Saturday, April 09, 2011

Anti-Castro CIA operative acquitted of lying about entering U.S.

Apr 08, 2011
By Michael Winter, USA TODAY

In El Paso, Texas, this afternoon, an 83-year-old Cuban who worked decades for the CIA trying to violently topple Fidel Castro and other leftist Latin Americans has been acquitted of lying to U.S. immigration officials about how he entered the country in 2005 after being pardoned for plotting to kill Castro in Panama.

The Associated Press reports that Luis Posada Carriles, a top figure in militant exile groups, smiled broadly at the jury verdict on all 11 counts of perjury, immigration fraud and obstruction of justice. He hugged his three attorneys, one of whom wept.

During the 13-week trial, prosecutors argued that Posada had lied about sneaking into the country in March 2005, months after the pardon. The government also said he lied by denying that he had masterminded a hotel bombings in Cuba in 1997 that killed a tourist and wounded 12 other people. In a 1998 New York Times interview he said he planned the attacks, but later recanted.

Declassified CIA and FBI documents identify him as an "engineer" of the 1976 terrorist bombing of a Cubana Airlines flight that killed 73 passengers.

Posada participated in the doomed 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion, and helped the Reagan administration funnel support to Nicaraguan Contra rebels in the 1980s. He was convicted of plotting to kill Castro during a 2000 summit of Latin leaders, and was pardoned in 2004 by Panama's president.

A U.S. immigration judge orderedPosada deported in 2005, but ruled out Cuba or Venezuela because of fears he might be tortured. No other country has accepted him. He was freed on bond in 2007 and traveled to Miami, where he has sought asylum.


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