The Guardian November 29, 2000


Attempt to kill Cuban leader foiled

by Gloria La Riva

Luis Posada Carriles, a notorious anti-Cuba fascist responsible for the 
bombing deaths of scores of people, was captured November 17 along with 
three accomplices after infiltrating Panama in an attempt to assassinate ŠCuban President Fidel Castro.

The Cuban Government has called for Posada's extradition to face trial for 
his many crimes against Cuba. But the US Government is pressuring Panama 
not to do it.

As the struggle unfolds, the Cuban people will undoubtedly mobilise until 
justice is served.

Posada is a well-known CIA operative. He contracted two Venezuelan men to 
place a bomb on a Cubana Airlines plane departing from Barbados in 1976.

The bomb destroyed the plane in flight, killing 73 people, including the 
Cuban national fencing team.

Posada has also boasted about his role in the bombings of four Havana 
hotels in 1997 — attacks that were financed by the Cuban American National 
Foundation and resulted in the death of an Italian tourist, Fabio di Celmo.

Castro, who had just arrived in Panama City's airport for the Tenth Ibero-
American Summit on Adolescents and Children, made an immediate declaration 
to the press announcing Posada's presence in Panama.

Castro revealed that Posada sneaked into Panama on November 5 with false 
papers and an array of weapons and explosives.

"I have the duty of informing you ... that terrorist elements, organised, 
financed and directed from the US by the Cuban American National 
Foundation, which is an instrument of imperialism and the extreme right 
wing of that country, have been sent to Panama City for the purpose of 
physically eliminating me" said President Castro.

He added, "I make this declaration upon arriving here ... to make it 
perfectly clear that no danger or threat can intimidate the presence of 
Cuba."

When a journalist asked him how Cuban security forces found out about 
Posada's presence, he replied, "We have many friends everywhere."

It is clear that Cuba's state security has not only friends, but a superb 
intelligence force that keeps a vigilant eye on right-wing terrorists 
intent on wreaking destruction on the socialist island and its leaders. 
These terrorists have been thwarted many times in the past.

On November 21, in the third roundtable devoted to the case on Cuban 
television, Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque revealed the identities, 
addresses, occupations and other vital data on each of Posada's 
accomplices, including several who have so far eluded capture.

He listed the cars they were driving in Panama, the routes they took and 
the weapons they possessed.

Six of the eight are Cuban-born, he said. Four are now US citizens living Šin the Miami area.

About 20 pounds of C-4 explosives belonging to the terrorist gang were 
found in the house of Jose Hurtado, Posada's driver.

Unofficial sources said they were supposed to be used at the University of 
Panama, where Castro spoke to thousands of students on the last night of 
his visit.

Posada was taken into custody by Panamanian police within hours of 
President Castro's announcement. He was using a Salvadoran passport under 
the alias of Franco Rodriguez Mena.

Cuba officially requested his extradition November 21 to face trial for 
numerous crimes, including the 1976 Cubana airlines bombing.

Posada was convicted in Venezuela for his role in the bombing. But he 
managed to "escape" from a prison there in 1985.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez may also request Posada's extradition to 
face outstanding charges for that crime.

Until his arrest, Posada travelled throughout Central America almost at 
will, sowing terror. For example, he supplied arms to the Nicaraguan 
contras in their war against the Sandinista revolution. Posada was 
sheltered by the CIA as he did its dirty work.

In 1997 Posada paid a young Salvadoran, Rene Cruz Leon, to plant bombs in 
Cuban hotels to intimidate foreigners from traveling to Cuba. Fabio di 
Celma, the Italian tourist, was killed in a bomb blast in the lobby of the 
Copacabana Hotel.

In Cuba, news of Posada's arrest was met with great enthusiasm, but also 
mistrust about what the US Government might do to free him.

There is a deep sense of anger that the US Government has not only 
harboured this terrorist but financed and supported him in its campaign of 
sabotage against Cuba.

This latest assassination attempt on Fidel Castro is part of US 
imperialism's constant war of aggression against Cuba.

Because support for Cuba is growing around the world, US imperialism may 
resort to more covert tactics to try to destroy the revolution.

Against these attacks, Cuba's strength lies in its ability to rally the 
masses in a united defence. As in the struggle for Elian Gonzalez, the 
support of workers and oppressed people in the United States will be key in 
this battle.

* * *
Workers World Service

Back to index page