Very important news came from Buenos Aires earlier this week: The Supreme Court of Argentina has declared un-Constitutional certain laws granting impunity to those involved in crimes –30 000 desaparecidos– during the last military regime. This dramatic ruling opens the possibility for justice to be done in hundreds or thousands of cases still unresolved.
It comes ten days after an International Conference Against Terrorism for Justice and Truth was held in Havana with 681 participants from 67 countries that asked, among others things, for such steps to be taken. The Argentina decision hopefully may contribute to a process that should not be limited to that country. At the Havana Conference the international connections of Operation Condor were document, as was the role of such groups as CORU and the CIA in government sponsored terrorism and massive violations of human rights.
Ironically a number of the most notorious individuals involved in those criminal actions are now freely walking the streets of Miami, such as Orlando Bosch–regardless of now declassified official papers showing his connection with the assassination in Washington DC of Letelier and Ronnie Moffit.
On the other hand, Luis Posada Carriles is waiting for admission to join the club of welcomed terrorists. He has been in the US since March, a fugitive from Venezuelan justice for twenty years, his trial for masterminding the midair destruction of a civilian airplane and the killing of 73 innocents still pending. Instead of extraditing him to Venezuela, as required according to a number of antiterrorists Conventions, the Bush administration is handling his case as a matter of possible violations of immigration laws.
Adding insult to injury, it is assumed that Posada just entered the US by land from Mexico, just as thousands of poor Latinos attempt ever day,-alone and without any help. Does anybody really believe that? Or is this rather an effort to cover up a case of human smuggling– in this case of a notorious, self proclaimed terrorist–into US territory?
At the recent El Paso hearing, Posada was accompanied by, among others, Santiago Alvarez, a pretty well known anti-Cuba fanatic himself. Mr. Alvarez has been supporting Posada, quite openly, at least since Mr. Posada was arrested in Panama in 2000. Alvarez sent a plane to pick up Posada, when he was pardoned by the Panamanian President. It was Mr. Alvarez who announced, in March 2005, that Posada was in Miami. Since that moment Alvarez has been acting as his spokesman and he was the one that organized and chaired the press conference with Posada last May.
Since April, Cuba has been denouncing the fact that Posada entered US territory by sea from Islas Mujeres, Mexico, on board of the Santrina a boat owned by Mr. Alvarez. We base our accusation on what was published in a series of investigative reports by a local Mexican newspaper indicating that the Santrina entered that Mexican resort island by mid march to take Posada to Miami. The newspaper has quoted several witnesses and official records of what happened there just a few days before Mr. Alvarez announced that Posada was in Miami.
The Department of Homeland Security should be invited to answer some questions. How did Posada enter the US territory? Who helped him? What do they intend to do, if anything, to investigate such serious violation of the laws?
I believe that impunity must also be fought in the United States.
Ricardo Alarcon de Quesada is Cuba’s Vice President and President of its National Assembly.