks that damaged tourist spots in Havana and killed an Italian visitor there in 1997. He was convicted in Panama in a 2000 bomb plot against Castro. He is no longer welcome in his old Latin America haunts.

Posada, 77, sneaked back into Florida six weeks ago in an effort to seek political asylum for having served as a Cold War soldier on the payroll of the CIA in the 1960s, his lawyer, Eduardo Soto, said at a news conference last month.

But the government of Venezuela wants to extradite and retry him for the Cuban airline bombing. Posada was involved "up to his eyeballs" in planning the attack, said Carter Cornick, a retired counterterrorism specialist for the FBI who investigated Posada's role in that case. A newly declassified 1976 FBI document places Posada, who had been a senior Venezuelan intelligence officer, at two meetings where the bombing was planned.

As "the author or accomplice of homicide," Venezuela's Supreme Court said Tuesday, "he must be extradited and judged."

The U.S. government has no plan yet in place for handling the extradition request, according to spokesmen for several agencies. Roger Noriega, the top State Department official for Western Hemisphere affairs, said he did not even know whether Posada was in the country. Posada has not been seen in public, and his lawyer did not return repeated telephone calls seeking to confirm his location.

Posada's case could create tension between the politics of the global war on terrorism and the ghosts of the Cold War on communism. If Posada has indeed illegally entered the United States, the Bush administration has three choices: granting him asylum, jailing him for illegal entry or granting Venezuela's request for extradition.

A grant of asylum could invite charges that the Bush administration is compromising its principle that no nation should harbor suspected terrorists. But to turn Posada away could provoke political wrath in the conservative Cuban-American communities of South Florida, deep sources of support and campaign money for President Bush and his brother Jeb, the state's governor.

To jail Posada would be a political bonanza for Castro, who has railed against him in recent speeches, calling him the worst terrorist in the Western Hemisphere.

To allow his extradition would hand a victory to President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, Castro's closest ally in Latin America and no friend to President Bush.

"As a Cuban, as a freedom fighter myself, I believe he should be granted asylum," said Marcelino Miyares, a veteran of the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion and president of the Christian Democratic Party of Cuba, which is based in Miami. "But it's a no-win situation for the United States government."

Orlando Bosch, the most prominent face of the violent anti-Castro wing in Florida, said in an interview broadcast Tuesday in Miami that he had spoken by telephone with Posada, who, "as everybody knows, is here."

Bosch, a longtime ally of Posada's, presented a similar problem for the United States in 1989, when the Justice Department moved to deport him despite resistance from Miami's Cuban-Americans.

The Justice Department called Bosch "a terrorist, unfettered by laws or human decency, threatening and inflicting violence without regard to the identity of his victims," in the words of Joe D. Whitley, then an associate U.S. attorney general. Whitley added: "The United States cannot tolerate the inherent inhumanity of terrorism as a way of settling disputes. Appeasement of those who would use force will only breed more terrorists. We must look on terrorism as a universal evil, even if it is directed toward those with whom we have no political sympathy."

The administration of President Bush's father, George H.W. Bush, overruled the deportation in 1990; Bosch remained in Florida. Whitley, now general counsel for the Department of Homeland Security, declined to comment on the Posada case.

Posada is said to be sick with cancer, facing mortality. Some veterans of the Bay of Pigs say the armed struggle he represents is dying, too.

"I believe that movement is already dead," Miyares said.

Alfredo Duran, who was captured at the Bay of Pigs and later led a militant anti-Castro group, said that "after 9/11, it has become inexcusable to defend attacks that could kill innocent civilians."

"Everybody's renouncing violence except a small group of ultra-hard-core right-wingers," said Duran, now a lawyer in Miami advocating peaceful change in Cuba.

Duran said that Posada had never renounced violence and that the question for the United States was whether to denounce him despite his service during the Cold War.

Posada served with the CIA from 1961 to 1967, according to declassified U.S. government records. He was scheduled to land at the Bay of Pigs, the attack on Cuba ordered by the Kennedy administration, but his mission was canceled when the invasion collapsed. He kept in close touch with the agency after leaving it and joining Venezuela's intelligence service, known by its initials as DISIP, where he served as a senior officer from 1969 to 1974, according to the declassified records and retired U.S. officials who served in Venezuela.

On Oct. 6 1976, a Cubana Airlines flight with 73 people on board was blown out of the sky off the coast of Barbados in the worst terrorist attack in Cuban history.

A November 1976 FBI report, based on the word of a trusted Cuban-American informer, Ricardo Morales, places Posada at two meetings where the Cubana bombing was plotted.

In April 2004, Posada was given an eight-year sentence for endangering public safety in the Castro bomb plot case in Panama. Eight months ago, in her last week in office, President Mireya Moscoso of Panama pardoned him, citing humanitarian grounds. Moscoso, who has long had a home in Key Biscayne, has strong social ties to Cuban conservatives in South Florida, said Duran, the Bay of Pigs veteran.

Her successor, Martín Torrijos, criticized the pardon at his inauguration, saying, "For me, there are not two classes of terrorism, one that is condemned and another that is pardoned."

Posada left Panama City and flew to Honduras bearing a false U.S. passport, according to President Ricardo Maduro, who publicly denounced him.

Posada left Honduras in a hurry. Castro said in a recent speech that Posada then went to the Mexican resort Isla Mujeres and arrived in Florida on a boat owned by a Cuban-American developer in Miami.

San Diego Union-Tribune
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Old 20th May 2005, 11:37
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May 18, 2005 10:56 PM

Venezuela Wants Cuban Exile Extradited
By CHRISTOPHER TOOTHAKER
The Associated Press

CARACAS, Venezuela - Venezuela pressed its demand Wednesday for the United States to extradite a Cuban exile accused in a 1976 airliner bombing and promised not to send the suspect on to Cuba.

Venezuela wants to try Luis Posada Carriles, 77, for the attack that killed 73 people when the Cuban airliner exploded after departing from Caracas. U.S. immigration authorities detained him Tuesday in Miami, where he was living while awaiting a decision on his request for U.S. political asylum.

Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel said the U.S. government would be accused of having a double-standard when it comes to fighting terrorism if it refuses to surrender him to Venezuelan authorities.

"It would be condemned around the world," Rangel said. "It seems that for some there is a good terrorism and a bad terrorism."

Since escaping from a Venezuelan prison in 1985, Posada - who at one point was on the CIA payroll - has spent most of the time moving stealthily from country to country, thereby avoiding being tried for masterminding the bombing.

Rangel said if extradited, Posada would face justice in Venezuela and would not be sent to Cuba.

U.S. officials have said they would not hand over those suspected of crimes to any country that would then turn them over to the government of Fidel Castro, Chavez's close ally.

But Castro has repeatedly ruled out trying to extradite Posada, saying he should be tried in Venezuela or by an international court.

Rangel called the idea that Posada could be sent to Cuba "an excuse, a subterfuge, that they are using precisely in order to not approve the extradition."

Rangel cited a 1922 treaty between the U.S. and Venezuela and said the United States is obliged to extradite Posada, who he maintains is linked to "horrendous criminal acts."

Posada, a naturalized Venezuelan citizen, escaped from a Venezuelan prison in 1985 while awaiting a prosecutor's appeal of his second acquittal in the Cubana Airlines bombing.

Posada has denied involvement in the bombing, but recently declassified CIA and FBI documents quoted informants linking him to planning meetings for the bombing. U.S. documents indicate he was on the CIA's payroll until months before the 1976 bombing.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and close ally Castro say Posada is one of the worst terrorists in the Americas, and Castro led hundreds of thousands in a Tuesday march in Havana to demand his arrest.

"This case is going to be emblematic, really, to assess exactly what is the final position of the American government and particularly President Bush with respect to terrorism," Rangel said. "It seems that for some there is a good terrorism and a bad terrorism."

Castro said Wednesday that the U.S. picked up Posada as a face-saving move after his presence there for two months presence became an embarrassment.

"What has occurred is a big farce, a big lie, an attempt to escape from a difficult situation," Castro said on a current events show on Cuban state TV. He also expressed doubt that Posada would be returned to Venezuela.

Posada and three other Cuban dissidents were pardoned in August by Panama's president for their role in an alleged assassination plot against Castro in 2000 during a conference in Panama. Posada also was connected to 1997 bombings of tourists sites in Cuba, one of which killed an Italian tourist.

"He had been in the United States for more than two months," Rangel said. "U.S. authorities denied his presence until Posada Carriles finally appeared."


Phillyburbs.com Article
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Old 24th May 2005, 07:28
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May 22, 2005 10:00 PM

Venezuela's Chavez to Reconsider U.S. Ties
By CHRISTOPHER TOOTHAKER
The Associated Press


CARACAS, Venezuela - President Hugo Chavez said Sunday that Venezuela would reconsider its diplomatic ties with Washington if the United States does not extradite a Cuban exile accused of plotting the 1976 bombing of a Cuban jet.

His statements came as a former U.S. prosecutor said he determined in a federal investigation that Luis Posada Carriles was at a 1976 meeting in the Dominican Republic where Cuban exile militants discussed plans to bomb a Cuban plane.

The information from former assistant U.S. attorney E. Lawrence Barcella Jr. could be used to convince an immigration judge to deny Posada U.S. asylum, The Miami Herald reported Sunday.

The ex-CIA operative is in U.S. custody awaiting a decision on whether he will be extradited to the South American country. He has denied taking part in the bombing.

"We can't rush things, but if the United States does not extradite Luis Posada Carriles we will be forced to reconsider our diplomatic ties," Chavez said on his weekly radio program. "We will have to consider whether it's worth having an embassy there, and whether it's worth the United States having an embassy here."

The 77-year-old is expected to request asylum at an immigration hearing June 13. He was charged Thursday with entering the U.S. illegally.

Venezuela wants to try the 77-year-old Cuban militant with murder and treason for the 1976 bombing, which tore apart the Cubana Airlines plane after it took off from Barbados.

Two men who worked for Posada allegedly planted the bomb and were sentenced to 20-year prison terms. Posada was acquitted twice and escaped from a Venezuelan prison in 1985 while prosecutors were appealing.

Posada has been acquitted twice in Venezuela of masterminding the Oct. 6 bombing that killed 73 people. He escaped from prison in 1985 pending an appeal by Venezuelan prosecutors.

Posada has denied taking part in the bombing.

A decision by U.S. authorities to charge Posada only with entering the country illegally has drawn sharp criticism from Chavez, who has accused the U.S. government of harboring a terrorist and trying to justify not turning him over.

Posada is expected to request asylum at an immigration hearing June 13. He was charged Thursday with entering the U.S. illegally, a move that could lead to his deportation.


PhillyBurg.com Article
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Old 24th May 2005, 17:51
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While trying to steer attention away from the real problems, we now see a new theme in this Castro/Chavez scheme bringing back the Posadas issue as a smoke curtain, one of many they have envisioned,
In the mean time, ties with S. Hussein and Chavez are forgotten, and the Jackal help by the Chavez goverment are also forgotten, I just heard days ago that one of Carlos the Jackal aquaintances works for the "revolution"....
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Old 25th May 2005, 08:50
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Seems like the politicians all went to the same school or all read the same books . . . or maybe have the same advisors???

Smoke screens are nothing new in the political world. I've always shaken my head when the major political issue in the USA has been something lame like "Traditional Family Values" or other more contemporary red herrings (I'm not really up on the latest) rather than the real problems such as national debt, immigration, education, etc.

Lets face it, all governments bury their dirty laundry. The US (as most governments) downplay their past and present association with scummy folks (including Saddam Hussain) and present themselves as righteous. Venezuela has discovered a cleaver way to call the US on an issue of terrorism and, lets face it, air piracy and attacks on civil targets are fundamentally wrong regardless of who does it or the what the political aims are. So today the Venezuela looks good and the US is embarrassed, but there's always tomorrow. I think the spin-makers in Caracas and Washington are working overtime.
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Old 28th May 2005, 18:23
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Some food for thought...

HoustonChronicle.com -- http://www.HoustonChronicle.com | Section: Viewpoints, Outlook

May 21, 2005, 6:48PM



OMINOUS QUESTION
Is Venezuela going nuclear?
Conversations with Iran give cause for concern
By DOUGLAS MACKINNON


The most prominent development in U.S.-Venezuelan relations these days involves the case of Luis Posada Carriles and whether he should be extradited from the United States to Venezuela. There he would stand trial for a third time for his alleged involvement in the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner. Meanwhile, a story with the potential to be much more important is being ignored: The growing power and global ambitions of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez.


To the minute number of people who understand the threat Chavez poses to the United States, his recent hosting in Caracas of Iranian President Mohammad Khatami was disturbing enough. But a high-ranking official for a Latin American government has disclosed to me details about that visit that should send shock waves throughout our government.

During a private meeting between Chavez and Khatami, I was told, Chavez made it known to the Iranian leader that he would like to "introduce nuclear elements into Venezuela." My contact said "nuclear elements" meant "nuclear weapons."

It will be easy for many to dismiss such talk as false or the fantasies of a madman, but that would be a critical mistake. I have no doubt that Chavez is mentally disturbed, and I also have no doubt that his hatred of the United States and President Bush in particular is dictating his erratic behavior. High oil prices have made Chavez an antagonist to be reckoned with, and we ignore such a menace at our peril.

Standing side by side with Khatami in Caracas, Chavez said, "Iran has every right to develop atomic energy and to continue research in that area. ... Faced with the threat of the U.S. government against our brother people in Iran, count on us for all our support."

After receiving the report that Chavez might be trying to acquire nuclear technology or weapons from Iran, I met with a high-ranking U.S. official to voice my concerns and ask what he thought about such speculation. He answered me point blank: "It would not surprise me. Chavez is dangerous, underestimated and capable of almost anything. We are hearing a number of curious and disturbing reports. He is actively working to recruit terrorist nations and developing countries into his campaign of hatred against the United States."

Toward that end, Chavez recently went on al-Jazeera television to call for Arab and developing nations to unite against the United States and President Bush. Terrorists use this network as a tool against U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq, and Chavez told its viewers, "We have already invaded the United States, but with our oil."

Coupled with the disturbing news that Chavez might be trying to acquire nuclear weapons is the fact that Chavez, a dictator in all but formal title, just concluded a deal with the People's Republic of China to launch a telecommunications satellite for him. So great is Chavez' interest in rockets, space and missiles that the government of Venezuela has created a special commission to advise him on such issues. Chavez with a nuclear weapon is bad enough. Chavez with a medium-range ballistic missile just minutes from the southern United States is a disaster waiting to happen.

I told the senior U.S. official that I thought Chavez posed a greater threat to our national security than Osama bin Laden or any terrorist operating out of the Middle East. He looked at me and said, "You know, I agree with you 100 percent."

So, while Cuban dictator Fidel Castro tries to manipulate world opinion by calling Posada "the most famous and cruel terrorist of the Western Hemisphere" (I was not aware that Castro had relinquished his crown), Chavez, Castro's puppet and a man who thinks he is channeling South American hero Simon Bolivar, may soon have his finger on the trigger of a nuclear weapon.

At what point do our nation and the world take this threat seriously?

MacKinnon was press secretary to former Sen. Bob Dole. He is also a former White House and Pentagon official, is married to a Venezuelan and has been to the country a number of times.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


HoustonChronicle.com -- http://www.HoustonChronicle.com | Section: Viewpoints, Outlook
This article is: http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory...utlook/3192626
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Old 29th May 2005, 13:11
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As I said in my previous post:

"I think the spin-makers in Caracas and Washington are working overtime."
Spin spin spin spin. . . . anybody dizzy yet???
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