By Tracey Eaton (alongthemalecon)
HAVANA TIMES — Three years ago this month, former CIA operative Luis Posada Carriles, now 85, was acquitted on charges of perjury, obstruction of justice and immigration fraud.
For journalists, scholars and others interested in his case, I’m posting here more than 700 pages of transcripts from Posada Carriles’ trial in El Paso, Texas.
The transcripts cover only a fraction of the 13-week trial, but offer a window into the proceedings, which drew national media attention.
Cuban authorities regard Posada Carriles and Bosch to be “terrorists,” but they are considered freedom fighters to many in the Cuban exile community in South Florida.
In 1976, Posada Carriles and Bosch, along with two Venezuelans, were jailed in Caracas for the bombing of Cubana de Aviación Flight 455 as it flew from Barbados to Jamaica.
All 78 people aboard were killed, including members of Cuba’s national fencing team.
Cuban exile leaders in Miami waged a legal campaign to free Posada Carriles and Bosch. Journalist Ann Louise Bardach wrote:
Bosch would serve 11 years and Posada nine before their lawyers won acquittals. But both remained jailed pending prosecutors’ appeals and new trials, in accordance with Venezuela’s labyrinthine judicial system.
Bosch was allowed to leave Venezuela not long after then-U.S. ambassador Otto Reich voiced concerns about his safety in a series of cables to the State Department. He flew to Miami in December 1987 without a visa and was promptly arrested. Attorney General Richard Thornburgh described Bosch as an “unreformed terrorist,” who should be deported. But Bosch had a powerful advocate in Jeb Bush, who at that time was managing the campaign of Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the first Cuban exile to win a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
In an unusual presidential intercession on behalf of a convicted terrorist, President George H.W. Bush overruled the FBI and the Justice Department and in 1990 approved the release of Bosch, who won U.S. residency two years later.