Latin America

Luis Posada Carriles: Cuba anti-communist activist dies

Luis Posada Carriles, a Cuban-born former CIA agent who dedicated much of his life to trying to overthrow the communist government on the island, has died in Florida aged 90.

Mr Posada Carriles was one of the fiercest enemies of the late Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

He took part in the failed US-backed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 and was accused of bringing down an airliner.

Considered a terrorist by Cuba, he was a hero to many exiled Cubans.

His lawyer said Mr Posada Carriles died at "a government home for veterans" in Miramar, Florida, after developing throat cancer.

Born in Cuba in 1928, he fled the island after the 1959 communist revolution which brought Fidel Castro to power.

After serving in the US army, he was recruited by the CIA in 1965 and is reported to have worked for the agency until 1976.

'Most hated man'

The BBC's Cuba correspondent Will Grant says that Mr Posada Carriles was by far one of the most hated figures in Cuba for his alleged role in the bombing of a Cuban passenger jet in 1976.

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All 73 people on board were killed when bombs exploded on the jet off the coast of Barbados – including the entire Cuban youth fencing team, which was returning from a regional competition.

At the time of the bombing, Mr Posada Carriles was living in Venezuela, where according to declassified US intelligence files he was working as an informant in Venezuela's intelligence service.

An international investigation pointed to Mr Posada Carriles as being the mastermind of the Cubana airlines bombing but a military court acquitted him.

However, he was jailed pending a civilian trial but escaped from prison in 1985 and travelled to Central America, where he continued his mission to fight against left-wing influence in Latin America.

Hunter and hunted

Throughout his career, he gained many enemies and in 1990, gunmen shot him in the chest and face in Guatemala.

He survived the attack, which is believed to have been carried out by Cuban government agents.

In the following years he was accused of planning a string of bombings in Cuban hotels which killed an Italian tourist, and was arrested for taking part in a conspiracy to kill Fidel Castro during a summit in Panama in 2000.

He spent four years in a Panamanian jail before being pardoned by then-President Mireya Moscoso.

In 2005, he entered the US illegally and applied for political asylum.

His application came back to haunt him when he was accused of lying to immigration officers about how he got into the US.

He was acquitted in 2011 and spent the remaining years of his life in the US.

Original Article

BBC

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