Saturday, January 15, 2011

Luis Posada Carriles - trial update

Eye witness report from El Paso, TX

January 14, 2010

By Nancy Kohn

As the eyes of the nation were focused on a
horrific shooting spree in a shopping mall in
Tucson, AZ that left 6 dead and 12 wounded,
protesters just 300 miles away in El Paso, TX
were helping to generate media attention on the
crimes of Luis Posada Carriles, a man who is no
stranger to carrying out similar acts of violence.

Luis Posada Carriles was involved in
premeditated, politically motivated violence
targeting civilians of Cuba for four decades. He
engaged in recruiting, training, and financing
terrorists and terrorist organizations.

The first mid-air downing of a civilian airliner
is a stark example of such terrorism. The
bombing in 1976 of a civilian Cubana airliner,
killing all 73 passengers on board was
masterminded by Posada. The plane had taken off
from Venezuela, a country which is now trying to
extradite him to stand trial for that crime.

International law recognizes the right of
countries to defend themselves against terrorist
attacks. The Cuban 5 -- Antonio Guerrero, Gerardo
Hernandez, Ramon Labaino, Rene Gonzalez and
Fernando Gonzalez -- were young boys in 1976 when
the civilian airliner was blown up and they
subsequently dedicated their lives to preventing
further attacks. The court case of the Cuban 5
made it obvious that the intention of these men
was to uncover and prevent further violent acts
of terror against Cuba. They have been imprisoned
in the U.S. for the last 12 years, while Posada is a free man.

On Jan. 10th, the first day of Posada's trial,
two activists from the International Committee
for the Freedom of the Cuban 5 were waiting in
the lobby of the Camino Real Hotel when we
encountered Posada himself coming unaccompanied
out of the coffee shop. We approached him and
called him a murderer and an assassin who we
hoped would be extradited to Venezuela to stand
trial for his real crimes rather than the
immigration fraud he faces in El Paso. His only
response was to place his thumb on his nose and
wiggle his fingers at us. He backed into an
elevator and his body guards came over to protect
him even though we hadn't touched the man.

That morning while jury selection was going on,
nearly 80 activists protested for four solid
hours in front of the U.S. District Court of the
Western District of Texas. The most powerful and
evocative banner was that made by the National
Committee to Free the Cuban Five. It displayed
portraits of victims of Posada, including those
from the downing of the civilian airliner and
Fabio DiCelmo, an Italian tourist who died in
1997 in a hotel bombing in Havana, planned by
Posada. Besides being the main organizers of the
protest at the court house, the National
Committee to Free the Cuban Five had also
organized a People's Tribunal at the Unitarian
Universalist Church in El Paso to expose the real
crimes of Posada. It was well attended by members
of the congregation and activists who traveled
from all across the country. The tribunal and
demonstration were covered by more than ten news
outlets, including international media.

Protesters chanted "Jail Posada � Freee the Cuban
Five" and "Immigrants, Yes � Terroristss, No."
Down the block stood a group of 18 Cuban-American
supporters of Posada whose signs called him innocent and an American hero.

On Wednesday, 82 year old Posada sat alone in the
courtroom behind his defense team. His lawyers
aren't hiding his CIA connections or avowed
hatred of the government of Cuba. Rather, they
stated that he is the proud "dean of anti-Castro
opponents who is willing to do whatever it takes to destroy the regime."

Unfortunately, the prosecutors from the Justice
Department's Anti-terrorism Unit aren't trying
Posada on charges of terrorism, but rather are
appealing to the patriotism of the jurors by
saying that citizenship in the U.S. is a
privilege not an entitlement and that the case
revolves around the fact that he lied repeatedly
to gain the benefit of naturalization. For them,
it is basically a case of perjury.

No matter the outcome of the trial, which is
expected to last at least 6 weeks, the presence
of activists demanding the immediate release of
the Cuban 5 has made it impossible not to see the
double standards of the U.S. government when it comes to fighting terrorism.

The media presence from all around the world is
tearing off the mask that says the U.S. stands
solidly against terrorism. The C.I.A. trained and
supported this man and his cohort and the Cuban
government was obligated to send intelligence
agents to Miami to investigate what crimes Posada
and his ilk would commit next. The ramifications
of the evidence that will be disclosed in the
course of this trial can only bring closer the
day when the Cuban 5 will be released from U.S. Prisons.

For after all, what constitutes terrorism? It is
generally agreed that terrorist acts are violent,
calculated attacks upon non-combatants rather
than troops or military targets and that these
acts are intended to demoralize and intimidate a
population and /or coerce a government. Luis
Posada Carriles fits that description, not the Cuban 5.

1 comment:

william gene norman said...

what irritates about ignorant journalists is the elimination of the word "alledgely" Nancy Kohn has
absolutely no proof that Carriles
"masterminded" the bombing of 1976
Cuban airline. Her reporting is
dangerous and libel. Four decades
he was fighting against communism.
the same foe that U.S. has been
fighting in Asia. Fidel is winning
in Venezuela today and will spread to the rest of South America like wildfire. Carriles did his heroic
best to curtail it as a CIA agent.
He is now on trial for trying to
enter the same country he was defending.He never "targeted"
civilians. Fidel was,forever, in his sights. Nancy, you have no right to accuse without facts.