Comité Nacional por la Libertad de los Cinco Cubanos

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Cuban exile decried in symbolic tribunal

About 100 activists gathered for a `people's tribunal' to symbolically try Cuban exile Luis Posada Carriles on allegations that he orchestrated a spree of Havana bombings

by Juan O. Tamayo
Jan. 10, 2011
Reprinted from Miami Herald

EL PASO -- A "people's tribunal" on Sunday tried militant Cuban exile Luis Posada Carriles to focus attention on the many allegations of terrorism pending against Posada, although he goes on trial Monday only on perjury and related charges.

"This is not just something symbolic. We're pushing for real justice," said Gloria La Riva, coordinator of the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five - the spies arrested in Miami and now jailed in U.S. prisons.

Posada faces two charges of perjury, involving his sworn testimony that he was not involved in a spree of bombings of Havana tourist spots in 1997, and nine charges related to false declaration in immigration procedures. But he is not charged with the Havana blasts, which killed an Italian tourist, or the many other terrorist attacks and plots to which he has been linked over the past 50-plus years.

One speaker described the 82-year-old Posada, trained by the CIA in explosives in the 1960s, as "one of the most dangerous terrorists in recent history."

Participants also plan to protest Monday near the federal courtroom in El Paso, where Posada will go on trial beginning at 9 a.m. -- more than five years after his illegal entry into Miami, where he was arrested.

Court officials have said security for the trial will be tight because Posada's supporters from Miami and Houston are also expected to stage other demonstrations during the trial.

The "tribunal" held in El Paso's Unitarian Universalist Community Center drew about 100 activists, including former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark and others who flew in from Boston and Los Angeles.

Under a white and black banner that read, "Victims of Terrorist Posada Carriles and the CIA," the tribunal lined up photos of about 30 of the 73 people killed when a bomb allegedly arranged by Posada brought down a Cuban airliner in 1976.

Posada has denied any role in the airline bombing. He has at times confessed to the Havana bombings, at times denied them.

The "tribunal" also showed videos shot in Cuba of some of the relatives of the victims of the 1976 Cubana de Aviacion, and two of the Salvadorans who claim they were hired by Posada to set off the Havana bombs. [View the videos here]

La Riva said the cases of Posada and the Cuban Five were inextricably linked: Posada has been free to walk around Miami while the Five, who were sent to Miami to report on Cuban exile terrorists, linger in jail.

One banner hanging over the stage read "12 years in U.S. prisons, persecuted for stopping (underscored) terrorism."

The five also reported on U.S. military movements, and one was convicted in connection with Cuba's 1996 downing of two Brothers to The Rescue airplanes in which four South Florida residents were killed.

Also taking part in the tribunal was Keith Bolender, author of a recently published book on terrorist attacks against Cuba, and Brian Becker, national director of Act Now to Stop War and End Racism, a group created to push for an end to the war in Afghanistan. Participants said Jose Pertierra, a U.S lawyer who represents the Venezuelan government's request for extradition of Posada to face charges in the airline bombing, was in Cuba and would be arriving Tuesday.

For more photos of the Tribunal (which did not appear in the Miami Herald, visit the Facebook page of the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five).



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