FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Bush, Posada and Dirty War Against Cuba

Former president George H.W. Bush recently died. Stories abound as to his civility and easy interaction with political associates and casual contacts alike. In Maine, where his family owns a summer home, the press highlighted such qualities and also his generosity. The assumption prevails that affability softened the hard edges of wielding power. Dark corners in Bush’s political life receive less attention.

The criminal Luis Posada Carriles lived in one of them. President Bush’s dealings with Posada reflected amorality, want of ethical principles, and dedication to preserving a world of privilege. The contrast between a decent-guy image and easy tolerance of blatant criminality is striking.

It’s a blight recalling the high-minded framers of the U.S. Constitution who owned enslaved people. Bush resembled the “gentleman” southern planter of pre-Civil War years whose hands were not often dirtied. An underling enforced the “pushing system” of industrial-scale cotton production. (1) Similarly, Bush himself didn’t perform the dirty deeds against Cuba.

On-call thugs were central to both projects: the overseer with a whip and Luis Posada. On September 7, 1988 Iowa Senator Tom Harkin exposed the connection between Posada’s crimes and Bush’s permissiveness.

Bush was running for president that year. Harkin, speaking in the Senate, announced that “the American voter deserves answers from George Bush to some tough questions about his and his Vice Presidential office’s relationship with a known international terrorist, Luis Posada Carriles.” (2)

He points out that Luis Posada Carriles and Felix Rodriquez were colleagues in a “White House operation” that in 1985 – 1986 delivered weapons from El Salvador to Contra counter-revolutionaries in Nicaragua. He adds that Posada “had spent 10 years in a Venezuelan jail for blowing up a Cuban airliner, killing 73 people, in 1976.”

Harkin continues: “So I ask, Mr. President: Can we really believe that Don Gregg never asked his former CIA colleague Rodriquez about either the secret supply operations or Rodriquez’s partner, international terrorist Luis Posada?” Gregg was Bush’s national security advisor.

Observing that Rodriquez was Bush’s “good friend,” Harkin asks Bush – who was not present and who never responded – “did you ever ask him about his associates and whether he had in his employ Posada?” Then as regards Cuba: “Mr. Bush, when you were CIA Director in 1976, did you ever investigate the role of Posada and other Cubans in the 1976 airliner bombing?”

According to Harkin, Bush “took a personal interest in this and a string of related anti-Castro bombings that shook the hemisphere that year, 1976.” He identifies Posada as an operative of the CORU group of terrorists responsible for the bombings. And Posada “worked for the CIA on contract as late as 1975.” Actually Posada “worked virtually full-time for the CIA from the Bay of Pigs invasion in April 1961 until 1967.” So, says Harkin, “the first step is to come clean about Luis Posada, the international terrorist.”

He concludes: “The Posada case demonstrates that you didn’t bother to use your offices and your International Terrorism Task Force to investigate the activities of a known international terrorist. Was it because, Mr. Vice President, of Posada’s ties with your ‘good friend’ Felix Rodriquez? Or was it because of Posada’s role in organizing the secret Contra supply operation run out of Ilopanga airbase [in El Salvador]? Or was it because of Posada’s past ties with the CIA, which you headed in the mid-1970s?”

During his tenure as CIA director Bush could have hobbled Posada the terrorist who had worked for or with the CIA. That didn’t happen. Posada had free rein to plot the airliner bombing, deliver weapons to the Contras, arrange to have hotels in Havana bombed in 1997, and try to kill former Cuban President Fidel Castro in Panama in 2000.

Harkin’s last question lingers, although answers fall short. Fabian Escalante, former head of Cuban intelligence services, provided insight, however. He claimed that Posada joined other Cuban-American assassination experts banded together in the CIA’s “Operation 40,” based in Miami. Escalante cited sources indicating that a few members of that group, Posada included, were present at Dallas’s Dealey Square on the day that President John Kennedy was killed.

Escalante suggested that Posada’s grim deeds go unpunished, because “he has a life insurance policy, which is what he knows about the Kennedy plot.”

In the end, it’s clear that President George H. W. Bush in normal circumstances was accommodating and adept at social niceties. It’s clear also that when the stakes were high – bringing down the Cuban Revolution, for example, or institutional loyalty, or both – opportunism took precedence over ethics.

In any case, dirty war against Cuba was a project far larger than the actions of Bush or Posada alone. Attacks on a wide front have been constant and probably continue. They are bereft of an ethical North Pole.

According to journalist Arthur González, scientists have recently identified the presence in Cuba of a new serotype of hemorrhagic dengue. That potentially fatal infectious disease has been endemic in Cuba ever since the 1981 appearance of a earlier serotype. The outbreak then, widely attributed to biologic warfare at the hands of the United States,sickened more than 344,000 people and killed 159.

González claims that U.S. operatives introduced the currently new microorganism. The purpose, he states, would be to disrupt tourism and force Cuba to spend money on controlling an epidemic rather than on solving current economic problems.

Tried in New York in 1984 for murders and terrorism, CIA agent Eduardo Arocena, a Cuban-American with terrorist associations, confessed to have introduced harmful biologic agents in Cuba. Many think he had a role in promoting the 1981 epidemic.  Gonzalez catalogues diseases of pigs, dairy cattle, sugar cane, plantain, citrus fruits, and coffee plants for which he blames the United States.

Notes.

1) The pushing system is the extraction of work through the use of oppressively direct supervision of enslaved people. See: https://pseudoerasmus.com/2014/09/12/baptism-by-blood-cotton/

2) Congressional Record – Senate, 100th Congress – 2nd Session, Vol. 134 No. 131, S 13037.

More articles by:

W.T. Whitney Jr. is a retired pediatrician and political journalist living in Maine.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
March 27, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Rob Urie
Bailouts for the Rich, the Virus for the Rest of Us
Louis Proyect
Life and Death in the Epicenter
Paul Street
“I Will Not Kill My Mother for Your Stock Portfolio”
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: The Scum Also Rises
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
Stimulus Bill Allows Federal Reserve to Conduct Meetings in Secret; Gives Fed $454 Billion Slush Fund for Wall Street Bailouts
Jefferson Morley
Could the Death of the National Security State be a Silver Lining of COVID-19?
Kathleen Wallace
The End of the Parasite Paradigm
Ruth Hopkins
A Message For America from Brazil’s First Indigenous Congresswoman
Anthony DiMaggio
Misinformation and the Coronavirus: On the Dangers of Depoliticization and Social Media
Andrew Levine
Neither Biden Nor Trump: Imagine Cuomo
David Rosen
God’s Vengeance: the Christian Right and the Coronavirus
David Schultz
The Covid-19 Bailout: Another Failed Opportunity at Structural Change
Evaggelos Vallianatos
In the Grip of Disease
Edward Leer
Somebody Else’s World: An Interview with Kelly Reichardt
Robert Fisk
What Trump is Doing in the Middle East While You are Distracted by COVID-19
Daniel Warner
COVID-19: Health or Wealth?
Thomas Klikauer – Norman Simms
Corona in Germany: Hording and Authoritarianism
Ramzy Baroud
BJP and Israel: Hindu Nationalism is Ravaging India’s Democracy
Richard Moser
Russia-gate: the Dead But Undead
Ron Jacobs
Politics, Pandemics and Trumpism
Chris Gilbert
Letter From Catalonia: Alarming Measures
Richard Eskow
Seven Rules for the Boeing Bailout
Jonathan Carp
Coronavirus and the Collapse of Our Imaginations
Andrew Bacevich
The Coronavirus and the Real Threats to American Safety and Freedom
Peter Cohen
COVID-19, the Exponential Function and Human the Survival
César Chelala - Alberto Luis Zuppi
The Pope is Wrong on Argentina
James Preston Allen
Alexander Cockburn Meets Charles Bukowski at a Sushi Bar in San Pedro
Jérôme Duval
The Only Oxygen Cylinder Factory in Europe is Shut down and Macron Refuses to Nationalize It
Neve Gordon
Gaza Has Been Under Siege for Years. Covid-19 Could Be Catastrophic
Alvaro Huerta
To Survive the Coronavirus, Americans Should Learn From Mexicans
Prabir Purkayastha
Why the Coronavirus Pandemic Poses Fundamental Challenges to All Societies
Raouf Halaby
Fireside Chatterer Andrew Cuomo for President
Thomas Drake
The Sobering Realities of the American Dystopia
Negin Owliaei
Wash Your Hands…If You Have Water
Felice Pace
A New Threat to California’s Rivers:  Will the Rush to Develop Our Newest Water Source Destroy More Streams?
Ray Brescia
What 9/11 Can Teach Us About Responding to COVID-19
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
The Covid-19 Opportunity
John Kendall Hawkins
An Age of Intoxication: Pick Your Poison
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
The Propaganda Virus: Is Anyone Immune?
Nicky Reid
Fear and Loathing in Coronaville Volume 1: Dispatches From a Terrified Heartland
Nolan Higdon – Mickey Huff
Don’t Just Blame Trump for the COVID-19 Crisis: the U.S. Has Been Becoming a Failed State for Some Time
Susan Block
Coronavirus Spring
David Yearsley
Lutz Alone
CounterPunch News Service
Letter from Truthdig’s Editor-in-Chief Robert Scheer to the Publisher Zuade Kaufman
CounterPunch News Service
Statement From Striking Truthdig Workers
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail