A Very Important Liar

Luis Posada Carriles is a real VIP enjoying unique courtesies and privileges not offered to other dignitaries and celebrities. But he is also a self-confessed and duly certified international terrorist.

Posada began his long carrier with the early actions against the Cuban Revolution, including the Bay of Pigs fiasco and several years as the CIA man in Venezuelan political police where he became a leader of some conspicuous torturers;

Posada was sought by Interpol, since he escaped from a Venezuelan prison in 1985 – Hugo Chávez was still an unknown young man – while on trial for masterminding the first destruction ever of a civilian airplane in midair and the murder in cold blood of 73 human beings;

Posada emerged immediately in Central America as a key figure in the Iran-Contra scam, being mentioned several times during the US Senate investigation and in Oliver North’s notebook;

Posada published his autobiography – a Miami bestseller – and has appeared many times in the local and US media;

Posada twice landed on the front page of The New York Times, in consecutive issues, describing his responsibility in the bombing campaign in Cuba in the 1990s;

Posada was found guilty by a Panamanian tribunal of crimes associated with a plot to bomb the University in order to kill Fidel Castro and hundreds of students and professors; being illegally  pardon by the President of Panama, on the eve of her last day in office and after receiving special emissaries sent in a hurry by George W. Bush;

Posada again went into “hiding” somewhere in Central America, but maintained constant communication with his pals in the Cuban American National Foundation and other terrorist groups and collected money from frequent well publicized fundraisings.

Yes, it’s been a long career of infamy, always on behalf of US goals and interests as proudly proclaimed by his Miami lawyer.

If we are to believe his words all through that period Posada has visited the US several times, although unnoticed. One day he decided to settle there for good. After all, his family has been residing in Miami for decades.

And then he went back home.

Posada Carriles entered Florida in March 2005, clandestinely, without a US visa, like millions of Latinos try to do unsuccessfully time and again. But he was not arrested, much less deported. The story of how he did it in the Santrina boat with the help of his US based terrorist network was described in a Yucatan newspaper, “Por Esto”, in a story widely disseminated through the continent. Everybody knew it except the Bush Administration, which insisted for two months that they knew nothing about his whereabouts–until, that is, Posada convened a press conference in May to announce his willingness to continue waging from Miami his total warfare against the Cuban Revolution.

Having no other option, the Bush Administration detained Posada and took him to the immigration facility in El Paso, where they had prepared for him VIP quarters, completely separated from the general population, with special food and amenities of every sort, even the possibilities to meet friends and journalists. Posada’s only grumble: the US protocol failed to provide him Cuban guava pastries.

According to official papers submitted by the US Government to migratory Courts, Washington deployed strenuous diplomatic efforts trying to convince other countries to grant shelter and protection to Posada. American diplomats approached governments in Central and South America and even in Europe asking them to receive the notorious VIP. Without exception the answer always was: No thanks.

Ironically Washington has yet to answer the diplomatic note presented by Venezuela on June 15, 2005 for his detention and subsequent extradition to Caracas in accordance with the Extradition Treaty existing between both countries.

The Bush Administration, and so far his successor, choose to accuse him of being a liar and entered in a deliberately confused litigation with Mr. Posada for allegedly not being truthful with immigration officials about how he entered the country. As a result, an administrative Court sent Posada home to keep comfortable, arguing for his formal admission by authorities who have shown such unparalleled patience and understanding.

How many undocumented poor Latinos have had that opportunity? How many of them have, in the meantime, been freed and allowed to walk away unmolested and do whatever they want to?

Posada doesn’t complain anymore. He is a free man in Miami eating plenty of guava pastries.

RICARDO ALARCÓN de QUESADA is president of the Cuban National Assembly.

Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada has served as Cuba’s UN ambassador, Foreign Minister and president of the National Assembly.