Harboring Terrorists

On September 27, Cuban state television aired a new kind of Reality Show featuring a strange “black hat” as people call the bad guys in the old oaters. Francisco Chavez Abarca, a Salvadoran neuvo-method actor,  played the role of Luis Posada Carriles’ top ranch hand – only he didn’t wear a six-gun or challenge John Wayne to a draw.

This baby-faced bomb-lover, arrested in Venezuela for traveling on a false passport, confessed he had come to Caracas to help stage violence before the September 26 congressional elections. And, unluckily for him, Cuba also wanted him. So, on July 1, Venezuela deported him to Cuba where he made his prime time Cuban TV debut. And what a performance! He calmly ratted out his boss: Luis Posada Carriles (aka Osama bin Latino).

In Marlon Brando casual-speak, and judging by his weight not under duress from any lack of food, the hit man told and showed the Cuban TV audience how he made the boom-boom devices and in which tourist hotels he put them. Melia Cohiba. Nacional. Capri.

Posada, he said, paid him $2,000 for each successful detonation. This was half of what he paid another Salvadoran bomber.

Otto Rene Rodriguez told us on camera for our film (“Will The Real Terrorist Please Stand Up” Dec. 2010) from a Cuban prison he only got $1000 per explosion. But he felt satisfied. “Not bad pay,” he said. “You get five days in Cuba, the whole tourist package, air fare and $1000 bucks [for one bomb], which was a lot of money then [1997].” So, Posada hustled Otto Rene, paying him half of what Chavez Abarca got. Is there no honor among criminals?

Chavez Abarca also strongly intimated that he thought, from Posada Carriles’ remarks  — he wasn’t absolutely certain — that the CIA had hired Posada.

Did Posada do “initials-dropping” —  CIA — to convince Chavez Abarca? Or did the Salvadoran thug-for-hire just want to to elevate his terrorist-actor status by invoking the sacred (if you’re in Opus Dei) letters?

“Posada bragged that before everything he did,” Chavez Abarca said to the camera, “he first asked the CIA’s permission.” But, Chavez Abarca added, I don’t know if it’s true.”

Cruz Leon, another of Posada’s Salvadoran recruits, showed the TV public how he hid his little bomb in the Copacabana Hotel. Just his bad luck, that an Italian tourist, Fabio di Celmo, took a piece of metal in the throat.

Posada admitted his authorship of the murderous deed to NY Times reporters Ann Bardach and Larry Rohter (NY Times July 12, 13. 1998). “The Italian was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Posada explained.

The reporters asked this confessed killer how he slept at night. “I sleep like a baby,” he replied. I interpreted that remark to mean he soiled his diaper.

These “freedom fighters” as they called themselves – threatening, maiming or killing those who disagreed with them — had “a strategic plan.” By blowing up Cuban hotels and other tourist sites in the 1990s, they would scare away tourists on whom Cuba depended for revenue in the post Soviet era.

Dressed in a white shirt, Chavez Abarca, a kind of criminal Ozzy Osborne, coolly told the camera about his explosive accomplishments. Cuban State security agents had previously busted four other Salvadorans  before Chavez Abarca for placing bombs in Havana. All of them named Posada Carriles as the master of this malevolence.

Posada Carriles currently awaits trial for lying to federal authorities on papers he filed with US Immigration in 2005. The US has thus far refused to try or extradite him to Venezuela for co-designing with Orlando Bosch the October 1976 bombing of Cubana 455. All 73 aboard died. Cuba has also accused Posada of several attempts to assassinate former Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

Posada denies all the charges – and scoffs at his boasts  to the NY Times reporters that he authored the hotel bombings. He only did it for publicity, to frighten tourists away from Cuba. What an imaginative guy!

Come to think of it, Cuba’s Reality show started 51 years ago. In 1959, groups of exiles began bombing Cuban targets. They never stopped using violence to regain their property, power, prestige and status; oops, I mean freedom. That’s what they call themselves in Miami: Freedom Fighters. Those who disagree get what’s coming to them.

For 51 years, the old Batista gang and their offspring have found Hannibal Lectors and lesser ghouls to do the bombing and shooting. Hey, everyone has to earn a living!

Posada Carriles even served some months in a US jail for violation of immigration procedures, but since 2007 he has lived in a comfortable Miami condo, holds regular fundraisers and has painting exhibitions.

At 82, in between visits to their proctologists and gerontologists, Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch, the psychopaths (people without empathy or codes of moral conduct) continue to conspire and get hailed as heroes in Miami. Those who disagree do so at risk.

Indeed, the US government respects the freedom of these powerful men to organize violent plots: terrorism means acts directed by Muslims against US people and property; not “freedom fighters” who kill and maim people in Cuba.

The previous President explained that those who harbor terrorists are as guilty as the terrorists. W’s defenders claim he didn’t know what “harbor” meant. But what’s Obama’s excuse!

SAUL LANDAU’s A BUSH AND BOTOX WORLD was published by CounterPunch / AK Press.