Dear Mr. DeFede:
I read your column today (6/15/05 - The cry in Havana: Posada is a murderer) with great interest. Much has been said and written about Mr. Posada Carriles and at least you mentioned the fact that he was twice acquitted, in Venezuela, of the Cuban airliner bombing. For that, I commend you as most columnists simply gloss over that fact. But you did not mention that, in spite of the two acquittals, he spent 9 years in a Venezuelan prison until he escaped. It seems that in Venezuela it is OK for the government to imprison people regardless of what the courts rule. I wonder if the average Cuban you talked to in Havana knows these facts. It is unlikely considering the censored news and propaganda most Cubans are bombarded with daily. What did you expect them to say? Let me ask you this: What difference does it make what the Cuban street thinks about Posada Carriles? I think O.J. Simpson is a double murderer, but a jury acquitted him and I have to live with that.
Perhaps Posada Carriles did mastermind that airliner bombing. If he did, then he should be punished. But who is going to try his case? Venezuela where the government simply appeals until it gets the verdict it desires, or Cuba where the verdict is guilty regardless of what the evidence may or may not show?
You do not mention in your column, the many international fugitives known to be currently hiding in Cuba. Perhaps it does not fit neatly into your tale of the good guys (Fidel and Cuba) and the bad guys (Bush and the U.S.). You mention the suffering that the relatives of the victims of the airliner bombing have endured but not the suffering of the families of the Brothers to the Rescue pilots that were shot down by Cuban Air Force planes over international waters, an act that was orchestrated by the Cuban state and that happened much more recently. You also fail to mention the terrorist origins of the Cuban revolutionary government, which came into being through acts such as bombings, assassinations, kidnappings, and extortion.
You seem surprised that Cuba gave you a visa to attend their state-sponsored conference on terrorism. I don not know why. Surely they know of your left-of-center political leanings as well as your anti-Cuban exile stance. Did you bother to apply for a visa last month when international journalists were turned away as they tried to cover the Assembly to Promote Civil Society in Cuba? No, that was a story I am sure you were not interested in covering up close and one the Cuban government did not want covered at all. They gave you that visa because they thought they could count you to be a TONTO UTIL, to report the story exactly as they want it to be reported. Your column today vindicates their assumption. If it is true that the Miami Herald is hated inside Cuba, then your newspaper has succeeded in unifying Cubans on the island and Cuban exiles in at least one cause.
Henry Louis Gomez
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