Before there was Osama Bin Laden, there was (and still is) Luis Posada Carriles. Both worked for the CIA and both are considered by many to be terrorists. However, where these two men differ is that one of them walks the streets of Miami as a free man.
I stumbled upon this article (and video) in the BBC and to my horror, I saw Luis Posada Carriles being congratulated, almost like a celebrity, for his support in the march of “Las Damas de Blanco”. Posada Carriles is a terrorist!, but not according the United States.
According to the U.S., there are two classes of terrorism, one that is condemned and another that is pardoned. Luis Posada Carriles has been pardoned for blowing up Cubana Airline flight 455 on October 6, 1976. All 73 people on board were killed. It was then the most deadly terrorist attack in the Western hemisphere.
The passenger list included representatives from a number of different countries. All 48 passengers and 25 crew aboard the plane died: 57 Cubans, 11 Guyanese (including 18 and 19-year-old medical students, and the young wife of a Guyanese diplomat), and five North Koreans (government officials and a cameraman). Among the dead were all 24 members of the 1975 national Cuban Fencing team that had just won all the gold medals in the Central American and Caribbean Championship; many were teenagers. Several officials of the Cuban government were also aboard the plane.
Declassified FBI reports read “[a confidential source] all but admitted that Posada and [Orlando] Bosch had engineered the bombing of the airline.”  And according to a declassified CIA document from 1976 posted by the National Security Archive in June, 2005 Luis Posada Carriles spoke of plans to “hit” a Cuban airliner only days before Cubana flight 455 exploded. 
On Sept. 21, 1976, in the heart of Washington, a car bomb killed a former foreign minister of Chile, Orlando Letelier, and an American aide, Ronni Moffitt; at the time, it was one of the worst acts of foreign terrorism on American soil. Fifteen days later, the Cubana Airlines flight was blown out of the sky off the coast of Barbados.
Mr. Carter Cornick, the F.B.I. counterterrorism specialist who worked on the Letelier case, said in an interview that both bombings were planned at a June 1976 meeting in Santo Domingo attended by, among others, Mr. Posada.
“The Cubana bomb went off, the people were killed, and there were tracks leading right back to Disip,” said Mr. Cornick, who is now retired.
“The information was so strong that they locked up Posada as a preventative measure – to prevent him from talking or being killed. They knew that he had been involved,” said Mr. Cornick, referring to the Venezuelan authorities. “There was no doubt in anyone’s mind, including mine, that he was up to his eyeballs” in the Cubana bombing. 
When it comes to terrorism, Posada Carriles puts Bin Laden to shame. He’s been at it for over 40 years. Trained in demolition and guerrilla warfare by the CIA, Posada has been involved with drug trafficking, weapon’s smuggling, and conducting clandestine sabotage and terrorist operations. 
In 1997, Posada allegedly orchestrated a dozen bombings in Cuba intended to deter the growing tourism trade. An Italian businessman was killed and 11 people wounded as a result. In a taped interview with the New York Times, he said: “It is sad that someone is dead, but we can’t stop.”
In an interview with the Miami paper, he didn’t deny his involvement in the bombings. “Let’s leave it to history,” he said. 
In November 2000, he traveled to Panama, accompanied by Guillermo Novo, whose conviction in the Letelier bombing had been overturned on appeal; Gaspar Jiménez, convicted of trying to kidnap a Cuban diplomat in Mexico in 1977; and Pedro Remón, convicted of the attempted murder of Cuba’s ambassador to the United Nations in 1980. Mr. Posada was seized, along with his three colleagues and 33 pounds of the plastic explosive C-4. 
There is absolutely no debate on whether this man is a terrorist or not. Posada Carriles, along with other terrorist such as Orlando Bosch, Jorge Mas Canosa, and others have all been pardoned and allowed to roam freely in the United States.
The Justice Department has called Mr. Orlando Bosch “a terrorist, unfettered by laws or human decency, threatening and inflicting violence without regard to the identity of his victims.” The first Bush administration pardoned him in 1990 and allowed him to stay in Miami. 
The second Bush administration has stopped short of prosecuting Posada Carriles as a terrorist, even though the Justice Department has called him “an unrepentant criminal and admitted mastermind of terrorist plots and attacks on tourist sites.” 
Posada Carriles continues to walk Miami a free man and now spends most of his time painting nature scenes. The U.S. continues to refuse to extradite him to Cuba and Venezuela despite their insistent calls.
So, the question is: Does the United States harbor known terrorists? The answer is a clear and resounding “YES!”
I’ll say it again because it bears repeating: According to the U.S., there are two classes of terrorism, one that is condemned and another that is pardoned.
Below are all the resources one needs to prove my point.
Thank you for reading,
- CIA declassified report on Luis Posada (The National Security Archive, George Washington University): http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB202/HSCA00000346.pdf
- Declassified FBI report on bombing of Cubana Flight 455, dated 7 October 1976 (The National Security Archive, George Washington University): http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB153/19761008.pdf
- Luis Posada Carriles – The Declassified Record at the National Security Archive (The National Security Archive, George Washington University): http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB153/
- The Posada File: Part II – Posada Boasted of Plans to “Hit” Cuban Plane (The National Security Archive, George Washington University). http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB157/index.htm
- A BOMBER’S TALE: Decades of Intrigue; Life in the Shadows, Trying to Bring Down Castro: http://www.nytimes.com/1998/07/13/world/bomber-s-tale-decades-intrigue-life-shadows-trying-bring-down-castro.html?pagewanted=1&pagewanted=print
- Cuban Exile Could Test U.S. Definition of Terrorist: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/09/national/09exile.html?_r=2&pagewanted=all
- Castro Foe Puts U.S. in an Awkward Spot: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/08/world/americas/08posada.html?_r=1
- Legal Victory by Militant Cuban Exile Brings Both Glee and Rage: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/10/us/10miami.html
- Venezuela Will Push U.S. to Hand Over Man Tied to Plane Bombing: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/23/world/americas/23venez.html
- Arrest of Cuban ex-CIA figure puts Bush in tough political spot: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2005/05/18/MNGIHCQRSP1.DTL
- Miles marcharon en Miami por Damas de Blanco: http://www.bbc.co.uk/mundo/america_latina/2010/03/100325_0041_marcha_por_damas_blanco_miami_lf.shtml
- A BOMBER’S TALE; A Cuban Exile Details the ‘Horrendous Matter’ of a Bombing Campaign: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C05E2D71531F931A25754C0A96E958260&pagewanted=all
- At home with Cuba’s public enemy number one: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-14206555
- Alleged Cuban Airline Bomber Free After Acquittal on Immigration Charges: http://www.democracynow.org/2011/4/11/cia_trained_airline_bomber_set_free