US justice leaves terrorist laughing - but then he was one of theirs.
Luis Posada Carriles, now 83, was a veteran right-wing terrorist and former CIA agent. His part in the bombing of the Cubana Airlines DC8, killing 73 people, had been known for years. Indeed declassified US documents show the American authorities had advance intelligence that an airline bombing was being planned by Cuban emigres with whom Posada Carriles was working.
Cuba and Venezuela, which held the accused in its jail at one time, have condemned the US court's decision to acquit him. A Cuban official called the outcome a "shameful farce"; Venezuela said the US was protecting a known terrorist.
Besides his alleged involvement in plotting bomb attacks in Cuba, Posada Carriles was engaged by the CIA for gun running to right-wing Contra rebels operating against Nicaragua. At least one American citizen, working on a rural aid project, was killed by them.His trial in Texas was on charges of lying to immigration officials about how he entered the US and about his alleged involvement in bomb attacks in Havana in 1997 in which an Italian tourist was killed.But it ended with his acquittal on Friday.
The head of Cuba's parliament, Ricardo Alarcon, told the Associated Press the federal judge in Texas had prevented jurors from seeing evidence that would have convinced them of his guilt.
"The US government is as much a liar as he is because it converted a killer who has been sought for decades into a simple old liar," he said.
The Venezuelan government expressed "indignation" at "an act of theatre" designed to "protect the terrorist Luis Posada Carriles".It said it would renew its request to have Posada Carriles extradited for his alleged role in the bombing of the Cuban airliner, which was organised from Venezuelan soil.
Posada Cariles was imprisoned in Venezuela in 1976 for his part in the airline bombing. He escaped in 1985. Then in 2000 he was jailed in Panama for plotting to assassinate Fidel Castro. But he was pardoned and released four years later.
The US has previously refused to send Posada Carriles to Cuba or Venezuela, saying he might face torture.This from the land that remains famous for its 'humane' treatment of prisoners in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo! They're all heart sometimes!
Declassified US documents show that the accused airline bomber worked for the CIA between 1965 and 1976, thus he was in its employ when he allegedly arranged the airline bombing. He is also said to have worked for other intelligence agencies, including those of Pinochet's Chile and the military junta in Argentina.
Together with his co-conspirator Orlando Bosch, Posada Carilles allegedly helped Chile's DINA secret police plan the car bomb murder in Washington of Cuban dissident Orlando Letelier and his American secretary.
See also, on knowledge of airline plot:
on Letelier case: