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Tuesday, April 20, 2004


A small victory for justice

Breaking news:
"Five Cuban exiles who had been accused of plotting to kill Fidel Castro were sentenced Tuesday to seven to eight years in prison.

"Luis Posada Carriles and the other men were arrested after Castro announced a plot to kill him during an Ibero-American summit here in November 2000, though Panamanian courts ruled there was not enough evidence to accuse the men of attempted murder.

"Posada, accused of being the ringleader, and Jimenez were sentenced to eight years for endangering public safety and falsifying documents, the Supreme Court said. The five were exonerated of the most serious charge facing them, possession of explosives.

"Posada was tried and acquitted there [not clear where "there" is] of bombing a Cuban jetliner. He has acknowledged organizing Cuban hotel bombings that killed an Italian tourist and injured 11 other people in 1997."
As usual, you won't find either the truth or the whole truth reading the mainstream press (AP in this instance). Here's some background from Workers World from November, 2000, shortly after the plot was uncovered:
"Luis Posada Carriles, a notorious anti-Cuba fascist responsible for the bombing deaths of scores of people, was captured Nov. 17 along with three accomplices after infiltrating Panama in an attempt to assassinate Cuban President Fidel Castro.

"The revolutionary government in Havana has called for Posada's extradition to face trial for his many crimes against Cuba. But the U.S. government is pressuring Panama not to do it. [Note: the pressure was successful; the trial was finally held in Panama]

"Posada is a well-known CIA operative. He contracted two Venezuelan men to place a bomb on a Cubana Airlines plane departing from Barbados in 1976. The bomb destroyed the plane in flight, killing 73 people, including the Cuban national fencing team.

"Posada was convicted in Venezuela for his role in the bombing. But he managed to 'escape' from a prison there in 1985. [Note that the AP claim that Posada was acquitted of this crime is false]

"Castro, who had just arrived in Panama City's airport for the Tenth Ibero-American Summit on Adolescents and Children, made an immediate declaration to the press announcing Posada's presence in Panama. Castro revealed that Posada sneaked into Panama on Nov. 5 with false papers and an array of weapons and explosives.

"On Nov. 21, in the third roundtable devoted to the case on Cuban television, Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque revealed the identities, addresses, occupations and other vital data on each of Posada's accomplices, including everal who have so far eluded capture. He listed the cars they were driving in Panama, the routes they took and the weapons they possessed.

"Six of the eight are Cuban-born, he said. Four are now U.S. citizens living in the Miami area.

"About 20 pounds of C-4 explosives belonging to the terrorist gang were found in the house of Jose Hurtado, Posada's driver. [Note that it was Cuban anti-terrorist 'spying' of the type which produced this kind of information, that resulted in the conviction of five Cuban heroes for 'spying' in the United States]
And here's more from Workers World in March, 2002, when the U.S. was pressuring Panama to free the plotters on the grounds of insufficient evidence, and have them deported to El Salvador and accused of "document falsification":
"After 15 months of investigation of this latest crime, it seems that Panamanian prosecutor Dimas Guevara doesn't think several boxes of the powerful C-4 explosive are enough to warrant murderous intent. According to Granma International newspaper, Guevara concluded, 'Among the charges established was the possession of a dangerous high explosive that would be used for a specific purpose, but the detonating fuse wasn't found. That's why we couldn't charge them with attempted homicide.' [!! Does that mean no one can ever be charged with murder if the murder weapon isn't found?]"
As the headline says, a small victory, but a victory nonetheless! And one which would never have been achieved if the Cubans didn't take an active role in defending themselves and uncovering plots like this in the first place.

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