US Arrests Suspected Cuban Bomber

The case of Luis Posada Carriles mixes Florida politics with the following question: Is the Bush administration harboring a terrorist?

Accused Cuban Bomber Arrested by US (Reuters)

US immigrations officials on Tuesday arrested a Cuban exile accused of bombing a Cuban airliner nearly 30 years ago and wanted by Venezuela.

“Today, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement took Mr Luis Posada Carriles (pictured) into custody, pending review of his immigration status,†said a Homeland Security statement. It said the Department of Homeland Security had 48 hours to make an official determination of his immigration status.

Venezuela has asked the Bush administration to deport Mr Posada to face trial for the 1976 bombing of a Cuban plane that killed 73 people.

Earlier, 1m Cubans marched in Havana demanding Washington extradite Mr Posada, who slipped into the US two months ago from Mexico.

Mr Posada denied in a Miami Herald interview any involvement in the plane bombing.

The presence in the United States of Mr Posada, a former CIA collaborator and longtime anti-communist activist, has presented US authorities with the dilemma of how to reconcile its sympathy for politically influential Cuban exiles with Washington̢۪s firm stance against terrorism suspects after the September 11,2001, attacks on the United States.

But it isn’t simply about Cuban American influence and the War on Terror. For quite some time now, the US has taken an adversarial stance against Venezuela, partly because Hugo Chavez has aligned himself with Fidel Castro. The Department of Homeland Security would hate to give the impression of acquiescence, as the Associated Press notes:

U.S. Detains Cuban Linked to 1976 Bombing

The department did not say what it planned to do with Posada, who is wanted by Venezuela and Cuba. But it said that generally, the U.S. government does not return people to Cuba or to countries acting on Cuba’s behalf. The department said it has 48 hours to determine his immigration status.

The administration has another option — one that does not appear in these reports but is mentioned in an op-ed by Peter Kornbluh and Julia E. Sweig (emphasis added):

Will U.S. Harbor Terrorist?

But with the credibility of the war on terrorism and the safety of U.S. citizens at stake, the United States has no other choice but to deport him to Venezuela or turn him over to an international tribunal in Europe. The evidence, contained in voluminous FBI and CIA files, of Mr. Posada’s unrelenting passion for violence is overwhelming and more than sufficient to reject his application for political asylum.

Read the entire piece for a laundry list of Posada’s misdeeds, as well as a summary of Bush Sr.’s previous actions.

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Robert Garcia Tagorda
About Robert Garcia Tagorda
Robert blogged prolifically at OTB from November 2004 to August 2005, when career demands took him in a different direction. He graduated summa cum laude from Claremont McKenna College with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics and earned his Master in Public Policy from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.


  1. ozzippit says:

    Let’s see if Fidel will swap Elian Gonzales for the bomber.