HAVANA TIMES – Cuban anti-Castro fighter Luis Posada Carriles, considered a hero by his exiled compatriots and accused of terrorism by Havana and Caracas, died today in a home for veterans in Florida at age 90, informed his attorney, reported dpa.
His lawyer and friend Arturo Hernandez told the Miami Herald newspaper that the health of the former CIA agent has deteriorated since a car accident in 2015 in which he suffered several injuries.
“I’m very sorry, at least he tried to do something for Cuba,” Hernandez stressed, noting that Posada suffered from throat cancer for several years.
A little over three years ago, Posada appeared at a public ceremony of Cuban exiles in Miami organized to protest against the resumption of relations between Washington and Havana.
Born in Cienfuegos, Cuba, and nationalized Venezuelan, Posada insisted that his country “would not be a tourist paradise” and therefore called to “resist until the end”. “You cannot negotiate with bandits,” he said.
Posada was accused of dedicating a large part of his life to a series of attacks and destabilizing operations against the Castro government in Cuba as well as in Central and South America, which he repeatedly claimed not to regret.
According to documents from the State Department, Posada Carriles was trained by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the United States shortly after becoming one of the instructors in the failed invasion of the Bay of Pigs in 1961.
Cuba accused him of being one of the masterminds behind the worst attack the island suffered, against a Cubana de Aviacion plane off the coast of Barbados that killed 73 people in October 1976.
Posada was arrested in Venezuela, where they had their operations center, but a decade later, in August 1985, he escaped from the prison.
In Guatemala he was the target of an attack on February 28, 1990. Posada assured that it was organized by Cuba, although he acknowledged that many people had reasons to want to eliminate him.
The government of Cuba called him “the Bin Laden of the West”
The official media of the island announced today the death of Luis Posada, calling him a terrorist and describing him as the “Bin Laden of the West”.
The state television gave the news of his death today in Florida and related his history as an agent of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in operations against the government of Fidel Castro, but also in Central America and Venezuela.
“Terrorist Luis Posada Carriles dies,” headlined the newspaper Trabajadores, voice of the CTC, Cuba’s only legal union.
For its part, the official website “Cubadebate” noted that Posada “left his country of origin, Cuba, with the sole intention of ending the Revolution on the island” and said that he “dedicated his life to commit acts of terrorism of which innocent people were victims.”
The Cuban government always considered him as the planner of the attack against the Cubana de Aviacion flight, which in October 1976, exploded with 73 passengers on board, including many young athletes.
Posada and Orlando Bosch were arrested in Caracas by Venezuelan police, accused of organizing the air attack, but in 1985 Posada managed to escape from the Venezuelan prison while awaiting sentencing and settled in Miami.
“Posada died unpunished.” His abhorrent existence underlines in these days of pain that other tragedy, not accidental, which occurred in Barbados, 1976. “I hope that this vile worm has not passed to a better life,” Cubadebate editor Rosa Mirian Elizalde wrote on Facebook.
On repeated occasions, Fidel Castro came to consider Posada as the “most famous and cruel terrorist in the Western Hemisphere” and denounced that Washington protected him because of his links with the CIA.
Cuba also accused Posada Carriles of organizing several bomb attacks in Havana hotels in 1997, in one of which the Italian citizen Fabio Di Celmo died.
In the year 2000, Fidel Castro denounced that Posada Carriles planned to assassinate him during his participation in the Ibero-American Summit of Panama, for which he was arrested along with three other men and sentenced to eight years in prison. But four years later, Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso pardoned him shortly before leaving office.