Julia has a great post at Sisyphus Shrugged on Luis Posada, an anti-Castro terrorist who almost certainly was a mastermind behind the bombing of a Cuban passenger jet in 1976 that killed 73 people, as well as quite a few other violent acts.
As you may know from a New York Times front-page story that ran a couple of days ago, Posada recently slipped into Florida in the hope that he would be allowed to stay -- a not unreasonable expectation, given the support he and Bosch have been shown over the past 45 or so years by various government agencies and officials in this country. (See Julia's post for details.)
Ann Louise Bardach has written about Cuba for years and is the author of a book called Cuba Confidential: Love and Vengeance in Miami and Havana. Last month she wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post on Posada. He was jailed in Venezuela after the airliner bombing, but he
"escaped" from prison in 1985 after his Miami cohorts paid a $28,000 bribe to the warden. Three weeks later, he was in El Salvador, where Felix Rodriguez, a comrade from his early CIA days, was waiting for him with a very special job offer: to be his deputy in the covert Contra resupply operation directed by Lt. Col. Oliver L. North.
Bardach elaborated on this a couple of days ago in a radio interview with Amy Goodman:
He worked for Iran-Contra with Felix Rodriguez, he really ran the whole field operation. People forget that Luis Posada was Eugene Hasenfus’s translator. He was almost in that airplane that went down that brought Eugene Hasenfus. As Posada told me, you know, when everything hit the fan on Iran-Contra, it was him who ran through wherever they were, their safe houses and cleared out American military personnel. He said he destroyed documents. In other words, he said, “I saved a lot of embarrassment and scandal.” And I asked him, “Well, who knew?” I said, “Did the Vice President know? Did the President know about what was going on?” And he said, “Everyone.”
Which is why Posada wasn't reluctant to admit a terrorist killing in a series of 1998 interviews with Bardach that formed the basis for this New York Times story:
...The exile, Luis Posada Carriles, said he organized a wave of bombings in Cuba last year at hotels, restaurants and discotheques, killing an Italian tourist.
... he told The New York Times that American authorities had made no effort to question him about the case. He attributed that lack of action in part to his longstanding relationship with American law enforcement and intelligence agencies.
"As you can see," he said, "the F.B.I. and the C.I.A. don't bother me, and I am neutral with them. Whenever I can help them, I do."
Posada gave conflicting accounts of his contacts with American authorities. Initially he spoke of enduring ties with United States intelligence agencies and of close friendship with at least two current F.B.I. officials, including, he said, an important official in the Washington office.
"I know a very high-up person there," he said.
...Posada proudly admitted authorship of the hotel bomb attacks last year. He described them as acts of war intended to cripple a totalitarian regime by depriving it of foreign tourism and investment....
For several months the attacks did indeed discourage tourism. With a rueful chuckle, Posada described the Italian tourist's death as a freak accident, but he declared that he had a clear conscience, saying, "I sleep like a baby."
"It is sad that someone is dead, but we can't stop," he added. "That Italian was sitting in the wrong place at the wrong time."
But in this week's interview with Amy Goodman, Bardach said she thinks the climate has changed:
...when Posada first appeared in Miami, I called another prominent Miami politician who is very wired and feels very strongly and very supportive of Posada, and I said, “What’s going to happen?” This was on the very first day. And he said, he’s going to stay. I said, well, how could that be with his -- with all the outstanding -- you know, fugitive warrants and everything else? And then he said, he knows too much. And he said, they owe him. And that was the feeling very strongly. Now what I heard from another Miami politician, as I said, the day before yesterday was he thinks that things were going so badly in this last week that they just told Posada, get out of here. Go back to Caracas, go back to El Salvador, probably Salvador, that's really where his main base was.
I guess actually arresting and trying the sonofabitch would be too much to ask, but deciding not to let him stay is a baby step toward sanity.