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Monday - July 13, 1998
A BOMBER'S TALE: Part II
Decades of Intrigue
Life in the Shadows, Trying to Bring Down Castro
By ANN LOUISE BARDACH and LARRY ROHTER
Two years after the Bay of Pigs invasion ended in ignominious failure on the beaches of Cuba, two young Cuban exiles stood next to each other in the spring sun at Fort Benning, Ga., training for the next march on Havana.
It was 1963, a time of feverish American plotting against Fidel Castro's rule. The two men were among the exiles who had survived the bungled operation to overthrow the Cuban leader and had enlisted in the United States Army, confident that President Kennedy would mount another attack that would banish Communism from the hemisphere.
Jorge Mas Canosa, the younger of the two, emerged as the public face of the movement, a successful businessman who as chairman of the powerful Cuban-American National Foundation courted Presidents and politicians, raised money and relentlessly lobbied the White House and Congress to get tough on Cuba. By the time Mr. Mas died of cancer last
November, after two decades of denying any direct role in the military operations of exiles seeking to destabilize Cuba, he had become perhaps the most influential voice in tightening America's official policy of economic and political quarantine.
The older man, Luis Posada Carriles, a former sugar chemist, became a leader of the exiles' clandestine military wing, plotting to kill Mr. Castro and planting bombs at Cuban Government installations. As Mr. Mas was building a personal fortune that eventually exceeded $100 million, Mr. Posada remained in the shadows, consorting with intelligence officers, anti-Castro militants and even, declassified documents say, reputed mobsters.
Now, as he nears the end of his career as the most notorious commando in the anti-Castro underground, Mr. Posada has for the first time detailed his 37-year relationship with exile leaders in the United States and with the American authorities.
Supplemented by additional interviews and newly declassified American intelligence reports, Mr. Posada's account is the most detailed to date of the deadly underside of the campaign against Mr. Castro's rule.
In two days of taped interviews at his hideout in the Caribbean, Mr. Posada was by turns proud, bawdy, boastful and evasive about his work as a self-proclaimed freedom fighter, which included a series of hotel bombings last year that plunged Cuba into tumult. He described, sometimes selectively, the role of his sponsors in the ostensibly nonviolent Cuban-American population, and his complicated relationship with American officials who originally trained him but now take a dimmer view of his activities.
''The C.I.A. taught us everything -- everything,'' Mr. Posada said. ''They taught us explosives, how to kill, bomb, trained us in acts of sabotage. When the Cubans were working for the C.I.A. they were called patriots. 'Acciones de sabotaje' was the term they used to classify this type of operation,'' he added, using the Spanish for acts of sabotage. ''Now they call it terrorism. The times have changed. We were betrayed because Americans think like Americans.''
It is not clear why Mr. Posada, who has avoided interviews for most of his career, has chosen to speak publicly. Last month, he agreed through an intermediary to talk to a reporter, provided that the location of the interview was described only as ''somewhere in the Caribbean'' and that his current residences were not disclosed. Mr. Posada, who has survived several assassination attempts, recently told a close friend that he feared that he would not live long enough to tell his version of events.
During the interviews Mr. Posada often joked about his outlaw activities. But there was also a wistful, almost melancholic tone to the conversations with a man who has devoted his entire adult life to a not-yet-realized goal that seems as elusive as ever. Communism in
Europe has vanished, but the 71-year-old Mr. Castro is still a true believer and still in power, with no signs that he is losing his grip.
No anti-Communist opposition in the world has been more fervent or as well financed as that of Cuban exiles living here. And yet, as Mr. Posada made clear in the interviews, they have little to show for their efforts.
To outsiders, the struggle between the aging leader and the graying commandos who want to displace him seems geriatric, as out of place in the late 1990's as the vintage American cars that still cruise the streets of Havana. But as Mr. Posada emphasized, the hatred of the men on the losing side of Mr. Castro's revolution has not been dimmed by the passing of the years. ''Castro will never change, never,'' he said, adding later, ''Our job is to provide inspiration and explosives to the Cuban people.''
Barely a half-hour into the conversation, Mr. Posada yanked his shirt over his head, displaying a torso ribboned with scars, the legacy of an attempt on his life in Guatemala in 1990. Both his arms showed holes where slugs had entered and exited; across his upper left chest was a 10-inch gash where bullets had grazed his heart.
''Let me have your hand,'' he said, maneuvering a reporter's wrist to the right side of his jaw, shattered by the same bullet that damaged his tongue and nerves, leaving him with a crushed, gravelly voice. ''One bullet entered here, and it exited on the left side. My chin used to be an inch longer, very nice. I was very handsome once.''
Mr. Posada, who always carries a revolver and is described in C.I.A. files as an excellent marksman, blames Cuban operatives for his maiming. But as he told the story of his life on the run and his work for various anti-Communist governments in the region, it became clear that his decades of intrigue had left him with enemies aplenty throughout the region, from the leftist guerrilla movements of Venezuela, Nicaragua and El Salvador to the Guatemalan military, whose officers he was spying on at the behest of the country's President.
A long period of recuperation followed the attack. Then at 64, he resumed his life's mission, doggedly determined to topple Mr. Castro. ''It's a war, a bad war,'' he said.
Luis Posada Carriles was born on Feb. 15, 1928, in the then-elegant coastal city of Cienfuegos, one of four children in a family he described as upper middle-class. His father owned a bookstore and printing press, and moved the family to the capital when Luis was 17 and about to enter the University of Havana.
Also at the university was an intense law student named Fidel Castro. ''He was three years ahead of me,'' Mr. Posada recalled, describing him as tall and handsome but outfitted ''like a crazy guy, dressed like a gangster.'' He said his most vivid memory of Mr. Castro was his imposing the same gangster style on student politics, relying on a band of supporters in which ''everyone had guns'' to intimidate opponents.
After studying medicine for two years and then chemistry, Mr. Posada went to work for the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, first in Havana and then in Akron, Ohio, after the revolution. His entire family, including his parents, two brothers and a sister, remained behind, committed to Mr. Castro's revolution.
His 58-year-old sister, Maria Conchita Posada de Perez, joined the Cuban Army after the revolution and reached the rank of colonel. ''She is married to a colonel in the intelligence department,'' Mr. Posada said, savoring the irony. ''I help her with money now and then.''
Like most educated Cubans his age, Mr. Posada opposed the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. ''To be frank, I was never interested in politics when I was young,'' he said. ''Not until the revolution.''
By 1960 he had moved into open opposition to Mr. Castro, which landed him in a military prison. According to his Cuban criminal record, a copy of which was published a decade ago in Granma, the official newspaper of the Cuban Communist Party, he then sought political asylum at the Embassy of Argentina, left Cuba in February 1961 and immediately volunteered for the force being trained by the C.I.A. for the Bay of Pigs invasion two months later.
It is not clear precisely what prompted Mr. Posada to take up arms against the revolution so heartily supported by his own family and, initially, by a great majority of his countrymen. Asked repeatedly to explain, he said simply: ''All Communists are the same. All are bad, a form of evil.''
Later in the interviews, Mr. Posada wrote out his credo on a sheet of yellow note paper. The oppression, suffering and poverty Mr. Castro has propagated, he argued, ''gives the right to all free Cubans to rebel in arms against the tyrant, using violence and any method within our reach that contributes to the toppling of the nefarious system and leads to the freedom of our fatherland.''
Mr. Posada was sent to Guatemala to take part in a second wave of landings in the Bay of Pigs invasion, but did not see action because the initial invading force foundered.
In March 1963, at the C.I.A.'s behest, Mr. Posada enrolled in officer candidate school at Fort Benning and received instruction in demolition, propaganda and intelligence. Fate brought him together with Mr. Mas Canosa. ''Jorge stood next to me every day for seven months in the line,'' recalled Mr. Posada. ''We were very close friends.''
Both men left the Army after it became clear that the United States had no intention of invading Cuba again. They settled in Miami, the epicenter of anti-Castro activity.
Although revolution was his passion, Mr. Mas took jobs as a milkman, stevedore and shoe salesman before becoming involved with a telephone cable company that became the cornerstone of his multimillion-dollar fortune. ''I knew Jorge when he was poor,'' Mr. Posada recalled. ''He was not perfect, but he was a very smart guy. He had a lot of trouble with different people, even with his own brother.'' But, Mr. Posada added, ''I trusted him.''
While Mr. Mas was making his mark in business, Mr. Posada was building close ties to the C.I.A., which was using Miami as a base of operations against Mr. Castro. It was a dizzying time of conspiracies and plots, some harebrained, some deadly serious. The agency's station in Miami was among its largest, and its officers industriously enticed anti-Castro Cubans to sign on with ''the company.'' Miami's organized-crime figures, who had taken in bountiful profits under the Batista Government, were eager to bankroll the Cuban opposition, or use the Cubans for their own ends.
In the interviews, Mr. Posada spoke only obliquely about this period and provided even fewer details in his 1994 autobiography, The Roads of the Warrior. Now, newly declassified documents furnished for The New York Times by the National Security Archive, a nonprofit research group in Washington, make clear why: for much of that time, the C.I.A. was directing Mr. Posada's activities, involving itself even in such minutiae as whether he should buy a boat. (His handlers thought that it was a bad idea and that his cover would be better without it.)
The documents are part of voluminous files amassed by the 1978 House Select Committee on Assassinations as part of its investigation into the killing of President John F. Kennedy. Investigators examining whether anti-Castro Cubans had any links to the 1963 assassination were permitted to read and summarize a trove of Government cablegrams and documents, all of which remain classified.
According to those summaries, Mr. Posada provided the agency and the F.B.I. with a steady stream of valuable information about Cuban exile activity in Miami. It was the C.I.A. that directed Mr. Posada to ''establish a training camp for guerrilla ops against Castro.'' At one point, the documents say, the agency pressed Mr. Posada to recruit his brother Ricardo as a spy.
Interviewed in the late 1970's by investigators from the House assassinations panel, Mr. Posada said he had been trained as a C.I.A. operative in the Florida Keys and had quickly become a ''principal agent.'' He said his anti-Castro group had ''worked with the company direct'' and had arms, boats and a network of safe houses.
His handling of those responsibilities evidently earned Mr. Posada the respect of his C.I.A. superiors and high marks in the agency evaluations filed on him. One from the summer of 1965 deemed him ''of good character, very reliable, security-conscious,'' while another a year later said his ''performance in all assigned tasks has been excellent.''
At the same time, Mr. Posada was deepening his relationship with Mr. Mas, who is described in one of the C.I.A. documents as a ''close friend'' of his. The two were active in the exile group RECE, or Cuban Representation in Exile, and later in a larger umbrella alliance called CORU, or Coordinator of United Revolutionary Organizations, both of which undertook violent actions aimed at toppling the Castro Government.
A series of July 1965 cablegrams asserts that the two men were plotting to attack Soviet and Cuban installations abroad. One document quotes Mr. Posada as saying that ''Jorge Mas Canosa of RECE had paid assassin $5,000 to cover expenses of a demolition operation in Mexico'' and that Mr. Posada was ''planning to place limpet mines on a Cuban or Soviet vessel in the harbor of Veracruz, and had 100 lbs. of C-4 explosives and detonators.''
Mr. Mas, other documents reported, ''had in his possession 125 lbs. of Pentol to be placed as charges on the vessels'' and had ''proposed to demolitions expert he travel to Spain, Mexico at expense of RECE and place bombs in Communist installations in those countries.''
By July 24, according to the cablegrams, Mr. Posada had ''completed two 10-lb. bombs for RECE working directly with Mas Canosa.'' At that point, the cablegrams cryptically report, Mr. Posada was ''instructed to disengage from activities.'' There is no indication that the operation went forward.
The intelligence files contain intriguing references to Mr. Posada's dealings with Frank (Lefty) Rosenthal, described in one report as a ''well-known gangster'' who became the model for the fictional crime figure at the center of the movie ''Casino.''
During the summer of 1965, Mr. Posada was ''involved in passing silencers, C-4 explosives, detonators'' and hand grenades to Mr. Rosenthal, according to a Defense Department intelligence report. A year later, the report continued, Mr. Posada supplied 150 small bombs and some fuses to Mr. Rosenthal ''under threat of bodily harm.''
The 1967 report dryly states that ''station only recently advised of this transaction.'' A ''memo for the record'' says the timing ''suggests Posada may have been moonlighting for Rosenthal and only reported transactions to agency when it got hotter.'' About that time, Mr. Rosenthal left Miami for Las Vegas, Nev., after being questioned by the police in Miami about a series of unsolved bombings.
It appeared that Mr. Posada's ties with the agency had begun to fray. A report in February 1968 complains of his ''tendency'' to become involved in ''clandestine sabotage activities.'' A few months later, in June 1968, Mr. Posada was questioned about ''unreported association with gangster elements'' and ''thefts from C.I.A., plus other items.''
Mr. Posada's life took a new turn in 1967, when he abruptly left Miami and joined Venezuelan intelligence. This marked the beginning of his years as an operative for a succession of Latin American governments. He has not lived again in the United States, depending instead on a web of powerful friends in the region who see to his welfare and shield him from prosecution.
He got his job as chief of operations for Venezuelan intelligence with the help of C.I.A. recommendations and was immediately sent to combat the leftist guerrilla movements that Mr. Castro was supporting in Venezuela.
To Mr. Posada, the work was an extension of his efforts to bring down Mr. Castro, and by all accounts, he carried out his job in Venezuela with gusto. ''I persecuted them very, very hard,'' he said of the guerrillas, some of whom later abandoned armed struggle and now are important political figures in Venezuela. ''Many, many people got killed.''
Mr. Posada arranged for a friend from his C.I.A. days, Orlando Bosch, to ''come to Venezuela to make sabotage'' against the Castro Government. Mr. Bosch had earlier been convicted in the United States of a bomb attack on a Polish freighter bound for Cuba and advocated the violent overthrow of Mr. Castro.
But a falling out with Venezuela's newly elected President, Carlos Andres Perez, led to Mr. Posada's dismissal and prompted him to found his own private security agency, ''the largest in Venezuela,'' he said.
Around that time, Mr. Posada's relationship with the American authorities was suddenly thrown into crisis by an intelligence report that ''Posada may be involved in smuggling cocaine from Colombia through Venezuela to Miami, also in counterfeit U.S. money in Venezuela.''
According to the report, a copy of which is summarized in the House investigators' files, the C.I.A. decided ''not to directly confront Posada with allegation so as not to compromise ongoing investigation.'' But subsequent cablegrams call Mr. Posada a ''serious potential liability.'' The agency would most likely ''terminate association promptly if allegations prove true,'' one read.
Mr. Posada was questioned, and ''found guilty only of having the wrong kind of friends,'' the synopsis of another report read. Interrogators were convinced by his denial of drug trafficking, the report concluded.
Even so, by February 1976, the agency's officers decided to break their ties with Mr. Posada in what the documents cryptically described as concerns about ''outstanding tax matters.''
Over the next few months, Mr. Posada volunteered information to the agency in hopes of obtaining American visas for himself and his family. He warned that Mr. Bosch and another Cuban exile were plotting against the nephew of Chile's deposed leftist President. In June, Mr. Posada was calling the C.I.A. again, ''concerning possible exile plans to blow up Cubana airliner leaving Panama.'' He again asked for help with his visa.
Four months later, on Oct. 6, 1976, a Cubana jetliner with 73 people aboard was blown out of the sky shortly after it took off from the Caribbean island of Barbados. The dead included teenagers from Cuba's national fencing team.
The following day, the C.I.A. made what its records call ''unsuccessful attempts'' to reach Mr. Posada.
The bombing dramatically changed Mr. Posada's fortunes. Investigators in Venezuela traced the bomb to the plane's luggage compartment and identified two Venezuelans who checked bags through to Havana but got off the plane in Barbados. The men had worked for Mr. Posada, who was arrested and charged with the bombing. Also arrested was Mr. Bosch, who had long collaborated with Mr. Posada.
To this day, Mr. Posada maintains that he did not order the bombing and blames a Cuban colleague in Venezuelan intelligence for the action, which he called ''stupid.'' Mr. Bosch has defended the attack in a published interview as ''a legitimate act of war.''
A retired C.I.A. official familiar with the case said in a recent interview that ''Bosch and Posada were the primary suspects,'' adding, ''There were no other suspects.'' Mr. Posada was jailed in Venezuela, and for most of the next nine years, he remained behind bars, where along with Mr. Bosch he learned to paint.
During the interviews, Mr. Posada emphasized that he was never convicted of the bombing, and blamed corruption and political influence-peddling in the Venezuelan justice system for his failure to be freed on bail.
Mr. Mas, in contrast, was flourishing, his business booming and his political influence growing. At the behest of the Reagan Administration, he founded the Cuban-American National Foundation in 1981.
Mr. Posada acknowledged that he might still be in jail in Venezuela had not his friends, led by Mr. Mas, come to his rescue. In a sworn deposition taken in a civil lawsuit, Ricardo Mas, the estranged brother of Jorge Mas, recounted how he had traveled to Panama to obtain the cash used to pay for the escape.
Ricardo Mas was the comptroller of his brother's company, Church & Tower, from 1972 to 1985. He said that at his brother Jorge's instruction he deposited a check in one of the company's Panamanian accounts and returned with cash.
''He said that he needed me to go down and bring back $50,000, that it would be used to get Luis Posada Carriles out of jail, that Carriles wanted out, that he might start talking,'' Ricardo Mas testified. ''The guy, I guess, was breaking down. They had to get him out of jail.''
Mr. Posada's version of how money was raised for escape is somewhat different. He said that a bribe for the warden had come from the sale of his house in Venezuela and that the money from Mr. Mas had paid for additional expenses.
During a changing of the guard at midnight on Aug. 18, 1985, Mr. Posada, dressed in a black jacket with a collar turned up like a priest's, crossed the courtyard of the prison. He carried a Bible, to strengthen the impression that he was a priest, and a satchel containing food and a lamp.
A farmer saw him and ran to his side seeking solace, he recalled with amusement recently. '' 'Father, I have a son who is ill. Could you please pray for him?' I said ''O.K. friend, walk with me and pray,'' and together the two men strolled out of the prison. ''It was perfect,'' Mr. Posada said.
After fifteen days in Caracas, Mr. Posada said, he was taken to Aruba aboard a shrimp boat. From there, a private plane flew him to Costa Rica and then on to El Salvador, where Felix Rodriguez, a Cuban-American comrade from his C.I.A. days, was waiting for him with a job helping the secret contra resupply operation directed by Lieut. Col. Oliver L. North, the White House aide.
Mr. Posada was working for the American Government again, this time for a covert operation that had ties to the C.I.A. and the local military attache, but which was run by the White House.
In his autobiography, Mr. Posada acknowledged his debt to Mr. Mas. He wrote that ''a group from Miami, all very prominent, among them Jorge Mas, Feliciano Foyo, Pepe Hernandez and others'' created a ''pool'' to handle his finances. Mr. Foyo, who first met Mr. Posada during their training for the Bay of Pigs, is the longtime treasurer of the Cuban-American Foundation, while Mr. Hernandez is the group's president.
''I usually got $2,000 to $3,000 a month from Jorge,'' Mr. Posada elaborated recently. ''Every month someone came from Miami, and they gave me money. But as soon as I started working with the contras, I said stop sending me money, because I am working.''
Mr. Posada was given a Salvadoran passport in the name of Ramon Medina Rodriguez. He coordinated the flights of a fleet of rickety planes that ferried supplies for the contras from the Salvadoran air base at Ilopango to the battlefront.
The flights ended in October 1986, when Sandinista forces shot down one of the planes and captured an American named Eugene Hasenfus, who parachuted safely to the ground. Mr. Posada said he had relentlessly teased Mr. Hasenfus about his habit of wearing the parachute and had himself been scheduled to fly aboard the downed aircraft but had narrowly missed the flight.
Captured by the Nicaraguan Government, Mr. Hasenfus began talking and immediately admitted that the contra operation was being directed by a Cuban exile known as Max Gomez whose real name was Felix Rodriguez. It was not long before the world learned that Ramon Medina was actually Luis Posada Carriles, the international fugitive.
These days, however, Mr. Posada describes his relationship with Mr. Rodriguez as frosty. According to F.B.I. documents obtained by the National Security Archive, Mr. Posada was interviewed for more than six hours at the American Embassy in Honduras regarding his role in the Iran-contra affair and complained to F.B.I. agents that Mr. Rodriguez ''talked too much.''
''They wanted me to come to Washington to testify against Oliver North,'' he said in the recent interview. ''I refused to go,'' he continued proudly, adding disparagingly that ''Felix went and testified.'' Of Mr. Rodriguez he said: ''You see, he's like a boy, like a child. Felix was an enemy of Oliver North.''
At loose ends after the Iran-contra affair, Mr. Posada soon signed on as a security consultant to Vinicio Cerezo, Guatemala's first democratically elected civilian President in a generation. Mr. Cerezo's biggest challenge was to curb the power of the Guatemalan military, and Mr. Posada's reputation for loyalty and tenacity seemed to make him the ideal choice to keep an eye on restive officers or guerrillas who might be planning a coup or an assassination.
But at the same time, Mr. Posada continued to pursue his campaign against the Cuban Government, keeping in close touch with his friends in Miami.
Mr. Posada said that in the 1980's, Gaspar Jimenez delivered money and messages to him. Mr. Jimenez, who was jailed in the 1976 murder of a Cuban diplomat in Mexico, now works at the medical clinic run by Dr. Alberto Hernandez, the foundation's current chairman, according to employees there.
A prominent Cuban exile, who has known Mr. Jimenez for 40 years, said the money had been provided by Cuban-Americans in Miami. Mr. Jimenez, he said, gave Mr. Posada $15,000 ''for every act of sabotage.'' Mr. Jimenez did not respond to requests for comment.
Mr. Posada's activities were brought to a halt on Feb. 28, 1990, though, when three gunmen he describes as Cuban intelligence operatives approached his car as it was stopped in traffic in Guatemala City and opened fire at him. He was hit by a dozen bullets, and he survived, he said, only because he was able to drive himself to a gasoline station and scratch out a note that mentioned his relationship with Mr. Cerezo and asked for an ambulance to be called.
''It took two years and three surgeries to recover,'' Mr. Posada said. ''My last surgery was a year ago. A doctor friend from Houston came down and operated on me at an army base in El Salvador.''
In his book, Mr. Posada said his medical bills, some $22,000, were paid by friends in Miami. Once again, leaders of the Cuban-American National Foundation, among them Dr. Hernandez, who succeeded Mr. Mas Canosa as chairman of the group last November, and Mr. Foyo, its treasurer, led the effort.
Mr. Posada acknowledged that many people besides his enemies in Cuba had motive to want him eliminated. Guerrilla groups in Venezuela, the Sandinista Government of Nicaragua, the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front in El Salvador had all been victims of his anti-Communist zeal, and the Guatemalan Army had long been resentful of an outsider being brought in to advise and protect Mr. Cerezo.
But Mr. Posada said he was certain that his attackers were Cuban operatives, citing information provided to him by an unidentified friend in Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency. ''They were supposed to kidnap me and take me back to Cuba, interrogate me and have me confess on television,'' he maintained.
At an age when most of his contemporaries have retired and are doting on their grandchildren, Luis Posada Carriles has returned with renewed vigor and determination in recent years to the struggle that has consumed him all of his adult life. Time is running out, he made it clear, both for him and his lifelong adversaries.
With Mr. Mas dead, Mr. Posada said, he is particularly concerned that the anti-Castro movement is now rudderless and drifting. One of the reasons he agreed to come forward now to discuss his activities, he explained, was in hopes of reinvigorating the cause.
''Right now is a bad time,'' he said. ''Too many years. Everybody is very old.''
Mr. Posada said he last spoke with Mr. Mas about a month before he died of cancer that began in the prostate and spread to the lungs and bones. ''He was very sick then,'' he said. ''It was very sad. He was in terrible pain. He knew he was dying. He was a very powerful man.'' Mr. Posada paused. ''Now is nothing.''
Equally disturbing is the attitude of American Government agencies, Mr. Posada said. Cuba is not as important an issue to the Clinton White House as it was to earlier administrations, and many of the veteran operatives for whom he performed favors -- and from whom he collected them -- have long since passed from the scene, leaving him to deal with a younger, less sympathetic generation. ''It's been a long time since I've done anything for them,'' he lamented.
''It's a new relationship,'' he continued, with concern evident in his voice. ''The problem is that they think the money which helped me in the operation came from the States,'' which would be a violation of American law. When it was suggested to him that was indeed the case, he replied ''Yes, it's obvious.''
As Mr. Posada sees it, because he does not stage his anti-Castro activities from within the United States, his activities should be of no concern to the American authorities. ''What I do is from Latin America, and my targets are inside Cuba,'' he said. ''I am not a citizen, so they do not have power over me.''
Mr. Posada suspects that he may be questioned by the American authorities about the hotel bombings, and he is bitter about the way he and the Cuban exile cause have been treated over the years. After a long courtship, he feels, he and his compatriots were seduced and then abandoned.
But most distressing of all is the nagging thought that his nemesis, Fidel Castro, might outlive him, as he has already outlived Mr. Mas. ''Maybe I pass away before Castro,'' he said with a shrug. ''Nobody knows.''
Informed that Mr. Castro's mother lived well into her 90's and that another relative recently celebrated her 105th birthday, Mr. Posada groaned. ''Oh my God,'' he said. But then, shaking his head and wagging his finger, he quoted a popular proverb, as if to reassure himself. It is derived from the Cuban tradition of slaughtering a hog for a holiday meal: ''A cada lechon se le llega su Nochebuena,'' or ''Every pig gets its Christmas Eve.''
Correction: July 18, 1998, Saturday
A chart on Monday about the life of the Cuban exile Luis Posada Carriles misstated the date that Fidel Castro entered Havana after taking power. It was Jan. 8, 1959. (Jan. 1 was the date that the dictator Fulgencio Batista fled Cuba.)
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