EL PASO, TEXAS:
Sun. Jan. 9 - People's Tribunal on Posada's Crimes
Mon. Jan. 10 - Protest Rally when Posada's Trial Begins
Ramsey Clark to be one of the Tribunal participants
Dear supporter of the ANSWER Coalition,
This coming Jan. 10 in El Paso, Texas, a U.S. government farce will take place with the opening of the trial of terrorist Luis Posada Carriles in federal district court. Instead of facing charges of premeditated murder—for the bombing deaths of 73 people who died in a Cuban airliner on Oct. 6, 1976, and other crimes—Posada will only be tried for perjury and immigration fraud.
The ANSWER Coalition, the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five and other organizations will be there to demand justice for Posada’s victims. Actions will include a People’s Tribunal to be held Jan. 9 at the Unitarian Universalist Churce and a protest rally Jan. 10, 8 am outside the federal courthouse (525 Magoffin Ave).
It is widely known that Posada is responsible for the bombing of Cubana Airlines flight 455 in 1976, which killed 73 passengers and crew members. In 1997, Posada directed a series of bombings in Havana hotels by hiring Central American mercenaries to plant the bombs. The perjury and immigration fraud charges are related to Posada’s illegal and secret entry into the United States in late March 2005, and false statements that he made to U.S. immigration officials.
In a 2006 interview with U.S. immigration, he was asked whether he had a role in procuring the help of mercenaries who planted bombs in Havana hotels in the summer of 1997. In one of those bombings, an Italian tourist, Fabio Di Celmo, was killed when shrapnel struck him in the lobby of the Copacabana Hotel in Havana on Sept. 4, 1997.
A proud, confessed killer
In a July 13, 1998 New York Times interview with journalist Ann Louise Bardach, Posada boasted of his directing role in those bombings. He also gave the names of his financiers in the Cuban American National Foundation. Posada notoriously told Bardach about Di Celmo’s murder, “I sleep like a baby … That Italian was sitting in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Despite Posada’s admission to Bardach over the murder of Di Celmo, U.S. prosecutors are only using that evidence to prove that he made false statements to them. A twice-convened Newark, N.J., grand jury’s evidence of funds that were wired to Posada — for the hotel bombs he produced — will also be presented in El Paso. But again, only for the perjury charge.
By trying Posada for perjury and fraud, Washington is hoping that it will escape worldwide condemnation for its refusal to have Posada face real justice and prosecution for his terrorist murders. The U.S. government is fully aware of his murderous crimes because he carried them out in various Latin American countries on behalf of the Central Intelligence Agency.
The only reason Posada is even in court on Jan. 10 is due to national and international outrage over the impunity and freedom he continues to enjoy in Miami, where he walks the streets a free man.
This is why, as Posada is in the docket for charges that will only yield a minor sentence if he is convicted, activists will be outside the courtroom in El Paso to expose his real crimes of terror to the world.
As José Pertierra, Venezuela’s attorney in the extradition matter, has explained, Washington’s prosecution of Posada raises many doubts about the government’s real intent.
Pertierra says: “The real purpose of the pending trial in El Paso is to hamper the extradition request to Caracas, keep Posada on the street, and save the U.S. government a full trial that would place it next to the terrorist, on the defendant’s bench. That is why the strategy is to delay the process.”
Protest in El Paso Jan. 9 and 10
While Posada faces minor charges in federal court, he will be tried by a “People’s Tribunal” on Jan. 9 at 4 p.m. in El Paso. There will be a protest rally the following day at 8am at the courthouse where Posada’s trial will be held (525 Magoffin Ave).
The ANSWER Coalition — which has spearheaded a campaign for justice and Posada’s extradition since he entered the United States — along with the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five, the Unitarian Universalist Community of El Paso and other organizations, are sponsoring the events. In addition to demanding Posada’s extradition to Venezuela, protesters will also demand freedom for the Cuban Five, five men who monitored and prevented anti-Cuba terrorism in Miami and are now in prison in the United States.
The “People’s Tribunal,” hosted by the Unitarian Universalist Community of El Paso, 4425 Byron St., El Paso,” will hear the charges of terrorism against Posada and his accomplices. The U.S. government’s support for the Miami terrorists will also be on trial.
Participants in the People's Tribunal include:
- Ramsey Clark, former U.S. Attorney General
- Jose Pertierra, Venezuela's attorney for the extradition order of Posada
- Keith Bolender, author of "Voices From the Other Side: An Oral History of Terrorism Against Cuba," the testimony of Cuban victims of Miami-based terrorism.
- Gloria La Riva, coordinator, National Committee to Free the Cuban Five
- Brian Becker, National Coordinator of the ANSWER Coalition
- Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Co-founder, Partnership for Civil Justice Fund
Activists are mobilizing in El Paso, Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Austin, Phoenix and other cities! If you can attend and help mobilize for these important actions, please write us at [email protected].org or call 202-265-1948.
Activists and organizers have been reaching deep into their pockets to travel to El Paso from around the country to organize the Jan. 9 People's Tribunal and attend the Jan 10 protest rally. Please make an urgently needed donation toward the costs of this important mobilization.