[Ppnews] Miami: a Refuge for Terrorists

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Tue Jan 23 12:40:22 EST 2007


http://www.counterpunch.org/lariva01232007.html

January 23, 2007


Staging Area for Anti-Castro Forces


Miami: a Refuge for Terrorists

By GLORIA La RIVA

How is the surrender of huge weapons caches 
supposed to lighten someone's sentence?

This is the case with Santiago Alvarez and 
Osvaldo Mitat, who by any dictionary's 
definition, are terrorists. The evidence against 
them? Machine guns, C-4 explosives, dynamite, 
grenade launchers, recorded statements calling 
for a nightclub full of people to be bombed, 
admissions of plots to assassinate the Cuban president, etc.

Yet, now the U.S. attorney's office in Miami has 
arranged the surrender of Alvarez's weapons 
caches in order to lessen his prison sentence. 
That sentence is already a pitiful slap on the 
wrist, four years for Alvarez, three for Mitat, 
for the one weapons charge they were allowed to plead guilty to in November.

The last time I heard, Miami was a city in the 
United States. The last time I heard, there are 
United States laws against launching armed 
actions against a country with whom the United 
States is not at war with. Yet, Alvarez's and 
Mitat's lawyers state openly that their clients' 
aim was "always" to overthrow Fidel Castro.

The situation in Miami is becoming more and more 
bizarre, but it is not a funny kind of bizarre. 
This is terrorism we are talking about.

Alvarez will get a lesser sentence but the "Cuban 
Five," men who were working in Miami to stop the 
terrorists, are unjustly serving 15 years to 
double life in U.S. federal prison.

The unfolding revelations of the terrorists' 
activities in Miami-and the influence they wield 
over Miami institutions-proves more and more that 
the Cuban Five could never have hoped to receive 
a fair trial in Miami. From day one, every aspect 
of the U.S. government's prosecution of these 
five men, their arrest, trial and sentencing, was politically motivated.

It is apparent that the U.S. government's 
objective in the Cuban Five's prosecution was to 
tie the hands of these anti-terrorists. At the 
same time it looked the other way while 
terrorists like Alvarez and Mitat amassed weapons 
and hatched assassination plots.

The terrorist bands must feel that Miami is the 
perfect refuge for their kind. After all, it is 
where Alvarez and crew smuggled Posada in. Don't 
forget Posada's three accomplices in the Panama 
terrorist plot. They flew into Miami hours after 
their ignominous pardon in August 2004.

Has the FBI or U.S. Attorney's office ever 
considered prosecuting those three terrorists? 
There is certainly enough evidence against 
Guillermo Novo Sampol, Pedro Remón and Gaspar 
Jiménez for their terrorist crimes committed on 
U.S. soil. And their plot to try to assassinate 
Fidel Castro in Panama, definitely qualifies as a 
violation of the Neutrality Act.

But the FBI interviewed the three terrorists upon 
their Miami arrival and let them go.

On Jan. 15, Alvarez and Mitat were indicted for 
refusing to testify to a grand jury in El Paso 
about their role in smuggling Posada into the United States in March of 2005.

And the U.S. Attorney is going to lessen their sentence? What is going on here?

It is clear that the U.S. officials' orientation 
in coddling the Miami terrorists comes directly 
from the White House. George Bush has failed to 
utter one word denouncing or acknowledging Luis 
Posada Carriles' presence in the United States or his terrorist history.

Bush's attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, has 
yet to declare Posada a terrorist. By his 
inaction Gonzales may be giving the ultimate 
green light to Posada. The immigration judge has 
set Feb. 1 for the U.S. government to declare 
Posada the terrorist that he is, or he could very well be freed.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice continues to 
ignore Venezuela's extradition request of Posada 
for his leading role in bombing the Cubana 
airliner in 1976 and killing 73 people.

The absolute impunity with which the anti-Cuba 
Miami terrorists operate, and the complicity of 
the U.S. government in protecting them, demands 
an outside independent investigation. 
Investigation and prosecution of the terrorists 
are what is needed, not symbolic sentences.

In the meantime, supporters of the Cuban Five 
continue to fight for their freedom. To learn 
about the campaign and their appeals, freethefive.org

Gloria La Riva is Coordinator, National Committee to Free the Cuban Five
<mailto:Glorialariva at hotmail.com>Glorialariva at hotmail.com


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