by Circles Robinson
HAVANA TIMES, April 9 – Cuban-born exile Luis Posada Carriles will appear in court in El Paso, Texas on August 10 to face charges on several counts of immigration fraud and making false testimonies, as well as an unexpected charge for his connection to a string of hotel bombings in Cuba in 1997.
After spending around two years in detention pending trial in Texas, Posada was released on April 19, 2007 after Federal Judge Kathleen Cardone disallowed the immigration-related accusations against him for having “snuck” into the US in March 2005. Notwithstanding, her decision was later overturned and a retrial ordered by the New Orleans 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Posada was welcomed as a hero by Miami’s right-wing exiles, who have dreamed and plotted for a half century for a violent overthrow of the Cuban government. For decades these groups have enjoyed Washington’s either outright or behind the scene support.
The US government has ignored the persistent request from Venezuela to extradite Posada —a naturalized Venezuelan citizen— to stand trial for several felonies. The Bush administration claimed that the long-time CIA agent, an expert in explosives, would not get a fair trial.
The district attorney’s decision to include the bombing-related charge—for lying about his connection to “individuals who carried out attacks”—came as a tremendous surprise on the island. Cuba has consistently urged the US to either extradite Posada or try him for his terrorist activities.
The Cuban government had thus far viewed the entire legal process as a means to protect Posada from being tried for his much more serious offenses, including his role in a plane bombing that killed 73 persons from several countries back in 1976 and the death of Italian tourist Fabio di Celmo at a Havana hotel.
The US district attorney has asked that Posada post a $350,000 bond to remain free and that an ankle bracelet be placed on him to assure he does not attempt to leave the country. Strangely enough, Judge Cardone will preside over the August trial in El Paso, Texas.