Ex-CIA agent and anti-Castro militant on trial in Texas
January 18, 2011 2 Comments
By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
A former CIA agent and militant anticommunist, who is idolized by America’s anti-Castro Cubans, but is considered a terrorist in parts of Latin America, has gone on trial in Texas. Luís Posada Carriles, 82, known as “the bin Laden of the Americas” by his detractors, gained notoriety for his self-confessed participation in a string of bombings of hotels in Havana, Cuba, in 1997. He is wanted by the governments of Cuba and Venezuela for his alleged role in the dramatic 1976 midair bombing of Cubana flight 455, which killed all 73 crew and passengers onboard. The United States government has placed Carriles on trial for lying about his militant activities to US immigration officials, after arriving here in 2005. Specifically, Carriles faces 11 charges of perjury, obstruction and naturalization fraud, which he is said to have committed at a 2007 immigration hearing in El Paso. At that hearing, he allegedly denied under oath his participation in the 1997 Havana bombings, and failed to report being in possession of a fake Guatemalan passport, which he had used to enter the United States two years earlier. Carriles’ defense attorney, Arturo Hernández, said his client has “always been on the side of our country” and that he “subsequently told the truth” about his militant activities. He also accused US government prosecutors of basing their accusations against Carriles on information provided by Gilberto Abascal, a paid informant who Hernández says is unreliable. Havana dismisses Carriles’ trial as a plot by Washington to prevent the accused from exposing CIA secrets if he is extradited to Venezuela. Interestingly, however, Cuban officials have provided what has been called “unprecedented cooperation” in the form of intelligence material and law enforcement documentation to Carriles’ prosecutors in Texas. The trial continues.