Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Longtime CIA asset Luis Posada Carilles, the Orlando Bosch crony who helped plan the bombing of a civilian jetliner in 1976, ran guns for the Contras in the late '80's, blew up a few Cuban hotels in 1997, and attempted to knock off Castro in 2000, was arrested Tuesday in Miami. The question now is what to do with him -- and it's a thorny problem indeed for at least two Bushes, George and Jeb, who have always depended upon the kindness of rabidly anti-Castro Cuban exiles:
However, Peter Kornbluh, director of the Cuba Documentation Project at the National Security Archive, an independent research institute in Washington, said recently declassified CIA and FBI documents quoted informants linking Posada to planning meetings for the 1976 bombing.
"Posada was involved in an unprecedented crime at the time for the Western Hemisphere," Kornbluh said by telephone from Havana. "President Bush should implement the principles of the war against terror that he espouses -- that no nation should harbor terrorists" . . . .
Cuban authorities want him to be extradited to Venezuela or to go before an international tribunal, but the U.S. government generally does not return people to countries acting on Cuba's behalf. Neither is the Bush administration a fan of international tribunals -- nor of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who has made increasingly anti-American statements since taking office in 1999. However, Venezuela does have an extradition treaty with the United States.
"Sending Posada to Castro or Chavez would be like sending him to the wolves. I hope that does not happen," said Hernandez of the politically influential Cuban American National Foundation.
To be eligible for political asylum, which he has sought, Posada would have to prove a well-founded fear of persecution in a country to which he could be deported. The Homeland Security Department has 48 hours to determine his status . . . .
Rachel Farley, associate for Cuba and drug policy at the Washington Office on Latin America, a liberal think tank, said she was not surprised that authorities took six weeks to detain Posada even though he is on a U.S. immigration watch list.
"He puts the U.S. in an uncomfortable position -- not only because of pressure from Miami Cubans but his CIA connections."
Posada has had a long history of planning assassinations and planting bombs in Cuban government offices since the early 1960s, when he was trained in demolition and guerrilla warfare by the CIA. The declassified information said the CIA paid him $300 a month in the 1960s and that he worked for the CIA at least from 1965 until June 1976 . . . .
Meanwhile, Kornbluh says he hopes Bush does not follow in his father's footsteps. Former President George H.W. Bush granted Bosch, Posada's longtime partner, an administrative pardon in 1990 despite a ruling by the Justice Department that Bosch "has been resolute and unwavering in his advocacy of terrorist violence." Today, Bosch lives quietly in Miami.