Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Luis Posada Carriles Exonerated!

Radio Mambi, Miami's most listened to Spanish AM Radio Station, received first news of Luis Posada Carriles' exoneration today.

Arturo Hernandez, lawyer for Posada Carriles, called early into Radio Mambi's two-hour radio show La Mesa Redonda, hosted by Armando Perez-Roura. He recounted the courtroom events in El Paso, around 3pm, when federal judge Kathleen Cardone suddenly called all parties into the courtroom. Hernandez recalls that he was nervous and the courtroom atmosphere as tense, when Judge Cardone entered the courtroom with her 38-page ruling. "Gracias a Dios" said Hernandez, and then allowed Luis Posada Carriles to say a few words [and first words after being freed] on the air.

"Ya estoy libre... estoy un poco emocionado," said Posada Carriles. "Gracias a Dios, a ti, a todos mis hermanos, a la gente de Cuba... por tener la victoria... me faltan las palabras."

(Finally I'm free... I'm a little emotional. Thank God, to you, to all my brothers, to the people of Cuba... for having the victory... words fail me.)

[Listen to an excerpt]

The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald have short summaries of the federal judge's ruling today, but the best explanation is coming from the AP.

Since last week, Hernandez had been trying to argue that Luis Posada Carriles' naturalization interview be excluded from his upcoming trial. Hernandez argued that the events surrounding the interview pointed to "entrapment." It seems that Judge Cardone agreed.

According to the AP (Juan A. Lozano), Judge Cardone believed "the naturalization interview was a pretext for the criminal investigation." This is basically what the 38-page ruling argues. Judge Cardone extensively describes many technical irregularities related to the naturalization interview (tapes and transcript), suspicions and four "anomalous" qualities:

(1) it lasted eight hours over the course of two days as opposed to the usual maximum of thirty minutes,
(2) it involved two interviewers,
(3) the Government provided an interpreter,
(4) there were a total of four attorneys present – two defense attorneys and two Government attorneys, and
(5) it was both audio and videotaped.

The Houston Chronicle has a link to the 38-page ruling [pdf]. Judge Cardone concludes with:

"The realm of this case is not, as some have suggested, terrorism. It is immigration fraud. Terrorism, and the determination of whether or not to classify an individual as a terrorist, lies
within the sound discretion of the executive branch. It does not lie with this Court."

I totally agree. Just as Jose Padilla was indicted by US Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez for "intention of fighting in violent jihad", so should the US pursue these same charges towards Luis Posada Carriles, and his "violent jihad" against the Castro government.

Meanwhile in Miami, calls poured into the telephone lines at Radio Mambi in celebration. The 11pm news (Univision Noticias23) had Miguel Saavedra expressing his joy over his hero finally being liberated. Soon, Santiago Alvarez and Osvaldo Mitat will be released too. The only one left for some hard-liners is Eduardo Arocena. Will he also be freed?

Luis Posada Carriles is scheduled to arrive soon in Miami, an investigation by a New Jersey federal grand jury not on his mind. Another day approaches Miami.

[Photo by Patricia Giovine/EFE]

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