International News

Cuban Officials to Testify in Posada Carriles Trial

In a highly unusual move, three officials from Cuba could take the stand as early as today in the trial of Luis Posada Carrilles, the Miami freedom fighter or terrorist, depending on which side of the Florida straits you live.

The officials are expected to testify in federal court in West Texas about Posada's involvement in the 1997 death of Fabio di Celmo, an Italian tourist killed when a bomb went off in the lobby bar at the Copacabana Hotel in Havana. Poasada told the New York Times in 1998 he was responsible for the bombings meant to cripple Cuban tourism not kill tourists. He has since recanted.

Posada, however, is not being tried for his Cold War activities -- he has been tied to a series of bombings in Cuba and the downing of a passenger plane. Instead, he is charged with lying to U.S. immigration officials about how he entered the country. Posada told officials he had crossed the border in Texas, but prosecutors contend he sailed from Mexico into the Miami River in 2005 on a converted shrimper.

The defense will be allowed to cross-examine the three Cuban officials and question their credibility, although Castro's regime and its practices will not be put on trial, the judge said.

It's not hard to predict what they will say. Posada is Public Enemy No. 1 in Cuba and likened to Hitler on billboards on the communist island, according to the AP.

Since he was released from an immigration detention center in 2007, Posada has been living in Miami, where he is considered a hero by many in the exile Cuban community.

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Jorge Casuso
Contact: Jorge Casuso