• One of the two perpetrators of the mid-flight bombing of a Cubana airliner that killed 73 people in 1976 talks about the crime to The New York Times and claims he was just a pawn in the schemes of Cuban exiles
BY JEAN-GUY ALLARD — Special for Granma International —
FREDDY Lugo, one of the two individuals hired by Luis Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch to destroy a Cubana Aviation airliner in mid-flight on October 6, 1976, and claims that he was just a pawn in the machinations of Cuban exiles, according to an article published on February 3 in The New York Times.
The article, signed by Simon Romero, the paper’s correspondent in Caracas, notes that 65-year-old Lugo has freely walked the streets of the Venezuelan capital since 1993, after serving 17 years of a 20-year prison sentence, and works as a taxi driver.
Posada is "an adventurer, capable of anything," Lugo affirmed, commenting that if he had never met one of Posada’s employees — Hernán Ricardo Lozano — a few days before the crime, he would have had a normal life.
"My life would have taken a completely different path," he said, adding that it was Lozano who recruited him for the conspiracy hatched up by Posada and Bosch.
At the time, Ricardo was working for a detective agency created by Posada under CIA direction, and carried out surveillance and photography work. That was how he met Lugo, who was a news photographer for local publications.
Ricardo was paid $16,000 to place a bomb on Cubana Aviation Flight 455, while Lugo was paid $8,000. The C-4 was hidden in a tube of Colgate toothpaste and was carried, along with the other components of the device, in a camera bag to be left on the plane, according to the Times article, which goes over several of the well-known aspects of what is known as the Barbados Crime, which killed 73 people.
Lugo said he did not know where Ricardo was, but believes he left Venezuela.
The article says that Lugo drives a beige sedan as a taxi, "his only source of income" and that he lives with his wife in an "elegant if decaying building on a quiet, tree-lined street… He says he avoids any involvement in politics."
The article continues: "Asked if he felt remorse over the deaths of 73 people, including many teenagers on the Cuban fencing team, Mr. Lugo said he did not. He explained somewhat cryptically that he considered himself manipulated in an act beyond his control. ‘I am a normal man,’ he said. ‘I am innocent.’"
A book recently published in Caracas by journalists Alexis Rosas and Ernesto Villegas about Posada, titled El Terrorista de los Bush (The Bush Family’s Terrorist), has brought to the public eye the demands by Cuba and Venezuela regarding the Barbados Crime, the article notes.
For some months, a U.S. grand jury has been investigating the ties between Luis Posada Carriles and the string of bombings in Havana in 1997. Meeting in Newark, New Jersey, the grand jury has summoned various members of the Cuban-American mafia who participated in financing the conspiracy to carry out those bombings.
However, it has not occurred to the FBI to ask a grand jury for a detailed investigation of the circumstances surrounding the Barbados Crime; even though Posada is in U.S. custody, his accomplice Orlando Bosch freely walks the streets of Miami, and individuals like Freddy Lugo continue to talk about that horrible attack.
Could it be that nobody in the United States is interested in the truth about that massacre, carried out while George Bush Sr., the great patron of the Cuban-American mafia, was head of the CIA?
"IN TIMES OF UNIVERSAL DECEIT, TELLING THE TRUTH WILL BE A REVOLUTIONARY ACT." - George Orwell