Until today I’ve always centered my comments and articles on the national context. I’ve referred to the characteristics, traditions, difficulties and feelings of Cubans. I’ve described more localized incidents and I’ve put points of view on the table about our social, political and economic reality.
Never has the issue of international politics been at the center of my writings, but I believe that now an exception is forcing me to do so because the subject I am going to write on cannot be avoided.
As a Cuban in Cuba, I cannot remain silent before the ignominious act that the United States justice system has committed.
This past April 8, after a 13-week trial in El Paso, Texas, we saw terrorist Luis Posada Carriles acquitted of charges of having lied in an immigration hearing. This is despite the fact that previously he had admitted to having directed the sabotage of the Cubana de Aviacion passenger airliner that went down near Barbados in October 1976. That tragedy resulted in the deaths of 57 Cuban citizens, 11 Guyanese and five North Koreans – a total of 73 dead.
(Scene in retrospective)
The notorious 83-year-old terrorist, acting in the name of “his struggle for the freedom of Cuba,” committed crimes against humanity. Nevertheless, he was not sanctioned for these villainous acts; rather, he has been rewarded. Incredibly, there are those who call him a “fighter for human rights.”
I wonder what merit could possibly exist in acts as loathsome as the treacherous murder of innocent lives. Those killed included the members of a fencing team that was traveling that fateful day on the Cuban airliner.
What damage do the perpetrators believe was done to the Cuban Revolution with that horrendous act? Nothing resulted, other than the terrible pain and punishment that was brought against many families and an entire people that rejected and will continue to reject such atrocious actions.
The sadly celebrated Posada Carriles had escaped from a prison in Venezuela (a country in which he had obtained citizenship), and whose government has requested his extradition from the United States so that that he can be tried for the Barbados tragedy. However no action was taken; instead, American immigration authorities preferred to arrest him and put him on trial on charges of illegal entry onto US soil. This trail was for his having committed perjury and immigration fraud when he was arrested in the US in 2005.
Concerning the attack, the opinion expressed in an editorial in the Barbadian online magazine Nationnews.com read:
“… from the administration of the senior George Bush to that of his elder son’s two-term presidency and extending to the current period of President Barack Obama, the Cuban exile Posada, often described by leading United States media as the most ‘notorious terrorist’ of the Western Hemisphere, was to continue eluding prosecution for the Cubana bombing tragedy, while facing charges on providing false information to United States immigration.
“But against the backdrop of strident declarations by United States presidents against international terrorism as well as pleas from the governments in Cuba, Venezuela and CARICOM for him to be tried for the Cubana bombing disaster, the toast of the Cuban exile community in Florida was last week acquitted by a court in Texas on mere charges of having lied to United States immigration.
“The cynics may well remark that in view of President Obama’s recent reversal of a decision to close down the detention centre at Guantanamo Bay as a court for military trials of claimed ‘terrorists’, the acquittal of Posada by a jury on charges of having simply ‘lied’ to United States immigration should perhaps not be viewed as a big surprise, however painful a development after some 35 years of that horrible human disaster off Barbados.”
(Scene with special effects)
1 – After Judge Kathleen Cardone read the unanimous verdict of “not guilty,” Posada Carriles stated: “I feel happy”… I’m extremely grateful for the United States of America, for all treatment, for the justice that has been served me, and for the jury that acquitted me.” His lawyer Arturo V. Hernandez then urged federal authorities to drop all investigations and possible future cases against Posada, The New Herald highlighted.
2 – The editorial in Nationnews.com also stated:
“Cuban exile groups in the United States of America were last week celebrating the decision of a court in Texas that may well have finally ended any hope of a well-known Cuban terrorist ever facing trial for his documented involvement in the bombing…”
3 – The article “Banquet Held in Homage to Terrorist Posada Carriles” appeared in Cubadebate:
“MIAMI, April 12 — The Miami mafia has decided to honor Luis Posada Carriles by holding a dinner, at $40 dollars a plate, which in addition to honoring the terrorist will add an air of legitimacy to the money that was spent in El Paso [Texas] to ‘provide hotel rooms and food to the defense witnesses,’ according to the invitation to the event set for this Wednesday.
“The figure must be at least one million dollars based on how long the trial lasted, the number of witnesses, lawyers, dinners and inducements the terrorist and their defenders paid out in that Texan city.”
“‘My road still hasn’t ended. The nature of the struggle has changed, but it’s still the same road. We will continue trying to peacefully restore Cuba to what it once was,’ said a euphoric Posada Carriles, who thanked the USA for the rewards for his time as a CIA asset.”
(Some opinions from Cuba regarding the acquittal)
Fernando, 45 (artisan):
It’s not necessary to say a whole lot on the issue. We’ve spent more than 30 years asking — demanding — that Posada be tried for that crime, but the United States has ignored that call by the people and governments of Cuba, Venezuela and Barbados. That murderer is walking around unscathed and now he winds up being acquitted of a charge that was all about manipulation. This is inconceivable.
Noelia, 63 (laboratory worker):
It was his fault that 73 people died on a Cubana flight. Later he was implicated in sabotage actions at touristic centers here in the country. He directed an assassination attempt against comrade Fidel at the Ibero-American summit in Panama in 2000. He himself stated on the Maria Elvira TV show (in Miami) that he was the one who had the bombs planted, yet he was not prosecuted for those acts of terrorism. The man is a murderer, but he’s smugly walking around all over Miami under the auspices of the Cuban-American mafia that has staunchly opposed the revolution. It’s a disgrace that the government of the United States would allow this injustice by their federal court.
Maria Eduarda, 24 (student):
That trial shows a lack of respect for the people of Cuba. Since I was a little girl I’ve heard the details about the Barbados incident, and that is terrorism. Posada Carriles is a criminal.
Evers, 56 (teacher):
What happened in El Paso is completely at odds with the anti-terrorism policies that the government of the United States proclaims and in whose name it has intervened militarily in other countries in unjust wars that have cost so many lives. I hope that Posada Carriles is tried again but for terrorism, or that he’s extradited to Venezuela, which is what the US is legally obligated to do under international agreements that it has signed and under Resolution 1373 (2001) of the UN Security Council.
Caridad, 70 (retiree):
To throw a party for that murderer? That’s horrible, morbid. I don’t have the words…
(Scene with an open end)
With this article I am seeking to echo the feelings of almost the entirety of a people, those who are deeply angered by the impunity granted to a supremely dangerous individual, someone who should pay for his gruesome misdeeds.
Murder and terrorism will never be a means for obtaining the backing of real lovers of justice. It is reprehensible that there are those who persist in sowing hate.
Without a need for shouting slogans or pat phrases, the trial in El Paso Texas has been a farce. And faced with that, I cannot simply remain quiet. It rests on us to give the benefit of doubt, hoping that the US justice system will correct this deplorable deed and that this odyssey finishes with a decent ending.