TERRORIST IN SEARCH OF CITIZENSHIP
While thousands died in Vietnam, Posada was torturing in Venezuela
BY JEAN-GUY ALLARD—Special for Granma International—
WHILE thousands of U.S. youth —many against their will— were sent to die in Vietnam, Luis Posada Carriles was being trained in counterinsurgency techniques at Fort Benning and later assassinated and tortured individuals in Venezuela where he was employed as a henchman in 1975 when the Vietnam War ended.
Today, the terrorist of Cuban origin is trying to falsely claim the title of Vietnam vet in order to give himself respectability in the eyes of the U.S. public and receive privileges granted by U.S. immigration laws by deceptive means.
Eager to assure his escape from justice by using anything to turn him into an "honorable" U.S. citizen, his lawyer Eduardo Soto keeps reiterating that his client was a soldier during the war on Vietnam, mentioning the years 1963 and 1965.
Posada in Vietnam? Where? When? How? "He does not appear in my research into Cubans in Vietnam," commented Cuban investigator José Luis Méndez Méndez, author of several books on terrorism against Cuba. "If Posada was in Vietnam and is a veteran of that war, let the CIA and the army prove it…"
If it is true that he was a U.S. soldier "during" the Vietnam War, there is not a shred of evidence that Luis Posada Carriles ever stepped on Vietnamese soil.
April 17, 1961, Posada remained on shore at the Puerto Cabezas dock in Nicaragua with the rest of the Operación 40 killers, while the mercenaries of the 2506 Brigade left for the failed Bay of Pigs invasion.
Nevertheless, on account of his participation in that disastrous adventure, in 1963 Posada did enter the U.S. army in the so-called Cuban Units, with the rank of 2nd Lieutenant and—like all the others selected — was sent to the Fort Benning military base in Georgia directed by the CIA.
There he learned counterinsurgency techniques and how to handle explosives —in other words: torture, assassination, and terrorism, alongside Jorge Mas Canosa and other individuals with similar characteristics and destinies.
Everything indicates that, in one way or another, the CIA took him out of there to fulfill dirty missions.
Reliable and documented sources place him with other Cuban Americans in Dallas when U.S. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dealey Plaza.
"SOLDIER" OF THE DIRTY WAR
According to the U.S. Defense Department, the war on Vietnam officially began December 11, 1961. Between 1962 and 1964, when the United States had more had 17,000 troops in Indochina, 392 U.S. soldiers died while Posada was learning to make explosive devices and teach others to make them in Georgia.
In fact, in 1964, Posada’s presence is noted in a camp in Collier County where the CIA trained mercenaries to infiltrate Cuba.
Later reports place him aboard the CIA mother ship The Venus, which engaged in operations in the Florida Straits.
A declassified CIA memo dated June 18, 1965, places him in Mexico, conspiring to blow up Soviet ships in the port of Veracruz. He later reappeared in training camps for "autonomous operations" against Cuba located in the Dominican Republic.
Meanwhile, that same year, the United States had 130,000 soldiers in Vietnam and the number of dead had shot up to 1,926, according to Pentagon figures. That is, the war was in full swing during the period in which the terrorist expects us to believe he was still enlisted in the army.
In October 1967, the CIA transferred Carriles to Venezuela where he infiltrated DIGEPOL (the political police) as a "consultant."
In his book Los caminos del guerrero (Paths of the Warrior), with a lie characteristic of the Miami mafia hero, Posada claims to have arrived in Caracas in 1969. "He’s a tremendous storyteller," comments Fabián Escalante, former head of Cuban State Security. "What happened is that (in 1967) he was a CIA informant and it doesn’t suit him to talk about that."
IN THE DISIP BASEMENTS
In 1968, the year of the Tet Offensive, 16,869 soldiers fell in Vietnam.
In 1969 Posada received Venezuelan citizenship as shown by his identification card –number V-5.304.069— the last digits representing the year of inscription — in order to become the bloody Commissar Basilio when the DIGEPOL came to be the DISIP.
In the DISIP basements Posada kidnapped, tortured, executed, and "disappeared" dozens of prisoners over more than six years. One source revealed that Posada and his personnel went as far as to eliminate the opposition by throwing its members into the sea.
Posada Carriles was DISIP Chief of Operations from 1967 to 1974. An organization founded by his victims has videotaped more than 80 testimonies documenting his actions, including the dramatic interview with Brenda Esquivel in which she recounts how, in July 1972, on Posada’s orders, she was savagely kicked in the stomach in a DISIP facility in Maracay when she was eight months pregnant, which caused her to miscarry.
More than 58,000 U.S. soldiers died in the Vietnam War, which ended in 1975, just as "soldier" Posada left the DISIP to direct the Industrial and Commercial Investigations Agency, a CIA front for Operation Condor. Soon after, he organized, with Orlando Bosch, his worst crime: the sabotage of a Cuban passenger plane in September 1976.
"YOU WERE FOUND GUILTY IN PanamA…"
"He never wanted to be a U.S. citizen before? Why?" asks José Luis Méndez. "He had little love for the country that took him in and for which he served with weapon in hand defending imperial democracy around the world."
"Without a doubt he’s a poor U.S. patriot… so why now? Could it be that as a CIA "operative" it was better for him to remain a John Doe so that the U.S. government could deny any knowledge in the case of a fiasco?"
"Like they say on the X-Files, the truth is out there," he added.
According to U.S. lawyer José Pertiera, U.S. law says that it is sufficient to prove that a person belonged to the military during a time of conflict in order to claim naturalization.
It is enough to have been an active member of the military. Eduardo Soto is clinging on to this.
However, even with those services to the "homeland," Posada does not qualify because a letter from the U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement agency dated March 22, 2006 declared him a national security threat, which Soto has tried to downplay.
The letter stated: "Moreover, on April 20, 2004 you were convicted in Panama for Crimes against National Security and Counterfeiting Public Records for which you were sentenced to seven years and one year of imprisonment respectively. Although you were later pardoned of these crimes by the President of Panama, a foreign pardon, in itself, does not have any effect in relation to U.S. immigration laws."
It clearly states that the pardon authorized by Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso in 2004 just before leaving the presidency did not change in any way the crimes committed, even though Eduardo Soto has tried to manipulate the issue.
It is crucial to underline an extremely important point: when Posada was "pardoned" in Panama, a prosecution appeal against the short sentence that Posada received was still underway. And the Panama anticorruption attorney is currently investigating his untimely release.
"Posada’s legal strategy appears to be to try and attenuate his terrorist past by arguing that although he committed the crimes cited by the Homeland Security Department in the text of its Interim Decision to Continue Detention, Posada was a "soldier" following the orders of his superiors in the CIA and the White House and therefore is not guilty of any crime," commented José Pertiera.
"However, the Nuremberg Trial of Nazi murderers clearly established that the legal responsibility of a criminal (far less that of a terrorist) is not mitigated by orders received by the accused from his superiors," added the attorney for the Venezuelan government in the extradition application for the criminal.
On July 6, the judge has to decide whether to grant U.S. citizenship to the former soldier, CIA agent and torturer "during the war in Vietnam."