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Luis Posada Carriles, considered a hero among members of the Cuban exile community for his role in the Bay of Pigs invasion and for his attempts to overthrow the late Fidel Castro, died Wednesday.
The Cuban exile militant and CIA agent was 90.
Here are some details on the life and times of Posada Carriles who was considered a terrorist by both the Cuban government and the United States’ FBI.
▪ He was born in Cinfuegos, Cuba, on Feb. 15, 1928.
▪ Posada Carriles studied medicine and chemistry at the University of Havana, where he first ran into a young Fidel Castro, and then worked as a supervisor for the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company.
▪ After serving in the U.S. Army in 1963 and 1964 and reaching the rank of second lieutenant, Posada Carriles, nicknamed Bambi, was recruited by the CIA in April of 1965 as an instructor in a training center in Florida. He worked for the CIA from 1965 to 1967, and then from 1968 to 1976 as an informant in Venezuela’s intelligence service.
▪ He was a naturalized citizen of Venezuela where he began an association with fellow Cuban exile and accused terrorist Orlando Bosch.
▪ When a Cubana airlines jetliner exploded shortly after takeoff from Barbados in mid-air in 1976, killing all 73 people aboard — including 24 members of the 1975 national Cuban Fencing team — the Cuban government accused Posada Carriles.
The bombing further complicated his already frayed relationship with the CIA, which was aware of evidence that incriminated Posada Carriles in the bombing, but regarded it as “circumstantial.” The U.S. State Department, using CIA information, concluded that Posada Carriles appeared to be “the person who planned the sabotage” of the Cuban jetliner.
Venezuelan passengers Hernán Ricardo Lozano and Freddy Lugo, associates of Posada Carriles, were arrested in Trinidad and Tobago as the bombers, but Venezuelan authorities arrested Posada and Bosch, who died in Miami in 2011, as the masterminds.
▪ He was an artist who drew oil on canvas landscapes. One was auctioned at Miami’s Big Five Club in 2011., when he returned to Miami after he was acquitted of lying to immigration officials about his alleged involvement in bomb attacks against tourist sites in Cuba in 1997. He had been arrested by the Police Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Miami in 2005.
The club hosted fundraising dinners for Posada Carriles’ legal defense that attracted hundreds of supportive exiles.
▪ Posada Carrilles has two children and lived in a home for U.S. veterans in Miami at the time of his death.