Posada to address UM graduates
DRAFT OF SPEECH FOUND IN EL PASO TEXAS JAIL CELL OF LUIS POSADA CARRILES AFTER HE WAS BAILED OUT TO GRADUATING STUDENTS OF THE UNIVERISTY OF MIAMI
Graduation means time to face reality. So, get used to violent death. I don’t mean Virginia Tech. Take my case. Some people define me as a terrorist. I stand here today proudly and tell you I used violence to try to destroy the Castro dictatorship and free Cuba. And I will continue to try even in very twilight years.
President Bush has ordered massive killing for freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan. Over there, every day, American soldiers and Iraqis together kill several times the number of people who died in Blacksburg Virginia. This violent Christian fight for freedom has been going on for centuries. I am a crusader — like Bush.
Small minded people quote Bush saying, “He who harbors a terrorist is as guilty as the terrorist.” But he meant Arabs, not people who want to assassinate Castro, like me. In all modesty, I’m a patriot. Bush knows that. That’s why the Justice Department has not charged me with terrorist crimes. If killing supposedly innocent people became the criteria for terrorism then Bush himself would have to be accused of being a far bigger terrorist than me.
Bush and I make war against evil people, like Castro, Saddam Hussein and Hugo Chavez. It doesn’t matter if their children and women die in our noble cause. That’s what history has been about. Do you think brave crusaders cared about such sentimentality?
Look at what this country has done, not what its leaders have said. President Jefferson talked of freedom while condoning slavery. Wilson talked about non intervention while intervening in Mexico, Haiti and Nicaragua. Kennedy said: “Ask not what your country can do for you. Rather, ask what you can do for your country.” He said ask. But he didn’t answer the question, did he? In 1961, Kennedy claimed he wanted to free Cuba and launched me and my comrades to invade Cuba at the Bay of Pigs. Some of us stayed behind to kill the remaining communists after the invaders consolidated their beachhead.
Kennedy was a hypocrite. He talked the talk, as the colored people here say, but he didn’t walk the walk. That’s why some of my old compadres celebrate the day of his death. He chickened out at the Bay of Pigs and during the 1962 Missile Crisis when he could have liberated Cuba with U.S. armed forces and bombs. Instead, he shook hands with that fat Commie pig Nikita Khrushchev and agreed to leave Castro alone.
Well, I didn’t leave him alone.
(Wait for applause to die down)
Afterwards the CIA trained me at Ft. Bennning, along with my friends Jorge Mas Canosa, a great Cuban patriot — may he rest peacefully — who always supported me when I escaped from that prison in Venezuela where I was locked up after people ratted on me for blowing up the plane over Barbados. I’m not saying I did engineer that little job. But I’m not saying I didn’t.
(Wait for laughs to end)
I also want to thank my other Ft. Benning compadre Felix Rodriguez. Are you here mi socio? Well, thank Felix for capturing and killing Che Guevara in 1967. Bien hecho.
My career as a freedom fighter shows the difference between me and those Arabian monsters like bin Laden. I tried to bomb Havana, not New York. I tried to kill Castro, not Cheney.
I am wanted by Cuba and Venezuela but not by the CIA, that trained me to free my country, for who I later worked as a loyal and successful agent from 1965 through 1976. In the late 1980s, I helped Lt. Col. Oliver North re-supply the Contras to kill Sandinistas, Castro’s allies.
My CIA amigos helped me plan and execute assassination plots against Castro. I tell you this to illustrate reality and to warn you to plan your moves with precision when you go out into the world and undertake patriotic tasks to free the world from communism, Islamic fanaticism and sentimental liberalism.
The CIA made a beautiful assassination instrument for me in 1971 at the time Castro was traveling to Chile. Their lab people placed a gun inside a TV news camera so that when the cameraman pointed it at Fidel’s face and pulled the trigger the camera wouldn’t start filming, but rather, the gun would fire. A perfect plan. Only the man we hired was a coward. When he saw Castro’s bodyguards all over the press conference room, he couldn’t do it. I sent the camera to Caracas where Fidel would stop on his return to Cuba. Again the man we hired proved ineffective. But the CIA people prove to be true assassins in the cause of freedom.
Documents have been released which claim I alerted the CIA to my plan to bomb a Cuban commercial airplane over Barbados in 1976, a job I supposedly did with my friend and colleague Orlandito Bosch.
If I admit involvement, the U.S. government must charge me with terrorism. If I deny it, many of you will think I’m lying. What would you do? As graduating students you may face such moral dilemmas in your life. My lesson is: live with ambiguity, but don’t get distracted from your mission.
Do I feel badly about the passengers who died when the Cubana plane crashed? I quote Orlando Bosch who told a Miami reporter: “In a war such as us Cubans who love liberty wage against the tyrant [Castro], you have to down planes, you have to sink ships, you have to be prepared to attack anything that is within your reach.”
Why would I feel for the relatives of dead Communist Party members, North Koreans and colored people from Guyana along with Cuban fencers indoctrinated by communists. Those who had not defied Castro, nor left the island to fight from Miami are fair game along with those foolish enough to visit this war zone. We warned in the summer of 1976 that people traveling to and from Cuba, which helped glorify the tyrant, would run serious risks.
Those CIA released cables about me and Bosch say I was working for Venezuelan intelligence and informing the Agency. Listen to this cable. “A few days following the fund-raising dinner, Posada was overheard to say that, ‘we are going to hit a Cuban airplane,’ and that ‘Orlando has the details’.” That’s in the CIA report.
Nothing happened, however, until Freddy Lugo and Hernan Ricardo, those guys we hired, I mean allegedly hired, confessed they had planted the bomb and named Bosch and me as the planners. I admit I was careless. Learn from my mistakes. I left in my Caracas apartment some Cubana Airlines timetables. That’s poor tradecraft.
I made another mistake in the 1990s when some of us became desperate to finish off Castro because the U.S. government wouldn’t do the job. I’m not admitting I planned the bombing of Cuban hotels, which killed an Italian tourist. But I warn you graduating seniors: don’t shoot your mouth off to reporters. When those New York Times journalists Anne Bardach and Larry Rohter asked how I felt about that Italian dying in the bombing I said I slept like a baby.
In Panama, with my compadres Guillermo Novo and Pedro Remon — well, I won’t admit the C 4 plastic explosives were for anything but fireworks — our visits coincided with Fidel’s, if you get my drift. Panamanian cops found my fingerprints on the explosives.
So young students, in life you too will make slips. But even if you don’t succeed in achieving your ends, keep going and don’t let violence and death deter you from doing the right thing. You are not old enough to GAS (Geezers Assassination Society). At 79, I’m still practicing my profession.
For centuries, civilization has etched into stone the idea of killing for a good cause. So Viva Cuba Libre! Viva La Muerte and Viva my faculty friend who invited me here. I won’t mention names, but his initials are J.S. and he gets a well-deserved grant from a government agency to run a worthy project that will help all Cubans when we retake our beloved island.
(Raise fist, wait for applause to subside before leaving stage to retrieve walker)
POSADA IN HIS MIAMI BEACH APARTMENT
Luis Posada Carriles sat back and relaxed in the plush Biscayne Bay apartment rented for him by his friends Rafy and Chaffy. His pals and fellow members of GAS (Geezers Assassination Society) had gone through several ordeals together, plotting unsuccessfully but with great pleasure to assassinate Castro, with guns, bombs and poison.
Other Posada supporters and GAS members in Miami had offered to supply him with a young woman who would “help revive youth.” Posada allegedly replied to their offer by telling the old joke about the man who sends his father a present for his 80th birthday. A gorgeous young woman knocks on Papa’s door and announces: “Hi, cutie pie, I’m your birthday present. I’m here to give you super sex.” The old man squints through his thick glasses and replies: “I think I’ll take there soup.”
Posada’s friends agreed that a young woman should be sent anyway and they would all “see what developed.”
As they sipped their Cuba Libres made with Bacardi rum, not Havana Club they reminisced. In 1985, Posada recounted his “escape” from a Venezuelan jail. “Mas Canosa,” he told his chuckling friends, referring to the former leader of the Cuban American National Foundation (CANF) who had sprung for the money to bribe guards to turn the other way while he fled, “worked with Ollie North [Lt. Col. Oliver North of Iran-Contra infamy, was a National Security Council staff member] and got me a job in El Salvador. He paid me $3000 a month, not bad for those days, living in El Salvador. I had enough for good rum, a classy puta and some extra for a decent suit and hat,” he recalled.
The men asked the scantily clad young woman to refill their drinks. “Felix [Felix Rodriguez of the CIA had trained with Posada and Mas at Fort Benning after the Bay of Pigs failure] hugged me when I arrived. It was a riot, using money they got from dealing drugs to buy arms and send them to the Contras.” [This reference is backed by entries from North’s diary, published by Senator John Kerry: July 12, 1985, “$14 millions to finance [arms] Supermarket came from drugs.” August 9, 1985: “Honduran DC-9 which is being used for runs out of New Orleans is probably being used for drug runs into U.S.” CIA drug dealing appears in 250 diary entries.]
“I laugh when I read the statements that Bush and the others make about terrorism and morality. Our job was always the same. Get rid of the Commies or anyone else that stood in the way of life as it used to be in the good old days.” The men toasted and drank.
Posada knew that he had lived an exciting life. He talked about his youth in Cienfuegos, Cuba, how he had briefly studied medicine and chemistry at the University of Havana, and later worked for the Cuban branch of Firestone Tire and Rubber Company.
“I met Fidel,” he told his buddies. We were students and we both saw that politics is violence. But Fidel was so righteous, thinking he could take on Washington, the Mafia and making honest profits in business. He took all the fun out of life.” They drank a toast to the good old days.
“You know who trained me?” he inquired of no one. Before the [April 1961] Bay of Pigs invasion, the CIA taught me sabotage and explosives at the School of the Americas. They put me on Nino Diaz’s ship that was supposedly designed to lure Castro’s forces away from the invasion site. But I was trained to be like the Waffen SS in World War II, to clean up the Castroites village after village once the invading battalion had won. Few people know about this.” He sighed.
By early evening, the GASSERS had begun to feel the rum and told the young woman she could go home, so they could talk more freely. She said she had been paid for the whole evening and didn’t understand what they were talking about anyway.
Posada put her on his lap and told her about the late 1960s and early 1970s when he was operations chief of Venezuela’s secret police. “I had fun with the Venezuelan Fidelistas,” he laughed. “The few that left my office wouldn’t forget me.” [He had built a reputation as a master torturer, one who truly liked his work].
“Those were good days,” he announced. He had to leave that job when Carlos Andres Perez became president. He opened a detective agency, supposedly to catch shoplifters at supermarkets.
“I always told my CIA pals what I was doing and they helped me with information and other things I might need, if you know what I mean.” They laughed, thinking of the C 4 plastic explosives hidden in a toothpaste tube on the Cuban airliner that exploded over Barbados in October 1976.
“But Fidel had friends in the police force in Caracas. I was surprised when they raided my detective office right after the airplane bombing. I should have gotten rid of the documents I had about security at Cuban embassies and airline offices and all those schedules and route maps for their planes in the Caribbean. I even recognized some of my old pals in the raid. They said they were sorry, but orders came down from above. Fidel is one clever son of a bitch, getting his agents to organize a raid under the auspices of the Caracas police.”
As night fell the men became somber. Posada recalled how after the heady days of the Contra supply mission North helped get him a job as a security advisor to the Guatemalan government.
“You know,” he slurred, “I was working on a new plot to get Fidel. This was in February 1990. I was sitting in my car and some guy pulls up beside me and lets me have one right in the face. I still can’t talk right and my check still hurts. My buddy Mas Canosa paid for the surgeon and hospital, but the wound still hurts.”
The others offered sympathy. “Look at the injustice. I sat in jail in Venezuela. I got shot. I got arrested and sat in jail in El Paso fucking Texas last year and part of this one and I never laid a glove on Fidel,” he complained.
“I did scare people from going to Cuba as tourists,” he boasted. While I was still leaking puss from my cheek, I organized more than 41 bombings in Cuba. That’s something.” Chaffy put on “Quimbo Quimbumbia” Celia Cruz sang. Tito Puente played. “I thought we had the Commie bastards on the run in 1997,” Posada reminisced, “when that stupid Italian tourist got killed and a dozen people got wounded and that dopey Raúl Cruz León admitted he planted the bomb and I hired him.” A tear dripped from his eye. Sadness or the cheek wound?
As the music played, the young woman slipped off his lap and onto the rug behind a chair where no one noticed her. Posada changed the conversation to Panama, November 2000 when police arrested him with 200 pounds of explosives and said he was planning to use them to kill Castro, who was visiting Panama. “I worked with three great guys.” [referring to Gaspar Jiménez of CANF, Pedro Remón and Guillermo Novo, all GASSERS who had won their stripes through failed attempts to kill Castro. But they had killed others.]
After his sixth rum and coke, Posada announced: “I don’t hate Bush. After all, he helped me get out of jail in Panama when they paid past President of Panama Mireya Moscoso all that money.” He meant the alleged bribe of $3 million she received in August 2004 before she pardoned Posada and the other three convicted assassins. She denied any US pressure and scoffed at the idea that money deposited in her foreign account had anything to do with the pardon. Strong rumors in Miami had Florida governor Jeb Bush playing a key role in the deal.
“You know what disillusioned me?” he asked his pals rhetorically. “When I came here in April 2005, and asked for political asylum, they didn’t just give it to me.”
His pals agreed. “But,” said Posada, “I think Bush will do the right thing. You notice no one has charged me with the airliner bombing or the Cuba hotel bombings or the assassination plots? You know what kind of courage that takes from a man who has sworn that he who harbors a terrorist is as guilty as the terrorist?”
The men didn’t notice the young woman turn off her mini tape recorder and quietly leave the apartment.
This text was sent to Saul Landau, who sent it to Counterpunch.