IN OUR OPINION
Treat all terrorism suspects equally
by the Editors
May 25, 2007
Reprinted from Detroit Free Press
In the United States, Luis Posada Carriles is often described as a militant, anti-Castro Cuban activist. More accurately, he's almost certainly a terrorist -- similar to the other indiscriminate killers America wages war on.
Despite entering this country illegally in 2005, Posada is a free man. The U.S. government has enough evidence to prosecute him on terrorism charges and ought to. More foot-dragging only bolsters the damaging notion that America has a double standard on terrorism -- one for nations and causes it opposes and another for those it supports.
This month, a federal judge dropped immigration fraud charges against Posada, 79, a former CIA operative, essentially because an English-Spanish interpreter failed to accurately translate during his citizenship interview.
But immigration fraud is probably the least of Posada's crimes. Two years ago, Posada said he misspoke when, in a New York Times interview, he earlier claimed responsibility for a 1997 hotel bombing in Cuba. In Panama, he was convicted of plotting to kill Fidel Castro while the Cuban leader visited in 2000 but later was pardoned. And Venezuela wants Posada extradited to face charges in the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner that killed 73 people.
Posada's history of thumbing his nose at justice stands in sharp contrast to the case involving the so-called Cuban five, convicted on espionage charges five years ago in Miami, now serving prison sentences of 15 years to life.
A three-judge panel ruled that the five were entitled to a new trial, outside of Miami, because of anti-Castro publicity, but the ruling was overturned on appeal. The Cubans argued that they came to the United States to infiltrate anti-Cuban terrorists like Posada, not to spy.
The Bush administration's failure to bring Posada to justice further undercuts the notion that it is committed to fighting terrorism wherever it finds it.
Copyright © 2007 Detroit Free Press Inc.