Published on The Nation (http://www.thenation.com)
Luis Posada Carriles Acquitted in
David Brooks | April 13, 2011
Luis Posada Carriles, a former CIA employee, veteran of the failed invasion of Cuba, support operative for the Nicaraguan contras, and the accused mastermind behind the worst terrorist attacks in Latin America and the Caribbean, was acquitted last Friday in a federal court in El Paso, Texas—but only on charges related with lying to immigration authorities, and not for his long history of violence for which justice authorities in Venezuela and other countries are still seeking his extradition.
After a trial that dragged on for thirteen weeks, and only three hours after beginning deliberations, the jury reached a unanimous "not guilty" verdict on each one of the eleven counts of perjury, obstruction of justice and immigration fraud.
The verdict marks the end of the
Now the only pending legal action remaining against him is
The U.S. Justice Department expressed that it was "disappointed by the decision” of the jury in
The case in
Federal prosecutors accused Posada Carriles of lying about the way he entered the country, as well as making statements denying his participation in terrorist activities, especially the bomb attacks on hotels and tourist sites in
Pertierra who attended the trial every day in
These witnesses included expert forensic pathologists and Cuban investigators, associates of the accused, and even the reporter Ann Louise Bardach, who interviewed the previously convicted terrorist for the New York Times. In that interview, Posada Carriles admitted being the mastermind behind the attacks against the hotels in
Pertierra said the verdict "did not surprise me," indicating that "the show [the defense] put on, and the confusion that it generated among the jury, won out over the evidence."
Explaining how it was possible that a not guilty verdict could be reached for Posada Carriles despite the introduction of witnesses, tape recordings and interviews that proved his culpability on the lying, perjury and obstruction charges, Pertierra indicated that jury trials in this country are part of "a failed system," with outcomes similar to this one and as the whole world could see in the O.J. Simpson case some years ago. He said that jury members - citizens selected by the defense as well as the prosecution - are often ignorant of the context of the case they are asked to decide, and often easily confused and subject to all kinds of manipulation by the attorneys. Also, the prolongation of this trial for up to three months even though the charges did not merit such a lengthy procedure was part of the defense strategy to “overwhelm” the jury with the goal of making it almost "deaf and blind" by the end. Finally, with the judge's authorization, the defense managed to hold "mini-trials within the main trial, against Cuba and Cuban prosecution witnesses” and in this way deviate the focus from the accused to the accusers, going so far as to accuse them of torture and other violations.
Although the trial was notable for being the first time in United States that the government presented proof against its former employee (he was a CIA agent until 1976, and later collaborated in Washington's secret war channeling assistance to the Nicaraguan contra forces in the 1980s), it's worth emphasizing that Posada Carriles has never been formally accused, much less prosecuted on U.S. soil, for his participation in terrorist actions. The trial in
In addition to working for the CIA, it's worth recalling that Posada Carriles participated in the U.S. supported invasion of the Bay of Pigs; that he was an officer in the U.S. Army and that in 1976 he moved to Venezuela to head the intelligence service in that country. That same year he was arrested after being accused of being the mastermind of the attack on the Cuban airliner, and escaped before facing a civil trial for what was at the time the worst terrorist act in the hemisphere. In 2001, he was arrested in
"I haven't reached the end of the road; the nature of the struggle has changed, but it is still the same," said Posada Carriles after the trial concluded, according to AFP. He added that he would dedicate himself, in a peaceful way, to "restoring what
For more information about his "road," documents from the CIA and other U.S. agencies detailing the career of Posada Carriles  can be found at the website for the National Security Archive, the center for research and documentation.
Pertierra said that the Venezuelan government will continue to demand that the
"The 73 murder charges in