THIRTY-FOUR years ago today, terrorists blew up a Cubana passenger aircraft off Barbados, killing all 73 people on board – mostly Cubans, but including 11 Guyanese and five North Koreans – on their way to Havana.
For many years since that unprecedented Cubana tragedy in Caribbean airspace, there have been calls by the governments of Cuba and Venezuela, as well as CARICOM, for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.
Specifically identified for a court trial has been the Cuban émigré Liuis Posada Carriles who had also acquired Venezuelan citizenship before his documented involvement as one of the primary plotters of the Cubana disaster and other escapades in terrorism.
Another of the plotters, exposed for his notorious roles in terrorism and links with the CIA in the Caribbean-Latin Americas region, including Chile under President Allende, was Orlando Bosch.
Like Posada, he continues to enjoy sanctuary in the United States – the superpower that never fails to remind the world of its commitment to democracy and the rule of law.
Long before Barack Obama wrote his name into 21st century history as the first-ever African American president and raised hopes for “fundamental changes” in how America conducts business at home and abroad, CARICOM governments had appealed, in the name of justice and human decency, for Posada to face trial.
But, as had happened years earlier, in the case of Posada’s compatriot in crime, Bosch, there has been no such move by the justice administration system in United States.
On the contrary, since 1988, in the face of the decision by a United States judge for his deportation as a terrrorist, “unfettered by law and human decency”, Bosch was to be taken into Uncle Sam’s proctective political care – thanks to the presidential pardon received from the elder George H.W. Bush, as then occupant of the White House.
Disclosures of the terrorists activities of both Bosch and Posada as agents of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) working with the anti-Fidel Castro community of Cuban exiles have been accessed from records of the CIA and Ferderal Bureau of Investigations (FBI).
Today, therefore, as the people of Barbados and the rest of CARICOM join Cuba in silent remembrance of the victims of the Cubana tragedy, it would be difficult to ignore the double standards, the sheer political hypocrisy, of Uncle Sam in its selective execution of bilateral extradition treaties.
Drug trafficking charges
The classic example, best known by Jamaicans and too recent for the entire CARICOM region to ignore, is the extradition case involving Christopher “Dudus” Coke, currently a prisoner of the United States on charges of drug trafficking and gun-running.
This internationally publicised extradtidion of a Jamaican drug lord, that resulted from extreme pressures by Uncle Sam, has posed tremendous problems for the authorities in Kingston with current debate on its ultimate impact on the longevity of the Bruce Golding administration.
Yet, in sharp contrast, and with no intent to rationalise criminality, it is quite relevant to note the utter hypocrisy of the United States in how it responds to extradition cases.
Currently, while the people and governmernt of Jamaica are coping with the consequences of uprooting, on Uncle Sam’s demand, “Dudus” Coke from his Tivoli Gardens stronghold and extradite him for trial in America, there continues to be open contempt by United States authorities for the requested extradition by both Cuba and Venezuela, of Posada Carriles – if not Obsch as well – for involvement in the Cubana tragedy 34 years ago today.
There needs to be a response from the “time-for-change” President Obama to revisit the cases of the two Cuban émigrés being protected in America and known to be integrally linked with the Cubana tragedy as agents of the CIA.