Washington D.C. June 9, 2005 - Luis Posada Carriles
spoke of plans to "hit" a Cuban airliner only days before
Cubana flight 455 exploded on October 6, 1976, killing all 73
passengers aboard, according to a declassified CIA
document from 1976 posted by the National Security
Archive today. The unusually detailed intelligence was provided
by a source described as "a former Venezuelan government
official" who "is usually a reliable reporter,"
according to the secret report.
Posada, a violent anti-Castro exile, is due to have his first
legal hearing on June 13, after entering the United States illegally
in March and applying for political asylum from the Bush Administration.
After living for almost two months in Miami unmolested by law
enforcement officials, he was detained on May 17. Venezuelan authorities
say they are planning to formally request his extradition back
to Caracas where he escaped in 1985 after being incarcerated for
alleged involvement in the bombing of the Cuban airliner.
The CIA document described a $1000-a-plate fundraiser in Caracas
held between September 22 and October 5, 1976, to support the
activities of Orlando Bosch, the head of CORU, which the FBI has
described as "an anti-Castro terrorist umbrella organization."
The informant quoted Bosch as making an offer to Venezuelan officials
to forgo acts of violence in the United States when President
Carlos Andres Perez visited the UN in November, in return for
"a substantial cash contribution to [Bosch's] organization."
Bosch was also overheard stating: "Now that our organization
has come out of the Letelier job looking good, we are going to
try something else." Several days later, Posada was reported
to have stated that "we are going to hit a Cuban airplane"
and "Orlando has the details." (Both the Bosch and Posada
statements were cited in an October 18th, 1976 report to Secretary
of State Henry Kissinger posted
by the Archive on May 17th.)
Peter Kornbluh, who directs the Cuba Documentation Project at
the National Security Archive, called these documents "part
of a trove of intelligence records that provide leads and evidence
on major acts of terrorism committed by violent anti-Castro groups."
He called on the CIA to fully declassify its voluminous files
on Posada "as a concrete contribution to justice for those
who have committed acts of terror."
The Archive also posted a declassified CIA
summary that provided new details of Agency ties
to Posada and Bosch in the 1960s and 70s. The CIA "traces"
noted that Posada "was recruited by the Agency to serve as
a Maritime Training Branch instructor" in early 1965 and
also was "used as a source of information on Cuban exile
activities." The CIA continued to maintain relations with
Posada after he became a high ranking official in the Venezuelan
secret police, DISIP, between 1967 and 1974, although the nature
of Posada's work for the Agency during that time remains censored
in the document. The CIA also admitted that it had multiple contacts
with Orlando Bosch in 1962 and 1963.
In addition, the Archive posted a declassified FBI
document dated October 21, 1976, citing sources who
stated that CORU "was responsible for the bombing of the
Cubana Airlines DC-8 on October 6, 1976." The source quoted
a CORU member, Secundino Carrera, as stating that "this bombing
and the resulting deaths were fully justified because CORU was
at war with the Fidel Castro regime." At the time, CORU was
led by Orlando Bosch.
According to the declassified documents, CORU was created at
a meeting of Cuban exile groups in a small town called Bonao in
the Dominican Republic in June 1976. In a June
29, 1976, report on Orlando Bosch's group Accion
Cubana, FBI sources stated that "these groups agreed to jointly
participate in the planning, financing, and carrying out of terrorist
operations and attacks against Cuba." (page 8) Bosch, according
to the document, was committed to violent acts against other countries
he believed supported Cuba, including Colombia, Mexico and Panama.
At the meeting, according to the document, the groups discussed
kidnapping and executing a diplomat. A month later CORU members
attempted to kidnap the Cuban ambassador to Mexico; one of his
aides was shot and killed.
After Posada escaped from prison in Caracas, he flew aboard a
private aircraft to Aruba, and was then taken to El Salvador where
he assumed the alias "Ramon Medina" and became "support
director" for the illicit contra resupply operation being
run by the Reagan White House out of Illopango airbase in San
Salvador. (see diagram)
In a 31 page deposition
given to FBI agents in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, as part of the Independent
Counsel investigation into the Iran-Contra scandal, Posada detailed
his participation in these covert operations, including flying
on resupply missions for contra soldiers in southern Nicaragua.
According to Posada, he was able to save $40,000 from his pay
and lived on that in Central America after the scandal broke in
late 1986 and the resupply operation was shut down. When he ran
out of money, he asked another exile figure, Rafael Quintero for
help. "Quintero told him to send one of his paintings to
[Richard] Secord," the retired special forces official who
collaborated with Oliver North in selling arms to Iran and transferring
the profits to sustaining the contra war. According to the deposition,
"Posada did so and Secord sent Posada $1000 for it."
Note: The following documents are in PDF format.
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Documents On Posada and Bosch
1: CIA, Secret Intelligence Report, "Activities of
Cuban Exile Leader Orlando Bosch During his Stay in Venezuela,"
October 14, 1976
A source in Venezuela supplied the CIA with detailed intelligence
on a fund raiser held for Orlando Bosch and his organization
CORU after he arrived in Caracas in September 1976. The source
described the dinner at the house of a Cuban exile doctor, Hildo
Folgar, which included Venezuelan government officials. Bosch
was said to have essentially asked for a bribe in order to refrain
from acts of violence during the United Nations meeting in November
1976, which would be attended by Venezuelan President Carlos
Andres Perez. He was also quoted as saying that his group had
done a "great job" in assassinating former Chilean
ambassador Orlando Letelier in Washington D.C. on September
21, and now was going to "try something else." A few
days later, according to this intelligence report, Luis Posada
Carriles was overheard to say that "we are going to hit
a Cuban airplane" and "Orlando has the details."
2: CIA, Secret Memorandum to the FBI, "Information
Regarding Anti-Castro Figures Possibly Involved in Neutrality
or Other Violations of Federal Law," December 9, 1976
In the aftermath of the bombing of the Cubana flight, the CIA
ran "traces" on dozens of anti-Castro exiles who might
be linked to this atrocity. This document records the summaries
of traces on the two exiles who had by then been arrested in
Caracas, Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada. The CIA noted that agents
had had multiple contacts with Bosch in 1962 and 1963; and the
Agency acknowledged that it had employed Luis Posada starting
in 1965 and that he was a "demolitions expert." The
CIA also noted that he provided information to them on the activities
of other exile groups. It censored a section of the document
that described the services he performed for the CIA while a
high official in the Venezuelan secret police, DISIP, between
1967 and 1974. Other CIA records show that the Agency continued
to have contact with Posada until June of 1976, more than eleven
years after he was first recruited.
Documents on CORU and ACCION CUBANA
3: FBI, Intelligence Cable, "Bombing of Cubana Airlines
DC-8, Near Barbados, West Indies, October 6, 1976, Neutrality
Matters-Cuba-West Indies," October 21, 1976
The FBI transmits information from a source who has spoken
with a member of CORU named Secundino Carrera who admitted "that
CORU was responsible for the bombing of the Cubana Airlines
DC-8 on October 6, 1976." Carrera justifies the bombing
as an act of war. The memo indicates that the bombing has caused
some dissention in CORU over its tactics, but that the organization
headed by Orlando Bosch is planning to sell bonds to finance
4: FBI, Intelligence Report, "Accion Cubana (Cuban
Action) Internal Security-Cuba," June 29, 1976
This FBI report contains a range of information on "a
small terrorist organization headed by Orlando Bosch Avila,"
and other Cuban exile terrorists. Based on sources close to
Bosch's group, Accion Cubana, the report details Bosch's efforts
to raise funds from specific individuals in Miami, Caracas,
and elsewhere. The FBI also reports on the activities of Guillermo
and Ignacio Novo, who are described as "two Cuban exiles
with long records of terrorist activities. Most importantly,
on pages 8 and 9, the document describes the meeting in the
Dominican Republic where CORU was created in June 1976 to unify
five different exile groups. According to the memo, "these
groups agreed to jointly participate in the planning, financing
and carrying out terrorist operations and attacks against Cuba"
and targets in other countries.
and the Iran-Contra Operations
5: Organizational Diagram of the "Benefactor Company"
(BC) Contra Resupply Operation in San Salvador
The entity established by Lt. Col. Oliver North and retired
Pentagon officer, Richard Secord to illicitly sustain the contra
war was known as "BC." At Illopango airbase, known
as "Cincinnati" in the BC records, the Reagan administration
secret established a mini airforce of resupply planes along
with warehouses of supplies. After Luis Posada escaped from
prison in Caracas, he was given a high position as "support
director" of the Illopango operation, working under another
Cuban exile, Felix Rodriguez who used the codename "Max
6: Office of the Independent Counsel, Lawrence Walsh, Secret,
"Record of Interview with Luis Posada Carriles," February
Two FBI agents interviewed Posada at the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa,
Honduras in February 1992. He provided a detailed account of
his work for the contra war, which included descriptions of
escaping from Venezuela in a private aircraft and being flown
to Aruba, and then on to El Salvador. The 31-page interview
transcript also provides extensive details on his operations
in El Salvador and Guatemala after the Iran Contra scandal broke
in November 1986 and the contra resupply operation was shut
down. Although Posada accumulated $40,000 from the contra work-he
and others were paid from profits from the sale of armaments
to Iran--he eventually ran out of funds. At one point Richard
Secord sent him $1000.00 for one of his paintings.