Letters to the Editor

From the issue of September 20, 2001

The New York Times series consisted of five stories published in the summer of 1998, authored by myself and Larry Rohter. Spending three days with Posada was not only "extremely rare," it was unprecedented. As the Times wrote at the time: "The New York Times reiterates its complete support and confidence in its series of articles by Ann Louise Bardach and Larry Rohter based on more than 100 different sources and 13 hours of interviews and conversations with Mr. Posada, CIA files on Mr. Posada and Mr. Mas Canosa and their relationship, FBI documents and reports on Mr. Posada and several members of the CANF, sworn deposition testimony of Ricardo Mas Canosa, the autobiography of Mr. Posada, and documents hand-written by Mr. Posada."

The 10,000 words we devoted to Luis Posada were best characterized by managing editor Bill Keller in a letter to the Miami Herald: "Among other things, Mr. Posada described how CANF leaders supported him in his violent efforts to topple Fidel Castro. Please make no mistake, we stand by them. We quoted Mr. Posada as saying that money from his Cuban-American sponsors was not earmarked for specific violent operations, and that his patrons did not ask for an accounting after his missions. We wrote that there is no evidence that money came from the accounts of the Foundation itself."

In regards to "stretched credulity," as Kirk Nielsen would say, the New Times story is filled with inexplicable gaps. It fails to mention Gaspar Jimenez's employment history with Alberto Hernandez, CANF's former chairman; or Guillermo Novo's stint on CANF's information commission. Nor does it mention Posada's own heartfelt thanks to several foundation leaders in his autobiography for their assistance. Nor was any attempt made to acquire any of the copious FBI and CIA documentation of Posada and Mas Canosa and their long relationship.

Regarding Posada's taped "recantation," again Kirk Nielsen made no inquiry into published reports that "a member of the Cuban American National Foundation was present" throughout and that CANF also taped Posada's act of contrition. Nor was any attempt made to determine the accuracy of accounts that the reporter flew to El Salvador on a jet belonging to a foundation member. As the Herald pointed out, the "recantation" videotape went straight to CANF's headquarters. A reasonable question might be why there was so much foundation involvement in getting Posada to say he had no ties to them. But clearly that's not a question that would ever be posed or explored by Miami New Times.

Ann Louise Bardach
Los Angeles, California

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