Terrorists in Miami, Oh My!


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

Terrorists in Miami, Oh My!
By Robert Parry
June 24, 2006

The Bush administration finally took action against alleged terrorists living in
plain sight in Miami, but they weren¹t the right-wing Cuban terrorists 
implicated in actual acts of terror, such as blowing a civilian Cuban airliner 
out of the sky. They were seven young black men whose crime was more 
³aspirational than operational,² the FBI said.

As media fanfare over the arrests made the seven young men, many sporting 
dreadlocks, the new face of the terrorist enemy in America, Attorney General 
Alberto Gonzales conceded that the men had no weapons or explosives and 
represented ³no immediate threat.²

But Gonzales warned that these kinds of homegrown terrorists ³may prove to be as
dangerous as groups like al-Qaeda.² [NYT, June 24, 2006]

For longtime observers of political terrorism in South Florida, the aggressive 
reaction to what may have been the Miami group¹s loose talk about violence, 
possibly spurred by an FBI informant posing as an al-Qaeda operative, stands in 
marked contrast to the U.S. government¹s see-no-evil approach to notorious Cuban
terrorists who have lived openly in  Miami for decades.

For instance, the Bush administration took no action in early April 2006, when a
Spanish-language Miami television station interviewed Cuban terrorist Orlando 
Bosch, who offered a detailed justification for the 1976 mid-air bombing of a 
Cubana Airlines flight that killed 73 people, including the young members of the
Cuban national fencing team.

Bosch refused to admit guilt, but his chilling defense of the bombing ­ and the 
strong evidence that has swirled around his role ­ left little doubt of his 
complicity, even as he lives in Miami as a free man, protected both in the past 
and present by the Bush family.

The Bush administration also has acted at a glacial pace in dealing with another
Cuban exile implicated in the bombing, Luis Posada Carriles, whose illegal 
presence in Miami was an open secret for weeks in early 2005 before U.S. 
authorities took him into custody, only after he had held a press conference.

But even then, the administration has balked at sending Posada back to Venezuela
where the government of Hugo Chavez ­ unlike some of its predecessors ­ was 
eager to prosecute Posada for the Cubana Airlines murders.

Summing up George W. Bush¹s dilemma in 2005, the New York Times wrote, ³A grant 
of asylum could invite charges that the Bush administration is compromising its 
principle that no nation should harbor suspected terrorists. But to turn Mr. 
Posada away could provoke political wrath in the conservative Cuban-American 
communities of South Florida, deep sources of support and campaign money for 
President Bush and his brother, Jeb.² [NYT, May 9, 2005]

Bush Family Ties

But there¹s really nothing new about these two terrorists ­ and other violent 
right-wing extremists ­ getting protection from the Bush family.

For three decades, both Bosch and Posada have been under the Bush family¹s 
protective wing, starting with former President George H.W. Bush (who was CIA 
director when the airline bombing occurred in 1976) and extending to Florida 
Gov. Jeb Bush and President George W. Bush.

The evidence points to one obvious conclusion:  the Bushes regard terrorism ­ 
defined as killing civilians to make a political point ­ as justified in cases 
when their interests match those of the terrorists. In other words, their moral 
outrage is selective, depending on the identity of the victims.

That hypocrisy was dramatized by the TV interview with Bosch on Miami¹s Channel 
41, which was cited in articles on the Internet by Venezuela¹s lawyer José 
Pertierra, but was otherwise widely ignored by the U.S. news media. [For 
Pertierra¹s story, see Counterpunch, April 11, 2006]

³Did you down that plane in 1976?² asked reporter Juan Manuel Cao.

³If I tell you that I was involved, I will be inculpating myself,² Bosch 
answered, ³and if I tell you that I did not participate in that action, you 
would say that I am lying. I am therefore not going to answer one thing or the 

But when Cao asked Bosch to comment on the civilians who died when the plane 
crashed off the coast of Barbados in 1976, Bosch responded, ³In a war such as us
Cubans who love liberty wage against the tyrant [Fidel Castro], you have to down
planes, you have to sink ships, you have to be prepared to attack anything that 
is within your reach.²

³But don¹t you feel a little bit for those who were killed there, for their 
families?² Cao asked.

³Who was on board that plane?² Bosch responded. ³Four members of the Communist 
Party, five North Koreans, five Guyanese.² [Officials tallies actually put the 
Guyanese dead at 11.]

Bosch added, ³Four members of the Communist Party, chico! Who was there? Our 

³And the fencers?² Cao asked about Cuba¹s amateur fencing team that had just won
gold, silver and bronze medals at a youth fencing competition in Caracas. ³The 
young people on board?²

Bosch replied, ³I was in Caracas. I saw the young girls on television. There 
were six of them. After the end of the competition, the leader of the six 
dedicated their triumph to the tyrant. Š She gave a speech filled with praise 
for the tyrant.

³We had already agreed in Santo Domingo, that everyone who comes from Cuba to 
glorify the tyrant had to run the same risks as those men and women that fight 
alongside the tyranny.² [The comment about Santo Domingo was an apparent 
reference to a strategy meeting by a right-wing terrorist organization, CORU, 
which took place in the Dominican Republic in 1976.]

³If you ran into the family members who were killed in that plane, wouldn¹t you 
think it difficult?² Cao asked.

³No, because in the end those who were there had to know that they were 
cooperating with the tyranny in Cuba,² Bosch answered.

In an article about Bosch¹s remarks, lawyer Pertierra said the answers ³give us 
a glimpse into the mind of the kind of terrorist that the United States 
government harbors and protects in Miami.²

The Posada Case

Bosch was arrested for illegally entering the United States during the first 
Bush administration, but he was paroled in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush at
the behest of the President¹s eldest son Jeb, then an aspiring Florida 

Not only did the first Bush administration free Bosch from jail a decade and a 
half ago, the second Bush administration has now pushed Venezuela¹s extradition 
request for his alleged co-conspirator, Posada, onto the back burner.

The downed Cubana Airlines flight originated in Caracas where Venezuelan 
authorities allege the terrorist plot was hatched. However, U.S. officials have 
resisted returning Posada to Venezuela because Hugo Chavez is seen as friendly 
to Castro¹s communist government in Cuba.

At a U.S. immigration hearing in 2005, Posada¹s defense attorney put on a Posada
friend as a witness who alleged that Venezuela¹s government practices torture. 
Bush administration lawyers didn¹t challenge the claim, leading the immigration 
judge to bar Posada¹s deportation to Venezuela.

In September 2005, Venezuela¹s Ambassador Bernardo Alvarez called the 
77-year-old Posada ³the Osama Bin Laden of Latin America² and accused the Bush 
administration of applying ³a cynical double standard² in its War on Terror.

Alvarez also denied that Venezuela practices torture. ³There isn¹t a shred of 
evidence that Posada would be tortured in Venezuela,² Alvarez said, adding that 
the claim is particularly ironic given widespread press accounts that the Bush 
administration has abused prisoners at the U.S. military base in Guatanamo Bay, 

Theoretically, the Bush administration could still extradite Posada to Venezuela
to face the 73 murder counts, but it is essentially ignoring Venezuela¹s 
extradition request while holding Posada on minor immigration charges of 
entering the United States illegally.

Meanwhile, Posada has begun maneuvering to gain his freedom. Citing his service 
in the U.S. military from 1963-65 in Vietnam, Posada has applied for U.S. 
citizenship, and his lawyer Eduardo Soto has threatened to call U.S. government 
witnesses, including former White House aide Oliver North, to vouch for Posada¹s
past service to Washington.

Posada became a figure in the Iran-Contra scandal because of his work on a 
clandestine program to aid Nicaraguan contra rebels fighting Nicaragua¹s leftist
Sandinista government. The operation was run secretly out of the White House by 
North with the help of the office of then-Vice President George H.W. Bush.

Posada reached Central America in 1985 after escaping from a Venezuelan prison 
where he had been facing charges from the 1976 Cubana Airlines bombing. Posada, 
using the name Ramon Medina, teamed up with another Cuban exile, former CIA 
officer Felix Rodriguez, who reported regularly to Bush¹s office.

Posada oversaw logistics and served as paymaster for pilots in the contra-supply
operation. When one of the contra-supply planes was shot down inside Nicaragua 
in October 1986, Posada was responsible for alerting U.S. officials to the 
crisis and then shutting down the operation¹s safe houses in El Salvador.

Even after the exposure of Posada¹s role in the contra-supply operation, the 
U.S. government made no effort to bring the accused terrorist to justice.

Secret History

As for the Cubana Airlines bombing, declassified U.S. documents show that after 
the plane was blown out of the sky on Oct. 6, 1976, the CIA, then under the 
direction of George H.W. Bush, quickly identified Posada and Bosch as the 
masterminds of the Cubana Airlines bombing.

But in fall 1976, Bush¹s boss, President Gerald Ford, was in a tight election 
battle with Democrat Jimmy Carter and the Ford administration wanted to keep 
intelligence scandals out of the newspapers. So Bush and other officials kept 
the lid on the investigations. [For details, see Robert Parry¹s Secrecy & 

Still, inside the U.S. government, the facts were known. According to a secret 
CIA cable dated Oct. 14, 1976, intelligence sources in Venezuela relayed 
information about the Cubana Airlines bombing that tied in anti-communist Cuban 
extremists Bosch, who had been visiting Venezuela, and Posada, who then served 
as a senior officer in Venezuela¹s intelligence agency, DISIP.

The Oct. 14 cable said Bosch arrived in Venezuela in late September 1976 under 
the protection of Venezuelan President Carlos Andres Perez, a close Washington 
ally who assigned his intelligence adviser Orlando Garcia ³to protect and assist
Bosch during his stay in Venezuela.²

On his arrival, Bosch was met by Garcia and Posada, according to the report. 
Later, a fundraising dinner was held in Bosch¹s honor during which Bosch 
requested cash from the Venezuelan government in exchange for assurances that 
Cuban exiles wouldn¹t demonstrate during Andres Perez¹s planned trip to the 
United Nations.

³A few days following the fund-raising dinner, Posada was overheard to say that,
Œwe are going to hit a Cuban airplane,¹ and that ŒOrlando has the details,¹² the
CIA report said.

³Following the 6 October Cubana Airline crash off the coast of Barbados, Bosch, 
Garcia and Posada agreed that it would be best for Bosch to leave Venezuela. 
Therefore, on 9 October, Posada and Garcia escorted Bosch to the Colombian 
border, where he crossed into Colombian territory.²

The CIA report was sent to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, as well as to 
the FBI and other U.S. intelligence agencies, according to markings on the 

A Round-up

In South America, investigators began rounding up suspects in the bombing.

Two Cuban exiles, Hernan Ricardo and Freddy Lugo, who had left the Cubana plane 
in Barbados, confessed that they had planted the bomb. They named Bosch and 
Posada as the architects of the attack.

A search of Posada¹s apartment in Venezuela turned up Cubana Airlines timetables
and other incriminating documents.

Posada and Bosch were arrested and charged in Venezuela for the Cubana Airlines 
bombing, but the men denied the accusations. The case soon became a political 
tug-of-war, since the suspects were in possession of sensitive Venezuelan 
government secrets that could embarrass President Andres Perez. The case 
lingered for almost a decade.

After the Reagan-Bush administration took power in Washington in 1981, the 
momentum for fully unraveling the mysteries of anti-communist terrorist plots 
dissipated. The Cold War trumped any concern about right-wing terrorism.

By the late 1980s, Orlando Bosch also was out of Venezuela¹s jails and back in 
Miami. But Bosch, who had been implicated in about 30 violent attacks, was 
facing possible deportation by U.S. officials who warned that Washington 
couldn¹t credibly lecture other countries about terrorism while protecting a 
terrorist like Bosch.

But Bosch got lucky. Jeb Bush, then an aspiring Florida politician, led a 
lobbying drive to prevent the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service from 
expelling Bosch. In 1990, the lobbying paid dividends when Jeb¹s dad, President 
George H.W. Bush, blocked proceedings against Bosch, letting the unapologetic 
terrorist stay in the United States.

In 1992, also during George H.W. Bush¹s presidency, the FBI interviewed Posada 
about the Iran-Contra scandal for 6  hours at the U.S. Embassy in Honduras.

Posada filled in some blanks about the role of Bush¹s vice presidential office 
in the secret contra operation. According to a 31-page summary of the FBI 
interview, Posada said Bush¹s national security adviser, Donald Gregg, was in 
frequent contact with Felix Rodriguez.

³Posada Š recalls that Rodriguez was always calling Gregg,² the FBI summary 
said. ³Posada knows this because he¹s the one who paid Rodriguez¹ phone bill.² 
After the interview, the FBI agents let Posada walk out of the embassy to 
freedom. [For details, see Parry¹s Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 
Project Truth.]

More Attacks
Posada soon returned to his anti-Castro plotting.

In 1994, Posada set out to kill Castro during a trip to Cartagena, Colombia. 
Posada and five cohorts reached Cartagena, but the plan flopped when security 
cordons prevented the would-be assassins from getting a clean shot at Castro, 
according to a Miami Herald account. [Miami Herald, June 7, 1998]

The Herald also described Posada¹s role in a lethal 1997 bombing campaign 
against popular hotels and restaurants inside Cuba that killed an Italian 
tourist. The story cited documentary evidence that Posada arranged payments to 
conspirators from accounts in the United States.

Posada landed back in jail in 2000 after Cuban intelligence uncovered a plot to 
assassinate Castro by planting a bomb at a meeting the Cuban leader planned with
university students in Panama.

Panamanian authorities arrested Posada and other alleged co-conspirators in 
November 2000. In April 2004, they were sentenced to eight or nine years in 
prison for endangering public safety.

Four months after the sentencing, however, lame-duck Panamanian President Mireya
Moscoso ­ who lives in Key Biscayne, Florida, and has close ties to the 
Cuban-American community and to George W. Bush¹s administration ­ pardoned the 

Despite press reports saying Moscoso had been in contact with U.S. officials 
about the pardons, the State Department denied that it pressured Moscoso to 
release the Cuban exiles. After the pardons and just two months before Election 
2004, three of Posada¹s co-conspirators ­ Guillermo Novo Sampol, Pedro Remon and
Gaspar Jimenez ­ arrived in Miami to a hero¹s welcome, flashing victory signs at
their supporters.

While the terrorists celebrated, U.S. authorities watched the men ­ also 
implicated in bombings in New York, New Jersey and Florida ­ alight on U.S. 
soil. As Washington Post writer Marcela Sanchez noted in a September 2004 
article about the Panamanian pardons, ³there is something terribly wrong when 
the United States, after Sept. 11 (2001), fails to condemn the pardoning of 
terrorists and instead allows them to walk free on U.S. streets.² [Washington 
Post, Sept. 3, 2004]

But a whole different set of standards is now being applied to the seven black 
terrorism suspects in Miami. Even though they had no clear-cut plans or even the
tools to carry out terrorist attacks, they have been rounded up amid great media

The American people have been reassured that the terrorists in Miami have been 
located and are being brought to justice.

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the 
Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the
Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, can be ordered at secrecyandprivilege.com. 
It's also available at Amazon.com, as is his 1999 book, Lost History: Contras, 
Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth.'

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