Justice Department investigates Posada Carriles

A federal grand jury in Newark, NJ, has been investigating charges that Cuban-born Luis Posada Carriles masterminded the bombings of hotels in Cuba in 1997 that resulted in the death of one Italian-Canadian tourist. The Miami Herald revealed on May 3 that the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Cuban government have been cooperating to an unusual degree on this investigation, with FBI agents traveling to Havana in the fall of 2006.

The agents “were able to interview witnesses, review Cuba’s forensic evidence—including bombing materials—and visit crime scenes,” according to the Herald. Both Cuban and US investigators have found evidence of a conspiracy running from New Jersey to Miami to Central America to finance the bombings, including $19,000 in wire transfers from the US to “Ramon Medina,” a Posada alias, in El Salvador and Guatemala from Oct. 30, 1996, to Jan. 14, 1998. (MH, May 3)

On May 4 the National Security Archive, a Washington, DC-based research group, released documents from the 1970s on the 1976 Cuban airline bombing. One was a “surveillance report” by Hernan Ricardo Lozano, a Venezuelan who worked for Posada’s private security firm in Caracas. Ricardo listed several “targets,” including Cuban jetliner flights. Ricardo was convicted in Venezuela and served about 10 years in prison. (MH, May 5)

On May 9 Rep. William Delahunt (D-MA) called on the US to try Posada under its own antiterrorism laws. Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY) sent Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff a letter asking why the US ignored Venezuela’s 2005 extradition request without filing its own terrorism charges against Posada. (“DN!,” May 10; LJ, May 10)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, May 13

See our last post on the Posada Carriles case.