American woman let down by
her government over Posada’s release
by Sophia Chang
May 9, 2007
Reprinted from Newsday via Granma Internacional
A Port Jefferson woman's long quest for justice for her brother -- killed when his flight from Barbados was bombed by Cuban dissidents in 1976 -- was snarled this week when a Texas immigration judge dismissed unrelated fraud charges against the man reportedly responsible for the attack. Luis Posada Carriles, 79, an anti-Castro activist, had been held at a Texas detention center and then under house arrest in Miami as he awaited trial on suspicion of illegally entering the United States in 2005. Kathleen Cardone, a federal judge for the Western District of Texas, El Paso Division, dismissed the charges of immigration fraud on Tuesday, saying that Posada, a Cuban native and Venezuelan national, had not received competent interpreting services during the government's interviews. The dismissal came as a blow to Roseanne Nenninger, 41, of Port Jefferson, who has actively lobbied to hold Posada accountable for what she sees as a lifetime of terrorism that also destroyed her family. "I really feel our government really let me down," she said. "Here they are saying we're not going to harbor terrorists, and here we have a terrorist."
Nenninger was an 11-year-old girl in her native Guyana when her brother Raymond Persaud won a scholarship to study medicine in Cuba. On Oct. 6, 1976, Persaud boarded the doomed Cubana Flight 455, which was brought down with explosives en route to Havana. All 73 passengers and crew on board were killed. A Venezuelan court found Posada, then living in Caracas, and two others guilty of the bombing, but Posada escaped from prison. The Venezuelan government has sought extradition, but his lawyer, Eduardo Soto of Miami, said Posada would be at risk of torture in Venezuela and in Cuba. He faces deportation once a suitable country is found, Soto said. In her decision, Cardone also blasted the U.S. Department of Justice's handling of the case as rife with "fraud, deceit, and trickery," saying investigators had overstepped the bounds of immigration statutes. Yesterday, Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd said the agency was "reviewing the judge's decision and evaluating its options." The dismissal of the charges cast an embarrassing light on the government's security policy, said Peter Kornbluh of the independent research group National Security Archives in Washington, D.C. He called Posada one of the "most prolific purveyors of violence. "It's clear that the Bush administration has had all along the discretion to classify Posada as a terrorist," Kornbluh said. "It has refused to do so, but instead has diddled around with treating Posada as a run-of-the-mill illegal alien." A U.S. Army veteran and ex-CIA operative, Posada is still under investigation by a federal grand jury in Newark for his role in a 1997-98 series of Havana hotel bombings. But yesterday, after his release from house arrest, Posada was headed back to Miami from Texas, Soto said, adding "he's very happy."