Bay of Pigs veteran Posada, accused of Cuban airlines bombing, dies at 90

Miami (AFP) –


Luis Posada Carriles, a former CIA agent and veteran of the Bay of Pigs invasion who was accused of masterminding the bombing a Cuban airliner in 1976, died Wednesday at age 90, his lawyer said.

Posada, who suffered from throat cancer, passed away at his home in Miramar, Florida, north of Miami, the law office of Arturo Hernandez confirmed.

After the Bay of Pigs, Posada went on to plot attacks and assassination attempts against the government of Fidel Castro, becoming a hero to many Cuban exiles and a terrorist in the eyes of Havana.

The bombing of the Cubana airliner, which killed all 73 people aboard on a flight from Barbados to Trinidad, was the deadliest of the anti-Castro plots attributed to Posada, who was then running a detective agency in Venezuela.

He and the late anti-Castro militant Orlando Bosch were jailed in Venezuela for the bombing but never convicted. Posada, who denied involvement in the bombing, escaped the country after being held for eight years.

He turned up next in the thick of a secret US operation in Central America to arm the Contra rebels fighting the Sandinista government in Nicaragua.

In 1997, he was in the news again, implicated in a rash of bombings that targeted Cuban hotels, in which an Italian tourist was killed. He was arrested in Panama in 2000 for allegedly plotting to assassinate Fidel Castro.

Pardoned in 2004 by Panama's president, he took refuge in Miami, where he fought off Venezuelan and Cuban demands for his extradition.

US authorities rejected the extradition requests on the grounds of concerns he might be tortured if returned to either country.

In 2010, however, he was tried in Texas on charges of lying to immigration authorities about how he arrived in the United States and his involvement in the 1997 bombings. He was acquitted of all charges.