Target No. 1 Luis
Wanted for Terrorism
is CODEPINK’s Most Wanted Campaign about?
We discovered that in 2008, the
FBI is launching a new 20-city billboard
ad campaign targeting the Most Wanted Criminals
and Terrorists. The FBI will place billboards
in strategic locations where they can be
seen by millions driving by each day, asking
the public to call the FBI with any tips
or leads. We have looked at the FBI’s Most
Wanted List, and it fails to include many
people we think should be on that list.
So we’ve started our own Most Wanted Campaign.
is Luis Posada Carriles and why is he on
your Most Wanted List?
In the FBI’s campaign, Miami was chosen
as one of the 20 cities. Yet when we looked
on their list of Most Wanted, we discovered
that an important name was missing—that
of Luis Posada Carriles.
Luis Posada Carriles is known worldwide
as a ruthless terrorist. He masterminded
the destruction of Cubana Airline Flight
455 on October 6, 1976. The plane blew up
just after taking off from Barbados, killing
all 73 men, women and children aboard, including
the entire teenage Cuban Olympic fencing
team. Within 24 hours, according to a declassified
FBI cable dated the next day, an intelligence
source "all but admitted that Posada
had engineered the bombing of the airplane."
He was arrested and jailed for nine years
in Venezuela until 1985, when he bribed
his way out of prison.
In 1997, Mr. Posada orchestrated a series
of hotel bombings in Havana intended to
deter the growing tourism trade in Cuba.
In one bombing incident, an Italian tourist
was killed and 11 people wounded. In a taped
interview with New York Times reporter Ann
Louise Bardach, Mr. Posada proudly assumed
responsibility and suggested such acts of
terror would continue. "It is sad that
someone is dead," he said, "but
we can't stop."
Then in November 2000, Mr. Posada was arrested
in Panama, charged and convicted as the
ringleader of a conspiracy to assassinate
Fidel Castro during a state visit - a plot
that involved detonating a carload of plastic
C-4 explosives that could have killed dozens
of innocent bystanders.
But instead of spending the rest of his
life behind bars, Posada Carriles lives
freely in Miami! The Bush administration’s
failure to detain or extradite this dangerous
man makes a mockery of the U.S. war on terror.
are the campaign goals?
Our goal is the inclusion of Luis Posada
Carriles on the FBI Most Wanted List, and
his prosecution in the U.S. or extradition
to Venezuela, where he is wanted on 73 counts
of first-degree murder. We also aim
to highlight the need to stop the U.S.’s
selective enforcement of terrorism, and
to expose the duplicity of elected officials,
particularly Congressmember Ros-Lehtineen
and Congressmembers Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balarts
—congresspeople who have advocated on behalf
of Posada Carriles.
activities will CODEPINK engage in?
We will launch the Campaign in Miami on
January 12-14. We will produce 5,000 Posada
WANTED postcards addressed to the FBI, and
will spend several days doing outreach on
the streets of Miami (including Little Havana)
asking people to sign the cards. On Sunday,
January 13, we will do a 24-hour vigil at
a symbolic location. On Monday, we will
go to the FBI at 9am to turn in the cards
and demand the arrest of Posada Carriles.
We will also protest the FBI destruction
of five boxes of evidence related to the
case. At noon we will go to the office of
Cong. Ros-Lehtinen to demand that she stop
The next phase will be our billboard campaign,
based on the FBI campaign. Our billboard,
with a profile of Posada Carriles and text
Wanted for Terrorism, will encourage people,
if they see him, to call the Miami FBI.
We will attempt to put several billboards
up in downtown Miami, starting in February.
In Washington DC, we will pressure members
of the Congressional Judiciary Committee
and Homeland Security Committees to call
for Posada’s arrest. We will do vigils out
side the Justice Department, calling on
Attorney General Michael Mukasey to enforce
U.S. anti-terrorism laws. We will follow
the Federal Grand Jury proceedings in New
Jersey on this case to see if it produces
We will also organize a mock trial in Miami
that will include legal and academic experts,
as well as victims’ families.
target Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen? How is
After the July 2005 terrorist attack in
London, the Congresswoman said, "The
targeting of innocent lives is insidious
and shows the utter disrespect that perpetrators
of terror have for humanity. Those who committed
this callous act must know that our determination
to neutralize terrorism is unshaken and
that we will not yield in the face of such
Yet in the case of Luis Posada Carriles,
in 2003 Ros-Lehtinen, along with Congressmen
Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balarts, pressured
then Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso
to release Posada, Pedro Remón, Guillermo
Novo and Gaspar Jiménez. All four were convicted
in Panama of plotting to blow up a university
center where Fidel Castro was scheduled
to visit. In one of her last acts before
leaving office, Moscoso pardoned the four
In May 2007 the same Congresspeople denounced
the Justice Department’s cooperation with
the government of Cuba on collecting evidence
on Posada Carriles and the 1997 hotel bombing
that killed an Italian tourist, a case that
is still under a New Jersey grand jury probe.
The representatives “condemned the Bush
Administration Justice Department's so-called
‘search for evidence on terrorism’ from
the Cuban terrorist regime.”
As Jim DeFede of the Miami Herald wrote
in an article about Ros-Lehtinen, “The nobility
of your cause cannot be a justification
for terror, because every terrorist believes
that what he is doing is right. Which is
why the only way to fight terrorism is to
condemn it in all its forms and not just
when it is politically convenient.”
it dangerous to do this in Miami, where
there is a militant right-wing Cuban community?
Yes, those who live in Miami know that there
are elements of the Cuban community who
are very violent. They have bombed and beaten
people who dared to criticize their positions.
But if the US. is going to have moral standing
in the world, we must be consistent in opposing
all violence against civilians and holding
all terrorists accountable. It’s up to us
to force our government to stop holding
a double standard of condemning some acts
of terrorism and supporting others.
A political protest
in the streets of Miami boiled over on Saturday
when several hundred people from Miami's
Cuban-American community clashed with a
group of out of town activists.
Members of the San Francisco-based group
CODEPINK antiwar group had planned to protest
peacefully at Versailles restaurant in Little
Havana. Little did they know they would
be greeted by some 500 angry Cuban-American
"He's been declared by the U.S government
as an alien terrorist," Benjamin said.
"Why an alien terrorist would be walking
freely down the streets of United States."
Peace activists in pink dresses and tiaras
demanded the arrest of anti-communist militant
Luis Posada Carriles Saturday, but aborted
plans for a demonstration in Little Havana
after Carriles supporters rushed their vehicle.
The six activists, of the Codepink anti-war
group, had planned to speak to reporters
outside the landmark Versailles restaurant
to publicize their campaign against Carriles--
a former CIA operative wanted in Venezuela
in connection with the 1976 bombing of a
However they were met by some 200 irate
Cuban-Americans who consider Carriles a
champion of freedom. Some ran at the activists'
truck as they arrived, tearing off its pink
fringe, while others shouted sexist slurs.
CODEPINK is a women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end U.S. funded wars and occupations, to challenge militarism globally, and to redirect our resources into health care, education, green jobs and other life-affirming activities. The name CODEPINK satirized the Bush Administration's color-coded, fear-mongering "security" alert system that has since been phased out. CODEPINK is a lively call for the people of the world to "wage peace." More...