[Ppnews] Posada Carriles - trial update

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Fri Jan 14 20:47:39 EST 2011

Eye witness report from El Paso, TX

January 14, 2010

By Nancy Kohn

As the eyes of the nation were focused on a 
horrific shooting spree in a shopping mall in 
Tucson, AZ that left 6 dead and 12 wounded, 
protesters just 300 miles away in El Paso, TX 
were helping to generate media attention on the 
crimes of Luis Posada Carriles, a man who is no 
stranger to carrying out similar acts of violence.

Luis Posada Carriles was involved in 
premeditated, politically motivated violence 
targeting civilians of Cuba for four decades. He 
engaged in recruiting, training, and financing 
terrorists and terrorist organizations.

The first mid-air downing of a civilian airliner 
is a stark example of such terrorism.  The 
bombing in 1976 of a civilian Cubana airliner, 
killing all 73 passengers on board was 
masterminded by Posada. The plane had taken off 
from Venezuela, a country which is now trying to 
extradite him to stand trial for that crime.

International law recognizes the right of 
countries to defend themselves against terrorist 
attacks. The Cuban 5 -- Antonio Guerrero, Gerardo 
Hernandez, Ramon Labaino, Rene Gonzalez and 
Fernando Gonzalez -- were young boys in 1976 when 
the civilian airliner was blown up and they 
subsequently dedicated their lives to preventing 
further attacks. The court case of the Cuban 5 
made it obvious that the intention of these men 
was to uncover and prevent further violent acts 
of terror against Cuba. They have been imprisoned 
in the U.S. for the last 12 years, while Posada is a free man.

On Jan. 10th, the first day of Posada's trial, 
two activists from the International Committee 
for the Freedom of the Cuban 5 were waiting in 
the lobby of the Camino Real Hotel when we 
encountered Posada himself coming unaccompanied 
out of the coffee shop. We approached him and 
called him a murderer and an assassin who we 
hoped would be extradited to Venezuela to stand 
trial for his real crimes rather than the 
immigration fraud he faces in El Paso. His only 
response was to place his thumb on his nose and 
wiggle his fingers at us. He backed into an 
elevator and his body guards came over to protect 
him even though we hadn't touched the man.

That morning while jury selection was going on, 
nearly 80 activists protested for four solid 
hours in front of the U.S. District Court of the 
Western District of Texas. The most powerful and 
evocative banner was that made by the National 
Committee to Free the Cuban Five. It displayed 
portraits of victims of Posada, including those 
from the downing of the civilian airliner and 
Fabio DiCelmo, an Italian tourist who died in 
1997 in a hotel bombing in Havana, planned by 
Posada. Besides being the main organizers of the 
protest at the court house, the National 
Committee to Free the Cuban Five had also 
organized a People's Tribunal at the Unitarian 
Universalist Church in El Paso to expose the real 
crimes of Posada. It was well attended by members 
of the congregation and activists who traveled 
from all across the country. The tribunal and 
demonstration were covered by more than ten news 
outlets, including international media.

Protesters chanted "Jail Posada – Freee the Cuban 
Five" and "Immigrants, Yes – Terroristss, No." 
Down the block stood a group of 18 Cuban-American 
supporters of Posada whose signs called him innocent and an American hero.

On Wednesday, 82 year old Posada sat alone in the 
courtroom behind his defense team. His lawyers 
aren't hiding his CIA connections or avowed 
hatred of the government of Cuba. Rather, they 
stated that he is the proud "dean of anti-Castro 
opponents who is willing to do whatever it takes to destroy the regime."

Unfortunately, the prosecutors from the Justice 
Department's Anti-terrorism Unit aren't trying 
Posada on charges of terrorism, but rather are 
appealing to the patriotism of the jurors by 
saying that citizenship in the U.S. is a 
privilege not an entitlement and that the case 
revolves around the fact that he lied repeatedly 
to gain the benefit of naturalization. For them, 
it is basically a case of perjury.

No matter the outcome of the trial, which is 
expected to last at least 6 weeks, the presence 
of activists demanding the immediate release of 
the Cuban 5 has made it impossible not to see the 
double standards of the U.S. government when it comes to fighting terrorism.

The media presence from all around the world is 
tearing off the mask that says the U.S. stands 
solidly against terrorism. The C.I.A. trained and 
supported this man and his cohort and the Cuban 
government was obligated to send intelligence 
agents to Miami to investigate what crimes Posada 
and his ilk would commit next.  The ramifications 
of the evidence that will be disclosed in the 
course of this trial can only bring closer the 
day when the Cuban 5 will be released from U.S. Prisons.

For after all, what constitutes terrorism?  It is 
generally agreed that terrorist acts are violent, 
calculated attacks upon non-combatants rather 
than troops or military targets and that these 
acts are intended to demoralize and intimidate a 
population and /or coerce a government.  Luis 
Posada Carriles fits that description, not the Cuban 5.

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

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