Terrorist released from immigration custody (it’s OK, he’s Cuban)

Santiago Alvarez, underwriter of accused right-wing Cuban terrorist Luis Posada Carriles and himself convicted in weapons stockpiling for a supposed terror plot, was released from US immigration custody in Georgia Oct. 22. Alvarez pleaded guilty in 2006 to weapons charges related to what the government called a scheme to overthrow Fidel Castro. His sentence was reduced from four years to 11 months for voluntarily handing over a hidden arms cache. Alvarez, a Miami developer, then got more time for refusing to testify against Posada in an immigration fraud case. Prosecutors said Alvarez was on a boat that secretly ferried Posada from Mexico to Miami in 2005. A US resident, Alvarez was eligible for deportation, but the US doesn’t generally deport Cubans; he therefore remained in immigration custody after his release from prison in November 2008. The 2006 bust yielded 30 automatic rifles, a rocket launcher, several grenades, over 200 pounds of dynamite, and 14 pounds of C-4 explosives. (Havana Times, Oct. 23; AP, UPI, Oct. 22)

This news was relegated to brief wire-service blurbs, even by the Miami Herald. Headlines only refered to Alvarez as a “benefactor” of Posada Carriles, rather than a terrorist himself. Posada Carriles was refered to in text as a “militant,” not a terrorist—despite the fact that he is wanted in Venezuela on charges of blowing up a civilian airliner, killing 73 (for which the US refuses to extradite). It is—one hopes—needless to point out the double standard.

See our last post on the propaganda device of words-mean-whatever-we-say-they-mean.