Remember this name: Luis Posada Carriles.
Remember this date: October 6, 1976.
Because to Cubans, that date is their 9-11. And that man is their Osama bin Laden.
On October 6, 1976, Luis Posada Carriles and an accomplice, Orlando Bosch, became the murderers of 73 people. At the time, both were active in the Venezuelan intelligence service, Disip. (He was also still in regular contact with the CIA, although he was no longer officially an asset by then.) They planted a bomb on board a Cuban airliner, Cubana CUT-1201, designated Flight 455; the plane blew up shortly after takeoff from Bridgetown, Barbados, killing everyone on board. One of their hired bomb-planters later called Bosch to report that the plan had succeeded, in the following manner: “A bus with 73 dogs went off a cliff and all got killed.” As for Bosch, he made excuse for this act of terrorism in 1987 with the unbelievable utterance, “All of Castro’s planes are warplanes.”
Even innocent civilian passenger planes, it seems, are fair game to a terrorist. Osama would be proud.
And just like Osama, Carriles is the terrorist George W. Bush won’t arrest.
Bosch and Carriles have both spent plenty of time behind bars since that day, but it has hardly slowed either of them down in their terroristic profession. Carriles, in particular, has been a busy boy; in 1985 he escaped, thanks to bribery, from the Venezuelan prison where he was serving out his sentence for the Cubana bombing. Shortly thereafter, he took the alias of “Ramon Medina”, and became active in Oliver North’s infamous Iran-Contra scheme, as a deputy to another anti-Castro Cuban thug, Max Gomez, a.k.a. Felix Rodriguez, airlifting weaponry to the right-wing Contra terrorists in Nicaragua. And in 1999, he and three others attemped to assassinate Fidel Castro while the latter was attending a summit in Panama. The following year, Carriles was pardoned (on “humanitarian grounds”!) for that crime by the outgoing (and shockingly corrupt) then-president of Panama, Mireya Moscoso. That little incident resulted in Cuba cutting off relations with Panama. (Word has it that Moscoso always was tight with the Cuban conservatives, despite being elected on a platform of anti-poverty and social justice rhetoric; it is well known that she has a home in Key Biscayne, Florida.)
Now it seems Carriles has found a new cesspool to ooze about in: Miami. Yep, Jeb Bush’s Florida. And he got in from–get this!–Mexico. If the Minutemorons out there on the Arizona/Mexico border aren’t a bit chagrined by this, they should be. They’re sitting out in the pitiless desert sun like the saps they are, watching for skulking figures between the cacti; meanwhile, a wealthy Cuban developer was giving this bona fide terrorist a ride to Miami from the resort of Isla Mujeres on his yacht. While they’re busy chasing starving wetbacks, this former CIA asset (who used to be paid US$300 a month for his anti-Castro services) is whooping it up in Little Havana, even applying for political asylum.
And, sad to say, he’ll probably get it–for the same reason Osama got away with 3,000 murders on 9-11: He’s ex-CIA. Never mind that the FBI has a dossier on him that reaches from floor to ceiling; he’ll never be apprehended as the criminal he is, let alone extradited to Venezuela to face the justice of Hugo Chavez (which is bound to be harsh, seeing as Chavez and Castro are on excellent terms.) He’ll never see justice any more than Osama will. The FBI can sound the alarm on both of them until the entire organization is collectively blue in the face. It won’t matter. Both are safe as flies in an outhouse.
If ever you need proof that nobody in the Bush Administration–or, for that matter, the entire Republican party–really gives a flying fig about terrorism, this is it. They didn’t care that they were arming those who were, by their own definition, terrorists (in at least two countries!) back when Reagan was in power. They didn’t care that they were creating them in Afghanistan back then, either. They didn’t care that they had one on the CIA payroll from 1960 to 1976. In fact, George H.W. Bush was probably glad to have Carriles aboard. After all, he was CIA, too. He blocked the extradition of Carriles’ old accomplice, Orlando Bosch, in 1990. And, like Mireya Moscoso, he issued a scandalous mass pardon shortly before leaving office: six truly egregious Iran-Contra villains on his way out of the White House in December 1992.
Meanwhile, the 77-year old Carriles may be reaching the bottom of the sand in his hourglass. He’s said to be dying of cancer. The question is, where will the Grim Reaper finally give him his just reward for all that terrorism–in Miami, or in a Venezuelan prison?
So now Dubya is caught in a most unwelcome dilemma: Should he appease the right-wing Cuban mafia of Miami, as he has always done, and as his father did before him? Or should he break with Republican tradition and actually follow through on his heretofore empty rhetoric about the importance of fighting terrorism? Whichever he does, he’s bound to piss somebody off in the worst way, and compromise his entire house of cards in the process.
And I say it looks damn good on the little hypocrite.