April 29, 2005
Cubana suspect seeks asylum in the United States

The United States government is increasingly finding itself in an embarrassing situation because of the presence of an accused terrorist in its territory.

Terror suspect Luis Posada Carrilles, referred to as the most dangerous terrorist on the continent recently surfaced when his lawyer began to file asylum papers on his behalf in Miami.{{more}}

Posada Carilles is long suspected of being one of the authors of the bombing of the Cubana de Aviacion jet which plunged into the sea after taking off from Barbados’ Grantley Adams International Airport in October 1976, killing 76 people, including Guyanese students.

The Cuban exile has been wanted by Cuban authorities to stand trial for that bombing, the precursor to similar events which have followed world-wide, notably the September 11 Twin Towers attack in New York, which unleashed the present US-led War on Terror.

Posada Carriles was arrested and tried in Venezuela for that terroist act but managed to escape from jail later. Several years after that he admitted to being behind the bombing of tourism facilities in Havana which caused the loss of lives.

He next turned up in Panama at a meeting of Latin American and Caribbean leaders where he was involved in a plot to kill Cuba’s President Fidel Castro in 2000. He was jailed by the Panamanian authorities but was later favoured with a pardon by outgoing President Mireya Moscoso on August 26 that year.

Since his lawyer began to file papers on his behalf, Posada Carilles has been staying out of sight while the Cuban government has formally requested of the US government that he be deported to Cuba to stand trial. If Posada gets an asylum interview in Miami in coming days, he may well be asked to explain again whether he played a role in the Cubana jetliner’s downing.

Eduardo Soto, Posada’s immigration attorney, has said he expects Venezuela to seek Posada’s extradition. The case is still pending in Venezuela, where Posada escaped from jail in 1985.

”That will be the first fight, his extradition,” Soto said.

Cuban diplomats said they have asked the Bush administration to deport Posada to Cuba or prosecute him in the United States for the plane attack and the bombings of hotels and restaurants in Cuba in 1997.

US Journalist Anne Louise Barbach who interviewd Posada, said he has made several illegal trips to the States where his wife and children reside. He reportedly admitted in that interview that he was financed by the anti-Castro Cuban American National Foundation. He also claimed to have four passports from different countries obtained by using different indentities.

”We demand from Mr. Bush to have enough courage to break ties with the Miami terrorists, to put Luis Posada Carriles under arrest immediately, and to make sure that he pays for his many crimes in U.S. courts of law, in Venezuela, or before an international tribunal in an impartial place,” said Dagoberto Rodriguez, chief of the Cuban Interests Section in Washington.

It is likely that Posada will again deny any role in the jet bombing and point the finger instead at Ricardo ”Monkey” Morales, a senior Venezuelan police officer, now dead, who ordered the arrest of Posada and Orlando Bosch, his accomplice in the plane bombing and on the Cuban government itself.

”The truth about the plane bombing,” Bosch said, is contained in a tape and a document in a safebox that “will be made public when I die.”

Bosch, 78, called the 77-year-old Posada “my brother.”

Posada’s lawyer meanting continues to play games with the media about the presence or no of the terro suspect in the United States. But the that ayslum papers have been filed puts the for US Department of Homeland in a diplomatically uncomfortable situation.