Nury Chavarria, Luis Posada Carriles & U.S. Hypocrisy on Immigration, Terrorism

by David Samuels

This column appears in the July 27 – August 3 edition of the Hartford News.

Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio

Commentary on urban issues from a grassroots perspective. First, third and fifth Tuesday of each month. 8:00 PM Eastern Time 7:00 PM Central 5:00 PM Pacific. Tune in!  Next show: August 1. Check out our No Sellout blog for info on the rest of our Community Party Media lineup, including False Choice: the Bipartisan Attack on the Working Class, the Poor and Communities of Color.
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The Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio interview with Middletown Mayor and Connecticut gubernatorial candidate Dan Drew will air Tuesday, August 15 at 8:00 PM Eastern Time, 7:00 PM Central 5:00 PM Pacific. Topics will include police accountability, the state budget crisis, single payer health care and urban policy issues that are ignored by the corporate media.


State Employees Concessions Deal and Hartford Bankruptcy

Check out the podcast of the July 18 edition of Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio. Retired state worker and former union steward John Hollis provides analysis of the concessions deal between state employee unions and Gov. Dan Malloy (I’m a state employee). State workers have agreed to concessions three times since 2009.  The show  also includes independent media commentary on the bankruptcy hustle being run on predominantly Black cities like Hartford.


Next week’s column will include an update on structural racism and workplace bullying at Connecticut Valley Hospital, and analysis of the Department of Administrative Services and Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services collaborating to kill workers’ rights legislation.


Policy Watch: U.S. Deports a Taxpayer, While Harboring a Terrorist

Update: Wednesday ICE granted Nury Chavarria an emergency stay from deportation.

Nury Chavarria has lived in the United States for 24 years, after escaping poverty and violence in Guatemala. She is an undocumented mother of four children, all citizens of the United States. Nury works as a housekeeper, has no criminal record, and pays taxes. While ICE persecutes Nury,  who sought sanctuary at a New Haven church as she faces deportation, the United States is harboring a terrorist who entered the country illegally. Luis Posada Carriles, an anti-Castro militant and CIA asset, blew up a Cuban jetliner in 1976, killing all 73 people on board. Posada snuck into the U.S. in 2005. The U.S. not only didn’t deport Posada, the George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump administrations have all refused to extradite Posada to Cuba or Venezuela (there were Venezuelan passengers on the plane).


Democracy Now! has documented Posada’s story.

Luis Posada Carriles Released from Jail
April 20, 2007

Luis Posada Carriles has been released from jail. Posada is the anti-Castro Cuban militant connected to the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner that killed 73 people. He is a former CIA operative who has worked for years to bring down the Cuban government. But he is considered a terrorist by many because of his role in the 1976 airline bombing. He has been detained in the U.S. on immigration charges since he snuck into the country in 2005. On Thursday, Venezuela accused Washington of being an ‘accomplice’ of terrorism by allowing Posada to be released from jail.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez: “Of course all of Venezuela will raise its indignant voice over the protection that the imperialist government of the United States continues to give to the father of all the terrorists of all time on the American continent, the murderer Luis Posada Carriles. We demand that they extradite to Venezuela this terrorist and murderer, instead of continue to protect him as they are protecting him. And now they are practically in the process of liberating him.”
Posada will go on trial in May on immigration fraud charges. The U.S. is rejecting calls for him to be extradited to Cuba or Venezuela.


U.S. Frees International Terrorist
April 24, 2007

A terrorist lives in Miami. He is not in hiding, or part of some sleeper cell. He’s an escaped convict, wanted internationally for blowing up a jetliner. His name is Luis Posada Carriles. As the nation was focused on the Virginia Tech shooting, the Bush administration quietly allowed Posada’s release from a federal immigration detention center.
It was Oct. 6, 1976, a clear day in the Caribbean. Cubana Airlines Flight 455 departed from Barbados, bound for Cuba, with a stop in Trinidad. Posada then ran a private investigative firm in Venezuela. Two of his employees were on the flight, deplaned in Trinidad and left C-4 plastic explosive on board, disguised as a tube of toothpaste. Shortly after takeoff, the bomb exploded and the plane went down. All 73 people on board were killed. Among them were six young Guyanese students on their way to Cuba to study medicine… There was also the entire Cuban Olympic fencing team, young athletes… The Cubana Airlines bombing remains to this day the only midair bombing of a civilian airliner in the Western Hemisphere. Posada was tried and convicted in Venezuela of organizing the bombing. He was imprisoned, then escaped in 1985.
Posada, who will be 80 next year, is a Cuban-born Venezuelan national. He has been a violent opponent of Fidel Castro since the early 1960s. Declassified CIA and FBI documents reveal the extent of Posada’s violent career. Through the decades he’s hopscotched around Latin America, smuggling arms, running drugs, plotting coups, working with Augusto Pinochet’s dreaded secret police, assisting with Oliver North’s illegal Contra war against Nicaragua — the list goes on. He was a paid CIA “asset,” and also served in the U.S. Army, rising to the rank of second lieutenant, at Fort Benning, Ga. He has been implicated in the bombing of hotels in Havana. He was caught and convicted of attempting to assassinate Castro in Panama…
Venezuela wants Posada extradited. The U.S. has refused. Washington, D.C.-based attorney Jose Pertierra is representing Venezuela in this case. He says international law is clear: “The law says you extradite or prosecute, but you don’t free him into the streets of Miami.”
The Bush administration, and disgraced Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, should designate Luis Posada Carriles the terrorist that he is. Justice, and the memory of his many victims, demands it.


Alleged Cuban Airline Bomber Free After Acquittal on Immigration Charges
April 11, 2011

AMY GOODMAN: A former CIA operative best known as the suspected mastermind of the 1976 bombing of a Cubana airline jet was acquitted Friday. But instead of terrorism charges, Luis Posada Carriles faced 11 charges of perjury, immigration fraud and obstruction of justice. The 83-year-old Cuban exile and anti-Castro militant was accused of lying under oath during an immigration hearing. Prosecutors say Posada Carriles lied about how he entered the United States in 2005, lied by denying his role in a series of bombings in Havana in 1997 that killed an Italian tourist and wounded 12 others. Posada Carriles had formerly admitted on tape to his role in the hotel bombings but later recanted.
After a 13-week trial, a jury in El Paso, Texas, deliberated for just three hours Friday and handed down a unanimous verdict of “not guilty” on all counts. Posada Carriles was facing a maximum of five to eight years in prison. His acquittal marks the end of a fourth attempt by the United States to convict him.
Cuba and Venezuela would like the United States to extradite him so he can be tried for his role in the bombings, but the U.S. has so far refused. Posada Carriles says he now plans to return to live with his family in Miami.
In a statement released after the verdict, the Cuban Foreign Ministry said, quote, “The U.S. government’s protection of Posada Carriles has become an emblematic case of the U.S. double standard in the international fight against terrorism.”
Peter Kornbluh, director of the National Security Archive at the George Washington University and the Cuba Documentation Project –  Posada escaped from prison in Venezuela, where he was being prosecuted for blowing up that plane, in 1985, with the help of anti-Castro, Miami Cuban Americans who sent money to him. He bribed his way out. He immediately went to Central America and joined Oliver North’s famous Iran-Contra operations, working surreptitiously with the Contras in El Salvador. He eventually orchestrated the hotel bombings, as I said. And then he was arrested in Panama for trying to kill Fidel Castro. He served four years in prison there and then was pardoned — another story that hasn’t really been told — by the outgoing right-wing president. And he was a fugitive for a year, and then he simply came to the United States.
He was brought, according to the evidence presented in court over these last 13 weeks, in a boat by one of his benefactors from Miami, a very wealthy Cuban American named Santiago Álvarez. He was brought surreptitiously from Mexico on a boat, just came into the country. And he thought, during the Bush administration, that he could simply appear, ask for asylum, ask to become a naturalized U.S. citizen, and he would be welcomed. We posted the CIA and FBI documents about his role in the plane bombing, and eventually he was arrested and detained for a couple of years, while he was undergoing this kind of whole long process of immigration charges.
But I just want to let your listeners know, here’s an individual who’s on the no-fly list. He can’t even get on a plane, a commercial airliner, from El Paso, where he was prosecuted, and fly back to Miami, because he’s considered a danger to aviation and to the security of American citizens. And that is documented in the papers from the U.S. government that are part of this case. And the issue now is, what is the U.S. government going to do with this individual? They’ve just presented a case in court that he’s an international terrorist. And now, are we just going to let him go back to Miami? You know, it really is an issue that has to be addressed.
He is still an illegal alien here, whether he was acquitted of lying or not. He came here illegally. He doesn’t have papers to be here. He doesn’t have a visa. He doesn’t have any resident papers. I mean, he still can be deported, if the U.S. government wants to deport him and can find a place to deport him to. And Venezuela, where he escaped from prison in 1985, has a valid extradition request into the Obama administration for his extradition to Venezuela to be prosecuted for the plane bombing, and the Obama administration could grant that request, if it wanted to. So, it has many options other than letting him return and live freely in Miami, to address the issue that we have — that the U.S. government’s position is this man is an international terrorist and should be treated as such.


The Democracy Now! reports clearly lay out the case for Posada to be deported and extradited to Cuba and Venezuela, to face terrorism charges.  From Wikipedia: “(Posada) currently resides in Miami, where he openly attends ‘right-wing exile fundraisers’ and participates in public protests against Fidel Castro’s Cuba.[23] A November 2016 El Nuevo Herald newspaper article described Posada celebrating the death of Fidel Castro in a Miami restaurant.”


The plight of Nury is now a national story. Gov. Dan Malloy visited her last week. Attorneys are exploring legal options to keep Nury in the U.S. Looking at Posada fills me with rage. If Nury was a CIA asset who had blown up a plane full of innocent people, she would be protected by the U.S. government. Nury would be with her children,  sleeping comfortably in her bed in Norwalk every night. Nury and Posada personify the hypocrisy of the government, and every anti-immigrant bigot in this country.  A fund has been set up to support Nury and her family.

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