A Honduran vacation, care of the FBI
If further evidence were
needed that Luis Posada Carriles entered Honduras from Panama illegally with the
aid of the United States and the connivance of the Honduran government, that
evidence was given last week by Honduras' own former immigration chief.
And because that
information was not provided by Miami's two Herald dailies, we give it here to
On Aug. 29, the former head
Department of Migration and Foreign Persons, Ramón Romero Juárez, appeared at
the Criminal Court Building in Tegucigalpa to file a demand for the
investigation of several officials in the United States Embassy, the Honduran
Special Prosecutor Against Organized Crime, and the Honduran Security
Romero's claim is that
those functionaries conspired against him because he objected to the presence in
of accused terrorist Luis Posada Carriles, under the protection of foreign
bodyguards -- in this case, agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, an
agency of the United States.
Posada flew into San Pedro
Sula on Aug. 26, 2004, after he and three other defendants in an explosives
possession trial related to a visit to
by Cuban President Fidel Castro in 2000 were pardoned by Panamanian President
Mireya Moscoso. The three others, who traveled with him in a private airplane,
flew on to Miami, leaving Posada in Honduras, in the care of FBI agents, Romero
"The Public Ministry lent
itself [...] to allow onto Honduran soil people like Posada Carriles, who
remained in the country after arriving from Panama. He had a different name and
surname and was protected by members of the FBI," Romero's statement says in
part. The Public Ministry is the office of the Attorney General.
"United States Embassy
personnel colluded with the attorney general and the Security Secretariat on the
case," the statement adds.
Posada remained in Honduras
for several months, according to Romero, until he entered the United States
illegally in mid-March 2005. He was arrested in
in May. Reports in Mexican newspapers indicate that Posada was taken from
Honduras to Mexico by a network of Cuban right-wing émigrés and then ferried by
yacht to Florida.
Romero's displeasure with
Posada's presence in Honduras -- and that of Posada's American bodyguards -- was
expressed in a complaint he filed with the Honduran minister of Justice and
Governance, Ramón Hernández Alcerro. Posada was no ordinary traveler, Romero
maintains; he was sought by Cuba and Venezuela for his role in the 1976 bombing
of a Cuban airliner, a crime that took 73 lives.
Shortly after he expressed
his opposition to Posada's presence, Romero states, he became the target of a
campaign of vilification from the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa and from Honduran
government officials. Eventually, he was charged by the Special Prosecutor's
office with three counts of abuse of authority and dismissed from his post.
Arrested in April 2005, he was released on bail on Aug. 18.
Then, in what some might
see as unwarranted interference, the U.S. Embassy issued a statement expressing
"great disappointment" with the fact that Romero would be free until his
eventual trial. Perhaps not surprisingly, a Honduran court revoked Romero's
parole on Aug. 31 and ordered that he be imprisoned again.
Romero, who this week is
appealing that decision, maintains that U.S. Embassy officials pressured the
government of President Ricardo Maduro to press trumped-up charges against him
in reprisal for his criticism of Honduran protection for Posada.
A clearing house
The incident has
highlighted the fact that Honduras has become a springboard for Cubans who plan
to enter the United States illegally, with the support of a well-organized
smuggling operation directed and financed from South Florida.
According to a story in The
Boston Globe Aug. 11, "Honduras recorded the arrival of 259 Cubans last year, up
from just 69 the year before. Many more come in undetected, authorities say."
The newspaper said some of
the Cubans "had to bribe corrupt local Honduran officials to let them go, or pay
hundreds or even thousands of dollars to smugglers to take them [to the U.S.]
through Guatemala and Mexico." The Globe does not say who oversees the smuggling
but it is known that Miami Cubans in Honduras and Mexico arrange for the "migrants'"
transit to the U.S.
Citing the U.S. Customs and
Border Protection agency, The Globe says that "the number of Cubans
clandestinely crossing from Mexico into the United States has more than doubled
over the last two years, from an estimated 3,000 in 2002 to some 6,100 last year.
As of June, more than 5,000 Cubans had crossed from Mexico undetected this year,
officials said, while only 10 were caught at the Mexican border and prevented
UPDATE ON PARAGUAY
Last week, Progreso Weekly
told you about the Pentagon's project to build a military base in Paraguay, and
about that country's acquiescence in the plan ("Paraguay, the Pentagon's new
An interesting footnote to
that story was written on Sept. 5, when the U.S. ambassador to that country,
John Francis Keane, announced in Asunción that Washington had approved
Paraguay's admission to the United States' Millennium Challenge Account, a
commercial program "reserved for developing countries that meet the judicial and
political conditions for investments."
In addition, Keane said, "my
country supports Paraguay's bid for other benefits from the World Bank, the
International Monetary Fund and the Inter-American Development Bank."
Keane did not say how much
money the U.S.
would give President Nicanor Duarte Frutos, but we should recall that Washington
recently handed President Ricardo Maduro of
$215 million under the same Millennium Challenge program.
Is there a quid-pro-quo in
this display of American largesse? Could the Millennium donation be called a
payback or a bribe for Paraguay's surrender of its sovereignty to the Pentagon?
One can only wonder.