Political Risk Latin America Blog @PolRiskLatam

Catch him if you can

Posted in News and Articles, Political Risk by politicalrisklatam on April 13, 2011

by The Economist – Americas View, April 12th, 2011.

One of the Cuban government’s most legitimate criticisms of the United States involves its handling of Luis Posada Carriles. A Havana-born Venezuelan citizen, Mr Posada helped organise the failed Bay of Pigs invasion that sought to topple Fidel Castro’s regime in 1961. He later headed Venezuela’s intelligence service, and worked for the CIA in operations to undermine Mr Castro and support Nicaragua’s right-wing Contra guerrillas. In 1976 two employees of Mr Posada’s private detective agency blew up a Cuban airplane, killing 73 people, including the country’s entire national fencing team. Over 20 years later he was implicated in a series of bombings of Havana hotels.

Mr Posada has largely managed to evade punishment for these crimes. He was acquitted by a Venezuelan military tribunal in the airplane bombing, and escaped from prison while awaiting a civilian trial for the same attack. He was recaptured and held without a conviction for eight years, but then escaped again. In 2000 Panama found him guilty of plotting to kill Mr Castro during a summit meeting. However, Mireya Moscoso, Panama’s president, gave him a controversial pardon shortly before she left office in 2004.

The following year, Mr Posada sneaked into the United States using false documents and sought political asylum. After Venezuela requested his extradition, he withdrew his asylum application and was arrested. Nonetheless, a Florida judge refused to deport him to Venezuela because of the risk that he might be tortured—a curious ruling, given that Hugo Chávez’s government has no significant track record of torture, while the conditions to which America subjected its detainees in Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo were already well-known. (continue reading… )



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