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The terrorist in Texas

14 January 2011

“Border Explorer” Billie Greenwood posted yesterday on her interactions with accused terrorist Luis Posada Carriles, the only known suspected terrorist to have entered the United States from Mexico.   Posada  has bragged for years about his role in blowing up a civilian airliner and murdering 74 people, as well as a hotel (killing a foreign tourist) was a C.I.A. operative (Tracy Eaton at Along the Malecón — who has been following this story closely — links to CIA documents on Posada’s employment by the United States government), but has been living openly (and feted) in Miami since 2005.

The Cuban-born Posada was separated from the C.I.A. (by his own, or his employer’s volition isn’t clear) after his connections to gangsters became known. He moved to Venezuela (taking several office supplies, mostly of the firearms variety with him) where, as a naturalized Venezuelan citizen, he became a high ranking official of that country’s intelligence service. And — making a detour into a plot to assassinate U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (for suggesting the U.S. and Cuba might, as with China and the Soviet Union, have at least normal diplomatic relations) as well as several other terrorist plots throughout Central America and the Caribbean, eventually ended up in a Panamanian prison after he was caught with 2000 pounds of explosives with which he intended to blow the visiting Fidel Castro (and anyone in the vicinity, which would have included several leaders of several American nations) into orbit.

Cuba and Venezuela both requested his extradition, but instead, Panamanian President Miriam Moscone, on her last day in office, pardoned Posada and set him free. It might be mentioned that the President of Panama doesn’t have the power to pardon prisoners, but by the time anyone noticed the “technical problem” he had disappeared.

Resurfacing in Miami, Posada requested political asylum in May 2005. Something of an international embarrassment, given the United States’ stand on foreign terrorism, and a signatory  (and originator) of several international agreement under which nations are obliged to try international terrorists in their own country if they will not or cannot be tried in the country where the crimes occurred.  Posada’s attorney’s argued that Venezuela might torture him, and the Cubans execute him… something many in the U.S. believe is foolish when other countries refuse to extradite criminals who face capital crimes in the U.S.

If so, then he should be tried in the United States, but — that has proved impossible in the super-heated political climate of Miami.  Perhaps luckily… Posada is said to have illegally entered the United States, supposedly at El Paso, and he can be tried out in the west Texas desert town.   Although his attorney would like to make it a trial about Posada Carrile’s role as a “freedom fighter” against Cuban communism, he is only charged with illegal entry into the United States from Mexico — which he also apparently entered illegally— and lying on his asylum application.

There hasn’t been much mention of this in the Mexican media, although it is being covered throughout Latin America.  While it is within the realm of possibility that having entered from Mexico, the U.S. would just throw him back, and “suggest” holding off on any extradition to one of the several countries where he is wanted for criminal offenses.  I don’t see that happening, not with the conservatives already on the defensive over perceived bungling of security issues (and with the Calderón Administration having decided cleaning up corruption in the immigration service is the national priority de jour).  Due to his advanced age (he’ll be 83 next month) Posada Carriles can’t be incarcerated here, but I don’t see Mexico taking in this toxic waste of a human being.

My predictions:  he will be found guilty, but the U.S. will drag its feet deporting him (hoping for nature to take its course) or he’ll be sent to Panama.  After all, after the ex-Shah of Iran showed up in Mexico for a couple of weeks, that’s where he went.  He probably would have died there, but feared that the relatively enlightened Panamanian government under Omar Torrijos  might have considered extradition requests from the new Islamic Republic and the ex-Shah ended up fleeing to Egypt.   With the present government in Panama, there’s no worries about enlightenment.  And the gangsters running that unhappy country, who make Mexican corruptos look like Des Moines Sunday School teachers, might find a use for the old man’s … eh… talents.

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