By Circles Robinson
HAVANA TIMES, Jan. 10 — Luis Posada Carriles, Cuba’s public enemy number one, goes on trial in El Paso, Texas on Monday, but not for his long string of admitted terrorist plots that have made him a hero among the militant Miami Cuban exile crowd.
Posada, 82, faces far lesser charges of lying to immigration authorities on how smugglers helped him sneak into the US back in 2005.
Involved in anti-Cuba events including the 1961 Bay of Pigs invation to an assassination attempt on Fidel Castro nearly 40 years later, Posada, surrounded by friends and associates in Miami, expressed hope that the court would go easy on him.
From El Paso, KVIA.com reports, that “Posada, 82, is linked to several terrorist attacks over the last four decades. He’s believed to be the mastermind behind bombings in Cuba in 1997 that killed an Italian tourist, as well as the bombing of a Cuban airliner in 1976 that killed 73 people.”
The on the scene publication further notes, “But rather than face charges for those attacks, Posada is being tried for naturalization fraud, perjury and obstruction. Authorities said the militant lied about how he entered the U.S. back in 2005, as well as about his involvement in the bombings of Havana tourist spots.”
Both Cuba and Venezuela have long demanded that the US either extradite the alleged criminal or try him for terrorist activities.
Posada, who lives with his family in Miami, is considered a courageous human being by Cuban exile hardliners who still seek to overthrow the Castro government by violent means using US territory as their main base of operations.
Former Cuban President Fidel Castro has referred to Posada as “the most dangerous terrorist in the Western Hemisphere.”
“It’s painful to know that Posada Carriles is only being tried for lying to immigration officials,” said Margarita Morales, whose father died in the plane bombing. With tears in her eyes she added “How long do I have to put up with him being called a liar when he’s a killer, a terrorist?”, wrote CNN on Monday.
“The bomb exploded shortly after Cubana Flight 455 took off from Barbados, killing all 73 passengers and crew aboard. Morales, a trainer for Cuba’s national fencing team, was one of 24 team members to die in the crash.
“Following the crash, Posada was arrested and tried in Venezuela where he had worked for the country’s intelligence services. While awaiting trial for the airplane bombing, he escaped from jail,” noted the TV network.
Proud of his past actions, Posada has said “I sleep like a baby.”