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After a grand Jury in El Paso handed down an 11 point indictment April 10 against Luis Posada, superseding an earlier desultory prosecution for alleged immigration fraud, Posada might be extradited to Venezuela or tried for murder in the United States. This is a sign that Washington may be serious about dealing with Posada as murderer and saboteur.

The indictment overlooks Posada’s central role in the 1976 bomb attack on a Cuban airliner, killing all 73 people aboard. Nor does it cite arrangements he made for hotel bombings in Havana in 1997 and the explosion tearing apart the Copacabana night club that killed Italian tourist Fabio di Celmo.

Posada’s lies to investigators as to how he entered the United States in March 2005 led to a trial in May 2007 on immigration fraud. But Federal Judge Kathleen Cardone, citing prosecutorial incompetence, called that trial off, and Posada went home to Miami. Cuban émigré Posada, later a citizen of Venezuela, had served in the U.S. army and worked for the CIA.

An immigration judge had earlier refused to deport Posada to Venezuela to complete judicial proceedings aborted by his CIA-assisted escape from jail there in 1985. The judge relied upon the testimony claiming Posada would be tortured there. That the single witness was a former Posada business associate and collaborator within Venezuela’s intelligence service was kept from the judge. Had Posada been convicted of immigration fraud, he would only have been deported. Bush administration pleas failed in recruiting a country willing to accept him.

During immigration interviews in 2005 and 2006 Posada falsely denied knowing or assisting Raul Cruz Leon, the El Salvador hit man convicted in Cuba of carrying out the Havana bomb attacks almost 12 years ago. Allegations of perjury and obstruction of U.S. investigation of international terrorism form the bases for new criminal charges against him.

Posada will enter a plea in El Paso on April 17. Jury selection for a new trial begins on Aug. 10. Free on $350,000 bail until then, he has been ordered to steer clear of violence-prone Miami colleagues who may serve as trial witnesses.

Jose Pertierra commended the Obama administration for a “wonderful first step” in linking Posada to international terrorism.

Livio di Celmo spoke to reporters, emphasizing the power of available evidence demonstrating Posada’s responsibility for his brother’s murder. He referred to a 1999 UN report on the Havana bombings and declassified U.S. documents made available by the National Security Archives of George Washington University.

Livio di Celma had a tip: “The five Cubans that are in jail in the United States for having infiltrated these terrorist organizations … are the ones that could testify very well about the terrorist acts that have been going on against Cuba since 1959.”


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