Welcoming Cuban exile undermines war on terror
May 11, 2005
Editor's Note: On May 9, a federal judge dismissed felony immigration fraud charges against Luis Posada Carriles, a suspected bomber and alleged former CIA collaborator.
President Bush claims to be tough on terrorism. So why is his administration considering giving asylum to a man who, until recently, was in jail for plotting bombings and assassinations of a foreign leader and innocent civilians?
By most accounts such a person would be described as a dangerous terrorist not eligible for entry into the country, yet the Bush administration is allowing Luis Posada Carriles to walk the streets of Miami freely.
A Frankenstein's monster of the CIA in the mid-1960s, Posada is now demanding asylum in the United States because of the work he did for our government. His case exemplifies what the Bush administration is trying hard to hide: We harbor and protect suspected terrorists if they are on our side.
This double standard exposes the hypocrisy in the rhetoric of the "war on terrorism." For the Bush administration, what define a terrorist are not his actions -- including killing civilians -- but whether the person did it to support our government's policies.
Posada's resume reads like a script from a spy movie. According to declassified U.S. government records, he served with the CIA from 1961 to 1967. He is also a prime suspect in the bombing of a Cuban commercial airliner that killed 73 people in 1976. In 1985, Posada escaped from a Venezuela jail where he faced charges of planning that bombing. He also has admitted to setting up bombs in hotels in Havana that killed an Italian visitor in 1997.
Posada was convicted in Panama in a 2000 bombing conspiracy against Fidel Castro planned during one of Castro's trips to the country.
Eight months ago, the outgoing Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso pardoned Posada, along with three others. Those three others have been in Miami now for several months.
This is not the kind of person who should be granted asylum in the United States.
How can we as a nation claim any moral right for our international fight against terrorists if we receive convicted bombers and assassins with open arms?
The president should send Posada back to Venezuela for trial. To do anything less would mock Bush's war on terror.
Ana Perez is the Cuba Programs director at Global Exchange (www.globalexchange.org) in San Francisco. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.