America’s Favorite Terrorists

in Politics by

This column first appeared on Latino Rebels

“Never believe anything in politics
until it has been officially denied.”
— Otto von Bismarck, “Iron Chancellor” of Germany

When in doubt, accuse the U.S. government of doing what it accuses other governments of doing. The rule goes double for Trump. He’s the ultimate avatar for political projection, bar none—his favorite labels for his enemies are “liar,” “loser,” “crooked,” “crazy,” “stupid,” and “unbelievable.” So severe is his lack of self-awareness, both physically and morally, I doubt the man owns a mirror.

Which is why I was hardly surprised when, on Monday, days before the Secret Service chucks him out of the White House—as is their Constitutional obligation, and their patriotic duty—Trump took one last falling jab at Havana by labeling the Cuban government a “state sponsor of terrorism.” Trump’s reason for doing so, as expressed by State Secretary Mike Pompeo, is for the Cuban Communist Party’s sheltering a fugitive member of the Black Liberation Army, Assata Shakur; for Cuba’s refusal to send some guerrillas back to Colombia; and for its unbroken allyship with socialist Venezuela, though I’m not sure why the last charge makes Cuba down with terrorism. I guess Donnie figures his flock doesn’t know the difference between socialists and terrorists.

Assata is wanted for being an accomplice to the supposed killing of a state trooper in cold blood on the New Jersey Turnpike in 1973—she was shot twice, a third BLA member died—and for later escaping from a prison in 1979 and fleeing to Cuba, where she’s lived ever since.

The guerrillas are wanted in Bogotá for the bombing of a police academy two years ago that killed 22 people.

America hates Venezuela because, ever since the socialists took over in 1999, they haven’t kissed America’s ring or let her chug all its oil. Venezuela is home to the largest oil reserves in the world—bigger than the Saudis’, and over twice as big as Iraq’s—and throughout the last century, past regimes in Caracas allowed America to drink her fill. In fact, up until a few years ago, even with the socialists in power, America was the largest importer of Venezuelan oil, with the Venezuelans supplying about 20 percent of our oil addiction.

But it wasn’t enough. So Washington decided to put the screws on Venezuela, by placing sanctions against it, refusing to buy its oil, and pressuring other countries to do the same.

Now the Venezuelans are surviving on slim pickings, and Trump and the rest of the U.S. government are saying it’s because socialism has failed in South America, not for anything America has ever done.

The U.S. government is like a bully who trips you and then calls you clumsy when you faceplant. It’s the World’s Great Hypocrite.

Let me show you what I mean…

Cubana Flight 455 exploded 11 minutes after takeoff, en route from Barbados to Havana, in October 1976. The men who planted the two bombs were members of CORU, a group described by the FBI as “an anti-Castro terrorist umbrella organization.” The group was founded by two Cubans, Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada Carriles, with Bosch as its leader. Both men were former agents of the CIA—Posada’s work with the agency traced all the way back to America’s failed invasion of Cuba in 1961.

The months leading up to the bombing saw CORU commit a handful of terrorist attacks, culminating in the killing of the former Chilean ambassador, Orlando Letelier, along with his American assistant, Ronni Moffit. Their car exploded as they rode down Embassy Row in D.C. Besides being ambassador to the United States under the late Salvador Allende, Letelier had served in a number of positions in the socialist government, serving as Chile’s minister of defense when a coup orchestrated by the CIA installed Gen. Pinochet’s dictatorship. It was Pinochet’s own secret police, the DINA, who hired Bosch and Carriles to take out Letelier, one of the leaders in organizing the international community against the right-wing regime in Chile

As with Carriles and the Bay of Pigs, Bosch had honed his terrorist tactics long before forming CORU. He had fled to Miami in 1961 and immediately helped organize a group, MIRR, launching terrorist attacks in Cuba in an attempt to cripple the fledgling socialist regime. He was working as a pediatrician at a hospital in Coral Gables when he was fired for bringing bombs to work. Then he was arrested for towing a homemade torpedo through rush-hour traffic. A year later he and others were charged with trying to smuggle bombs out of the country.

But he wasn’t convicted for anything until 1968, when he shot a ship docked in Biscayne Bay with a homemade bazooka.

Bosch was sent to prison for the bazooka—and for the bomb threats he sent to the governments of Great Britain, Mexico and Spain—but he was freed on parole after just four years, thanks to people like the governor of Florida, calling for his early release. By that time Bosch was connected to at least 30 acts of terrorism in the United States, Puerto Rico, Panama, and Cuba, by the FBI’s own reckoning.

Bosch fled the country in 1974, turning up in Venezuela where he had joined forces with Posada, who was working for Venezuela’s intelligence agency. Bosch bombed a cultural center and the Cuban embassy in Caracas that same year. When the Venezuelan authorities arrested him and offered to send him back to the United States, the Yanks passed.

So the Venezuelans released him, and he went to Chile, where Pinochet provided a safe house for him and his new young Chilean bride. Living comfortably in Santiago under the care and protection of a military dictatorship, Bosch continued his terrorist attacks, sending bombs to the Cuban embassies in Canada, Spain, Argentina, and Peru. He was tied to the bombing of the Mexican embassy in Guatemala, and for even plotting to kill his patrón‘s patron, Henry Kissinger.

When he was arrested in Costa Rica in early 1976, the ticos offered to send him to the United States, and again the Yanks weren’t interested. The Costa Ricans deported Bosch to the Dominican Republic, where he co-founded CORU with Posada that summer.

All 73 people aboard Cubana Flight 455 were killed when the C-4 planted by Bosch’s men tore the plane apart. Among those on board were all 24 members of the Cuban national fencing team, many of them teenagers—by far the best team in Latin America.

Bosch and Posada were arrested in Venezuela a week after the Cubana bombing, and the Cuban Americans of South Florida threw a fit. Miami declared an official “Orlando Bosch Day” in support, and Mayor Maurice Ferré flew to Venezuela to visit Bosch in prison. Later, Cold Warriors in the Reagan administration would call for Bosch’s release, and the future South Florida congresswomen, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, used it as a talking-point during her first campaign in 1988—she’s called Bosch a “hero” and a “patriot,” and even raised a quarter-million dollars for his defense fund.

In 1985, Bosch’s buddy Posada bribed his way out of Venezuelan custody with money sent to him by Jorge Mas Canosa, another Cuban exile and a big name in South Florida. Bosch was acquitted in Venezuela and granted asylum by Papa Bush, over strong objections from the Justice Department, with the associate U.S. attorney general calling Bosch “resolute and unwavering in his advocacy of terrorist violence,” and the local FBI field office in Miami saying Bosch was the city’s “number one terrorist.” Papa Bush’s own attorney general, in recommending Bosch be banned from the country, described him as an “unreformed terrorist.”

George H. W., I should remind you, had been director of the CIA himself in the seventies, back when the agency was working hand-in-glove with the dictatorships in South America under Operation Condor, which tallied at least 60,000 murdered, 30,000 disappeared, and over 400,000 held in prisons.

Despite their blood-stained hands, Bosch and Posada would enjoy their last years beneath the peaceful palm trees of South Florida, dying at ripe old ages—Bosch at the age of 84 in 2011, Posada in 2018 at the age of 90—but not before being linked to the bombings of the Copacabana, the Hotel Nacional de Cuba and others, which took the life of an Italian tourist. As with Posada’s escape from a Venezuelan prison in 1985, the bombs were planned and funded by Mas Canosa, that South Florida big shot, mostly through his own group, the Cuban American National Foundation. The group even released a statement after the hotel bombings, saying: “We do not think of these as terrorist actions.”

In the years before and since the bombings in Havana, CANF has received the bulk of its funding from National Endowment for Democracy, itself funded by the U.S. Congress.

Bosch and Posada are only two known terrorists aided and abetted—or sponsored, in other words—by the U.S. government. Anyone curious enough can do a Google search and come up with at least half a dozen other well-documented cases of Washington either funding or training terrorists.

That the U.S. government has the nerve to label Cuba a “state sponsor of terrorism”—after all the acts of terrorism committed by the United States and its minions against Cuba, the 634 plots to assassinate Fidel, the failed invasion of the island, the 50-plus years of economic and political sabotage. This isn’t like a bully tripping you and calling you clumsy, or the pot calling the kettle black—it’s the bully tripping you and calling you a bully.

The word terrorism typically refers to what the powerless do against the powerful. When the powerful terrorize the powerless, it isn’t called terrorism. It’s just power.

As it turns out, only a few days before the U.S. government accused Cuba of sponsoring terrorists, the U.S. Southern District of New York labeled one of America’s neo-colonies, Honduras, a narco-state.

President Juan Orlando Hernández won in 2013 with money stolen from the country’s social security fund, and his presidency has been propped by narcotraffickers and the U.S. government, which funds and trains its police and armed forces. His party, the Nationalists, were put in power through a coup orchestrated by Hillary Clinton’s State Department, during Obama’s first year in office. The chaos and bloodshed of the past 11 years can largely be traced to that event. So when the Honduran president is quoted as saying that he wants to “shove the drugs right up the noses of the gringos,” we can thank the U.S. government for that.

Not only does the U.S. government terrorize the people of other countries, it even terrorizes its own citizens—sometimes inadvertently, but usually as a matter of unofficial policy.

 

Featured image: The Source

Hector is the editor and publisher of Enclave. A Chicago writer now floating on the edge of Las Vegas, he is also the former deputy editor for Latino Rebels, as well as the former managing editor for Gozamos, a Latino art-activism site based in his home town. He has contributed to RedEye, a Chicago daily geared toward millennials, and La Respuesta, a New York-based site for the Puerto Rican Diaspora, plus a number of publications, including The Huffington Post. He studied history (for some reason) at the University of Illinois-Chicago, where his focus was on ethnic relations in the United States.

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