[Marxism] L.A. Times Posada editorial: "Send Him to Caracas"
Paul H. Dillon
illonph at pacbell.net
Thu May 19 14:33:33 MDT 2005
While it's great that the LA Times has called for Posada's extradition to
Venezuela (perhaps reflecting the clear mood of its highly diverse
Spanish-speaking population that together with LA's afro-descendants just
elected a Latino mayor) , it doesn't help that they include some
reservations about the Venezuelan legal system in their argument. Not only
is it a question of a different legal system (French model, not
Anglo-American common law) but in fact the constitution of Venezuela
guarantees no torture and other rights that are absent in the American
system -- and quite clearly widely practiced. Posada could be put to death
in the U.S., Venezuela has a max sentence of 30 years for any and all crimes
(I'm not sure if the can give consecutive 30 year sentences). Finally, they
forget to include that Venezuela want Posada for breaking out of prison too.
They should be called on that while being praised for their overall stand.
af----- Original Message -----
From: "Walter Lippmann" <walterlx at earthlink.net>
To: <marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>; <rad-green-bounces at lists.econ.utah.edu>
Sent: Thursday, May 19, 2005 11:58 AM
Subject: [Marxism] L.A. Times Posada editorial: "Send Him to Caracas"
(Perfect editorial. Everyone should send letters to the
Los Angeles Times in support of their position in this:
letters at latimes.com
Send Him to Caracas
May 19, 2005
It may outrage the radical fringe in the Cuban exile community in Miami, but
the Bush administration did the right thing in ordering Tuesday's arrest of
Luis Posada Carriles. Washington now needs to send the old anti-Castro
fighter to Venezuela to face charges that he was involved in blowing up a
Cuban airplane in 1976, causing 73 deaths.
Posada, who crossed illegally into the United States from Mexico this year,
had filed and withdrawn a request for political asylum. Asylum is not a
plausible option. Posada, although he has denied involvement in the downing
of the airliner, has boasted of placing bombs in six hotels in Havana that
killed one person and injured 11 others.
The government is expected to decide Posada's immigration status as soon as
today. The desirable outcome is for Posada to be sent back to Venezuela as
quickly as possible. Otherwise, the rest of the world will mock the Bush
administration's avowed commitment to the war on terrorism. If Washington
disregards its extradition treaty with Venezuela, other countries will feel
free to disregard their extradition treaty obligations with the U.S.
Washington has pursued a lot of flawed policies to placate anti-Castro
activists in the past, but surely no one in this administration will want to
go soft on terrorism - or try to define away the problem by claiming that
Posada is a legitimate freedom fighter.
Venezuela's judiciary admittedly does not have all the due-process
guarantees Posada might have found in a U.S. court, and it may be tempting
to try him here under the theory that terrorism is a crime of universal
jurisdiction. But it would be a misguided move, seen elsewhere as
politically driven and hypocritical. In prosecuting terrorism, the U.S.
works with many countries whose legal systems are no worse than Venezuela's.
Moreover, there is a process already underway against Posada in Venezuela.
He was tried and acquitted there twice but escaped from jail while awaiting
an appeal by prosecutors in 1985. Venezuelan law allows the jailing of
defendants until all appeals have been dealt with.
According to recently declassified FBI documents from 1976, Posada was
present at two meetings in which the bombing of the Cuban plane departing
from Caracas was discussed. In 2000, Posada resurfaced in Panama in the
company of three other terrorists previously convicted of serious crimes.
The four were tried, convicted and jailed. But then, in August 2004,
Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso pardoned the four a few days before she
left office. Three of the men went to Miami, where they were greeted like
heroes by hard-line exiles. The whereabouts of Posada remained unknown until
Why these four violent men were pardoned is a mystery. The fact that three
of them were admitted into the U.S. is alarming. Doesn't President Bush mean
it when he says no country should harbor those accused of terrorism? To
answer that question in the affirmative, U.S. authorities must extradite
Posada to Caracas and review the status of any other Cuban exiles in this
country who stand accused of terrorism.
(Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who has received wide
support from Cuban Americans during his political
career, distanced himself from Posada, saying:
"I'm not sure he's the symbol for the right for
freedom. There are people in political prison
in Cuba simply because they've prayed to their
God or they've expressed dissent.")
Cuban Exile's Journey From Hero to Outcast
Luis Posada Carriles, once hailed as a U.S. ally, now poses a dilemma in the
post-9/11 climate. By Nicole Gaouette and John-Thor Dahlburg Times Staff
May 19, 2005
MIAMI - When federal agents detained him Tuesday, Luis Posada Carriles was
wearing a pale linen suit and tasteful necktie, emblems of a life lately
devoted to leisure, painting, reading Asian philosophy and socializing with
affluent friends. Only his scarred face and garbled speech - marks of a 1990
assassination attempt - recalled a lifetime of brutal, sometimes bloody
struggle against Cuba's Fidel Castro.
But the contrast between past and present goes beyond physical appearance
for Posada. He is a man that time has left behind, and on Wednesday the Bush
administration tried to figure out how to reconcile its war on terrorism
with its treatment of a onetime ally accused of terrorist acts.
Castro and the Venezuelan government have said the U.S. will be applying a
double standard in fighting terrorism if it does not act to ensure that
Posada faces trial in the 1976 bombing of an airliner that killed 73 people.
The Cuban exile, 77, once worked with the CIA during its tooth-and-claw war
on leftist radicals in Latin America. Now, instead of being hailed as an
anticommunist hero, he is drawing little support even from Florida's Cuban
And his presence in the United States is a problem, not a source of pride,
for the Bush administration, which remains hostile to Castro but more
concerned about its credibility in the war on terrorism.
"Posada Carriles is really a relic of the Cold War," said Alfredo Duran, a
Miami lawyer who took part in the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion. "I think that
he has misjudged the post-9/11 environment both in the United States and in
the Cuban American community."
An administration official said Wednesday that the United States would
probably seek out a country willing to accept Posada but also willing to
pledge that it would not deport him to Cuba or Venezuela, which has called
on the United States to extradite him for alleged involvement in the
airliner bombing. Venezuela has often acted on Cuba's behalf, and U.S. law
prohibits extradition to such countries.
The administration official said El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras were
countries that might accept the militant. Mexico is also considered an
option. Posada would be asked to leave voluntarily, sparing the
administration from having to force his departure.
Under immigration rules, federal authorities had 48 hours after Posada's
arrest to decide whether to let him stay or deport him, but the deadline
could be extended.
Posada's life has taken him from Cuba's upper class to CIA bomb-making
classes to brushes with organized crime, including midnight jailbreaks in
Venezuela and weapons smuggling for the Contras rebels in Nicaragua in the
Along the way, he picked up the nickname "Solo" after the urbane spy in the
1960s TV hit "The Man From UNCLE," and the more menacing moniker, "Lupo,"
Italian for wolf.
The son of a bookstore owner, Posada's upper-middle-class upbringing led him
to study chemistry at the University of Havana, three years behind a
charismatic law student named Fidel Castro.
While Posada's family embraced Castro, Posada became a fervent
anticommunist, left the country in February 1961 and signed up with the CIA
for the Bay of Pigs invasion that April.
In 1963, the CIA invited him to enroll in officer candidate school, where he
learned to build bombs, gather intelligence and spread propaganda. He
oversaw arms, boats and a network of safe houses in Florida but increasingly
delved into extracurricular activities.
At one point, he was reportedly supplying explosives and detonators to Frank
Rosenthal, the mob figure whose life inspired the 1995 movie "Casino."
Posada left Miami to join Venezuelan intelligence in 1967, and later founded
a detective agency.
In October 1976, an explosion in the luggage hold of a Havana-bound Cuban
airliner shattered the plane over the coast of Barbados, killing all aboard
- including many young Cuban athletes.
Venezuelan officials said they found that two of Posada's employees had
checked bags but had gotten off the plane during the layover in Barbados.
Posada has been linked to 1997 bombings in Cuba that killed an Italian
tourist and wounded 11 others.
Though Posada was tried and acquitted twice in connection with the airliner
bombing, he spent nine years in a Venezuelan jail but escaped one night by
walking out of the prison gates dressed as a priest. From there, he found
his way to El Salvador and got a job supplying the Nicaraguan Contras.
After the Iran-Contra affair, Posada served as a security consultant to the
president of Guatemala until gunmen peppered his car with bullets in 1990.
He has said the attack was the work of Cuban operatives who hit him a dozen
Posada was arrested in Panama in 2000 for an alleged plan to assassinate
Castro during a conference.
Pardoned in August 2004 by the Panamanian president, who has close ties to
Miami's Cuban community, Posada vanished, only to surface in Miami this
"He has been involved for 46 years in a struggle against the cruelest
dictator," said Luis Zuniga, executive director of the Cuban Liberty Council
in Miami. "We might not agree with the methods he used to struggle, but
everybody recognizes the struggle.. We don't ask for any special treatment
for him, just fairness."
News of Posada's arrest was the talk of Miami's Spanish-language media
Wednesday and the topic of conversation in the cafes and eateries of Little
Havana. Some anger was voiced, but it was markedly muted compared with the
explosion of outrage when the Clinton administration decided to send
6-year-old Elian Gonzalez back to his Cuban father in 2000.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, one of three Cuban American members
of Congress from South Florida, called for federal officials to respect "due
process" in dealing with Posada, but said little more.
Some analysts of the Cuban American community say that even though the
majority remains hostile to the communist regime of Fidel Castro, support
for the terrorist actions that Posada is accused of has waned significantly
since America became the target of terrorists in 2001.
Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who has received wide support from Cuban Americans
during his political career, distanced himself from Posada, saying: "I'm not
sure he's the symbol for the right for freedom. There are people in
political prison in Cuba simply because they've prayed to their God or
they've expressed dissent."
Bush, the president's brother, said he opposed handing Posada over to Cuba
or Venezuela, but told reporters in Tallahassee, "I don't know what the
alternatives are beyond that."
Recent polls of the Cuban American community show broad support for a
nonconfrontational approach to Cuba.
"Most of the right-wing Cubans who have supported Posada in the past are
also rabid Republicans, so there won't be a great deal of protests," Duran,
the Miami lawyer, said. "If it had been Clinton, people would be in the
streets, but basically they don't want to embarrass [President] Bush, so
there will be no reaction."
Gaouette reported from Washington, Dahlburg from Miami.
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