Wednesday, February 9, 2011


But Posada Carriles is not on trial for his terrorist past as a CIA operative. Instead, U.S. prosecutors allege that during immigration hearings in El Paso, Posada Carriles lied about how he gained access to the United States in March 2005, and did not acknowledge his active rol in planning a series of 1997 bombings in Havana that killed an Italian tourist, Fabio di Celmo. Posada Carriles faces 11 counts of perjury, obstruction and immigration fraud.

El asesino que "duerme como un bebé" y una de sus víctimas, un joven italiano

Posada Carriles participated indirectly in the U.S.-backed, unsuccessful Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in 1961, and then joined the U.S. military and became a CIA agent. In the 1980s, he was involved, on behalf of Washington, in organizing the supply of aid to the contra rebels in Nicaragua during the Reagan administration. In 2000, he was arrested in Panama in a conspiracy to assassinate Cuban president Fidel Castro during a regional summit taking place in that country. He was pardoned in 2004 by Mireya Moscoso, then president of Panama, who was following orders from Washington.

Posada Carriles has been living freely in Miami since his release from an U.S. immigration detention center in El Paso in 2007.

U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone ruled last month that defense attorney Arturo Hernández would be allowed to question the credibility of the Cuban government and its experts while cross-examining the officials from Cuba. However, Cardone told Hernández that it is not Cuba and its political system what is on trial.

Cuba and Venezuela have repeatedly requested his extradition  to either country to face justice for the 1997 hotel attacks as well as a 1976 Cubana airliner bombing that killed 73 people on board. But the U.S., in violation of the international law, refuses to do so "for fear he could be tortured."

Relatives of the 1976 Cubana airliner bombing victims wait for justice

Salvadoran bomber Otto Rene Rodriguez, jailed in Cuba in connection with a string of 1990s hotel bombings, told the Associated Press in an exclusive interview Tuesday that he received powerful C-4 explosives and $2,000 in cash directly from Luis Posada Carriles to carry out an Aug. 3, 1997, bombing at Havana's Melia Cohiba hotel. He was captured trying to enter the country on a subsequent trip with 1.5 kilos (3.3 pounds) of C-4 that Posada had given him, he said.

In a further attempt to prevent the real truth from coming out Judge Cardone ruled that jurors could only see a photocopy of the Guatemalan passport  and Mexican visa that prosecutors wanted to present as evidence and not the physical documents themselves putting forward a technicality as an excuse, arguing that “the passport had not been sufficiently authenticated to meet federal evidence rules.” 

On Friday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Bridget Behling introduced a selection of documents that U.S. authorities obtained from Guatemalan officials as part of their investigation against Posada. The evidence includes a Mexican visa and a copy of the passport, showing Posada's picture but the name of Manuel Enrique Castillo Lopez, born in the Mayan town of San Antonio Huista, Huehuetenango province, Guatemala.

This time US District Judge Cardone had to rule in favor of those documents admitting that they had been properly authenticated and certified by both the governments of Guatemala and Mexico.

Today, two police officers and a state medical examiner from Cuba were expected to testify for the West Texas jury on the death of Fabio di Celmo, the Italian tourist killed when a bomb shattered the lobby bar at the Copacabana Hotel in Havana. Posada Carriles admitted responsibility for the Havana hotel bombings in a 1998 interview with The New York Times, saying they were meant to hurt the Cuban tourism industry but not kill anyone. He has since withdrawn his statement claiming he was confused because of his poor knowledge of the English language.

Evidence eventually admitted as valid by Judge Cardone

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