On November 17, 2000, Luis Posada Carriles and three accomplices—including one affiliated with the powerful Cuban American National Foundation—were arrested in Panama in connection with a planned attempt to assassinate Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Officials seized 200 pounds of explosives.
All were found guilty and sentenced to prison but then, in August 2004, the country’s outgoing president, allegedly at the urging of the Bush administration, pardoned all four.
Eight months later, Posada slipped into the United States and requested asylum.
Posada—the reputed mastermind of the 1976 bombing of Cubana Airlines Flight 455 that killed 73 people and the 1997 Havana hotel terrorist bombing campaign that killed one and injured dozens of others—goes on trial again in January 2011 in El Paso, Texas.
But Posada is not charged with either of those terrorist crimes and the United States will not extradite him to either Venezuela or Cuba to face the courts there. Instead, authorities have charged him with the minor crime of lying on his asylum application… lying, in fact, about his role in the major crime of planting those bombs in Havana hotels.