Former CIA operative and Cuban exile Luis Posada Carriles died a free man on May 23 near Miami, despite his long history of international violence.
The 90-year-old international fugitive is the long-suspected suspected mastermind of the 1976 bombing of a Cubana de Aviacion plane, which killed 73 people,mostly teens returning from an athletics competition in Caracas, Venezuela, noted the Los Angeles Times.
Carriles was wanted by both Venezuela and Cuba, but the Bush administration refused to extradite him even though he was illegaly in the U.S.
Carriles took credit for a Havana hotel bombing that killed an Italian tourist in 1997.
Carriles was also one of the masterminds behind the failed Bay of Pigs invasion and was part of the illegal Iran-Contra affair for the Reagan administration in the 1980s, reports the Los Angeles Times.
During the presidency of George W. Bush both Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice could have imprisoned Carriles for being a suspected terrorist, but refused.
Carriles was arrested in Panama City in 2000 for plotting to blow up an auditorium where Fidel Castro would be speaking.
Jose Pertierra, a Cuban attorney based in Washington, D.C., recalled what happened next:
[H]e escaped from jail in Panama, where he was being held, as you said, for trying to bomb an auditorium full of people. But after getting out of jail in Panama, receiving a pardon, he came to the United States to Miami.
And Venezuela presented a request for extradition. And the United States simply refused to extradite him.
Instead, they charged him with violating immigration law, lying on immigration forms, for which he was ultimately acquitted, even though there were admissions by Posada Carriles that he had masterminded a string of bombings in Havana that resulted in the murder of an Italian businessman. And he lied about those on the immigration forms.
But even though there was of that, including a taped confession of Posada Carriles to New York Times correspondent Ann Louise Bardach, nonetheless he was acquitted of that, and the U.S. refused to extradite him.
Why? Because he was the United States’ man in Caracas. He worked for the CIA for, by his own admission, over 24 years.
It just goes to show you, if you’ve got friends in high places, even though you may be a terrorist, the United States will protect you.
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