Telesur (Caracas) – José Pertierra: “The United States would prefer to see Posada Carriles dead rather than extradite him.” – español
José Pertierra, the lawyer representing Venezuela in the case of the extradition petition for the terrorist Luis Posada Carriles, says that the U.S. Department of Justice is seeking a biological solution for the case. The solution is to prolong the trial, because “the more time that passes, the more probable it is that he’ll die and do away with the extradition case.”
“That’s why, at every opportunity, the prosecution asks for a delay, because the solution they’re seeking is a biological solution; they’d rather see him dead than extradited. It’s not that they want to kill him, but they know that he’s an elderly man and the more time that passes, the more probable it is that he’ll die and do away with the extradition case,” he said in an interview granted to teleSUR.
He also said that the U.S. Government is legally obliged to extradite the Cuban-Venezuelan terrorist, not to keep him in Miami where he takes part in political demonstrations.
Posada Carriles is responsible for the mid-air explosion of a Cubana de Aviacion airliner with 76 people on board in 1976, that had taken off from Venezuela for Cuba but after making a stop in Barbados was targeted in the plot that led to the extradition request.
The transcript of the teleSUR interview follows:
Does the President of the United States know that Luis Posada Carriles is a fugitive from Venezuelan justice?
Yes, he knows, and he protects him anyway. I believe for different reasons than those of Bush. Posada Carriles is a terrorist of the Bush family. When the Cubana airliner blew up in 1976, Posada worked for the CIA and the head of the CIA was Bush Sr. When he escaped from prison in 1985 in San Juan de los Morros, in the state of Guárico here in Venezuela, Bush Sr. was Vice-President of the United States and coincidentally, Posada Carriles began to work for the CIA just days after his escape, in an operation directed by Bush Sr. that later was known as the Iran-Contra scandal.
Why can’t Barack Obama rid himself of this terrorist?
Power in the United States does not necessarily reside in the Oval Office. The President has a certain amount of power, but there’s a lot of power in the shadows and within these shadows are the Pentagon, the CIA and people who have a lot to lose if Posada Carriles is extradited to Venezuela and begins to sing like a canary.
We’ve also seen on other occasions that every time Posada feels threatened, he threatens to sing.
What could Posada Carriles say that might endanger the U.S. establishment?
Posada’s not your run-of-the-mill terrorist, nor is he an ordinary CIA operative. Posada is a highly placed man within the CIA.
Posada was the CIA’s man in Caracas during the 1970’s, when he exercised his power as the head of special operations for the DISIP (Venezuelan intelligence), capturing, torturing and killing many here in Venezuela. He was also the CIA’s man in Central America, advising death squads in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
He was also a man who on several occasions participated in terrorist activities against Cuba, including the 1997 bombings, of which he himself boasted being the intellectual author. And as Posada’s own attorney says, everything he did during those years, he did in Washington’s name.
Therefore, if he talks, he’ll talk about who gave him orders.
What evidence is there that Luis Posada Carriles committed crimes in Venezuela? Are there enough classified documents to inculpate him?
We presented more than 2,000 pages of documents in support of the extradition request we made, which prove that Posada Carriles was the intellectual author of the airliner explosion. Among these documents is one that was given to the police chief in Trinidad just days after the aircraft explosion by one of the material authors, Hernan Ricardo, where Ricardo says that he placed the bomb on board. He says that he was paid $25,000 to do it and that his boss was Posada Carriles.
We also presented documentation showing telephone calls from Trinidad to Caracas by the material authors, in which Ricardo is looking for Posada Carriles to tell him that the bus – as they referred to the plane – had blown up and that the dogs had died – code for the passengers – and that he was in a huge mess in Trinidad.
There’s an enormous amount of proof. When Posada Carriles’ offices were raided here in Caracas in 1976, the flight itinerary for Cubana de Aviacion was discovered and we continued from there.
The court in El Paso, Texas, has evidence of Posada Carriles’ participation in a chain of attacks in Cuba in 1997, so why is he being tried as a liar and not as a terrorist?
Simply to delay the extradition request that Venezuela has presented. The United States is obliged by international law and the international conventions signed by the United States and Venezuela to either extradite Posada or try him in U.S. territory for his crimes.
Since this legal obligation exists, the only way that the U.S. government can delay is to try him for something else and drag out the decision on his extradition, and that’s what they’re doing with this case.
That’s why the prosecutor asks for an extension at every opportunity, because the solution that they’re seeking is a biological solution; they’d prefer to see him dead rather than extradited.
It’s not that they want to kill him, but they know that he’s an elderly man and the more time that passes, the more probable it is that he’ll die and do away with the extradition case.
If they extradite him, the fear is that he’ll sing.
The prosecutor even went to Cuba to obtain evidence from the 1997 string of bombings on the island.
At the end of January, the prosecutor went to Havana to look for the evidence about Posada Carriles’ links with the material authors of the bombings. There are two individuals in prison in Cuba who gave information to the prosecutor and there are documents from forensic specialists that show the kinds of bombs used by these individuals to kill Fabio diCelmo, an Italian, and injure eleven people.
Moreover, Posada Carriles boasted in an interview with the New York Times of being the intellectual author.
The curious thing is that, let’s suppose that he goes to trial and it is proven that he committed perjury when he denied knowing the material author René Cruz León, from the bombing that killed Fabio diCelmo, let’s go ahead and suppose that. If that happens, the next question is, why is he not being tried for the murder of Fabio diCelmo, through the terrorism that was committed using funds that came from Miami and New York to carry out the conspiracy to commit cold-blooded murder against people in Cuba?
Posada Carriles has said that he lied because the CIA taught him exactly how to lie, and that he was confused when he was interviewed in El Paso?
Yes, that’s what it says in the documents that Posada’s attorney presented in federal court; that he really ought not to be tried as a liar because the Americans themselves taught him to lie when the CIA trained him. It’s a very curious argument – I don’t believe it’ll succeed, but it’s very interesting.
It’s notable that the United States is fighting a war on two fronts worldwide, in its supposed struggle against terrorism, however, Posada Carriles is free in the streets of Miami. How can this be understood?
They are at a crossroads, feeling that if he’s extradited, he’ll sing, so they want to protect him, but this is extremely damaging, because it exposes the double standard of U.S. policy in this struggle against terrorism.
You can’t have a terrorist the likes of Luis Posada Carriles protected in U.S. territory and stand before the United Nations and say that you’re the great defender of liberty and that you oppose terrorism. You’re violating a mountain of international agreements, including U.N. Security Council Resolution 1373, approved at the urging of the U.S. government shortly after 9/11, which says that no U.N. member nation may protect a terrorist in its territory.
Yet while the United States continues to delay the case of Luis Posada Carriles, five Cuban anti-terrorist fighters remain incarcerated in U.S. prisons. How can this be understood?
The double moral standard of the United States is a distortion of reality and justice. Five individuals sent by Cuba to Miami to fight terrorism. Their raison d’etre was to fight against terrorists such as Posada Carriles, because they went to defend Cuba from the terrorism that Posada Carriles was causing in Havana.
It was the 1990’s; bombs were going off at the Tropicana, at the Hotel Melía, at the Hotel Nacional, at the Bodeguita del Medio, and all of it was organized by Posada Carriles.
The Cubans penetrated the terrorist organizations in Miami that were financing that campaign, Cuba handed the evidence of their participation to the FBI and the FBI, instead of arresting the terrorists, arrested the individuals who penetrated the organization in order to collect the evidence, and they are still imprisoned.
They have been incarcerated for more than twelve years in the United States and Posada Carriles, who is the Osama Bin Laden of Latin America, remains unleashed and unvaccinated on the streets of Miami.
Just a couple of months ago we saw Posada Carriles in the streets of Miami at a demonstration in favor of the so-called Cuban Ladies in White. What links exist between Posada and this group of people in Cuba?
There’s a strong link between the Ladies in White and Posada Carriles. That link is a man called Santiago Álvarez Fernández Magriña, who is the financial godfather of Posada Carriles.
This is the individual who has always paid Posada’s expenses and even went to pick him up in Mexico in 2005 with his yacht, the Santrina, in order to bring him illegally into the United States.
This same Santiago Álvarez has sent money to the Ladies in White, through the U.S. diplomatic pouch and the head of the U.S. Interests Section in Cuba; it is on film and has been publicly presented – I’m not saying anything new – it’s well known. What happens is that we often suffer from historical amnesia and forget things that happened just last week; but this came out recently on television, internationally, so I’m not surprised when Posada Carriles comes out on the streets of Miami in favor of the Ladies in White.
What’s worrisome is that this kind of terrorist is able to participate freely in political actions. Can you imagine the scandal if Osama Bin Laden were to come out to the streets of Pakistan, marching in favor of so and so’s widow? The United States would be capable of launching an atomic bomb, but in Miami such a thing happens with impunity.
Representatives of the U.S. National Lawyers Guild have denounced that the government even went so far as to pay journalists to create this adverse climate against the Cuban Five in Miami.
I don’t think they’d have to pay journalists in Miami to disparage Cuba, I think that in Miami that’s like breathing, the atmosphere in Miami is soaked with prejudice against Cuba, it’s impossible to hold a fair and objective trial in Miami.
That’s why the most glaring error committed by the judge in the case of the Five was to refuse to change the venue for the case. If I had been aired in another part of the United States, there’s no way these five would have been found guilty. None of them had classified documents, none of them tried to penetrate any U.S. government agency, totally to the contrary – they were penetrating Cuban American terrorist organizations in Miami. And only in Miami is it possible that a jury, called by the court, could unanimously condemn these individuals. It’s a huge injustice. I don’t believe any journalist needed to be paid.
This June 14th, a Habeas Corpus petition was presented on behalf of Gerardo Hernández, one of the five Cubans who is imprisoned in the United States. What are the prospects for an initiative like this in the U.S. justice system?
It’s the last legal recourse remaining to Gerardo, who was sentenced to two life sentences plus 15 years. The Supreme Court refused to hear his case. Habeas Corpus is the only recourse that remains. There’s a huge injustice in his case, which was not changing the venue for the trial and the errors committed by the prosecutor in which the jury was prejudiced against Gerardo.
It’s possible, although very difficult. I believe that the solution, not just for Gerardo but for the Five in general, is a political solution. I think Gerardo himself has said so, that the millions of citizens who are indignant about what has happened with them are the ones who have the keys to the jail cell in their hands, in order to make the President of the United States extend executive clemency, reducing these excessive sentences and setting them free.
Obama doesn’t even have to pardon them, all he has to do is reduce their sentences and they can go free just like the Puerto Rican independence fighters Lolita Lebron, Cancel Miranda, who were freed by President Jimmy Carter after their sentences were reduced. Carter did this for his own reasons, that were followed by reciprocal gestures afterwards. The same could happen here.
There are also people imprisoned in Cuba in which the United States might be interested. I’m sure, if the U.S. Government were to make a humanitarian gesture toward the Five, Cuba would do the same with people imprisoned in Cuba; Raúl Castro himself has said so.
This is a reference to the supposed contractor who went to Cuba with the express strategy of subverting order on the island?
He is one of the prisoners in Cuba, it should be mentioned that this gentleman is in prison for participating in a program whose purpose is subversion in Cuba, and the United States has expressed interest in his liberation.
Hopefully, he won’t spend a lot of time imprisoned in Cuba and Cuba will release him, but hopefully President Obama will release the Five. Do you understand me? There ought to be some reciprocity.
I’m sure that Mr. Alan Gross has family in the United States who miss him and want to be with him, just like Gerardo has his wife Adriana, who he hasn’t seen in twelve years and who wants Gerardo to return.
I believe we have to get beyond the Cold War. I believe that we have to arrive at a moment where we might have prisoners in our prisons who might be considered political prisoners by both governments, that this should be past history.
Beyond desires to overcome the Cold War, it’s an undeniable fact that just a few days ago the U.S. Government released millions of dollars to undermine order in Cuba.
It surprised me that they’d liberated that amount of money while the contractor (Gross) remains a prisoner, because I asked myself, “How can they ask for the liberation of this gentleman if they are continuing with their program to send even more contractors?” I don’t understand it but that’s something that President Obama has to evaluate.
President Obama has to understand that you don’t get to the White House to be something, but to do something, and if not, why did he want to be President of the United States? Until now he’s shown himself to be very interested in making deals with the extreme rightwing, rather than confronting them and doing the right thing, in pursuing a different policy toward Latin America.
What he did in Honduras was very disappointing, but he still has time left in his presidency to change things, he still has time to eliminate the blockade, to free the Five, to extradite Posada. If the extreme rightwing doesn’t like it, too bad, but Obama’s the president, not the extreme rightwing.
Sometimes I ask myself if Obama had been president during the era of Abraham Lincoln, would he have had the courage to go to war with the southern states, or would he have reached some kind of negotiated agreement with them?
Machetera is a member of Tlaxcala, the international network of translators for linguistic diversity. This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the author, source and translator are cited.