U.S. indicts Cuban exile for role in 1997 Cuba bombings

A federal grand jury handed up a new indictment against Luis Posada Carriles, for the first time linking the Cuban exile militant in a U.S. legal proceeding to a series of 1997 tourist-site bombings in Cuba that killed an Italian national.

The superseding indictment from the grand jury in El Paso does not charge Posada, 81, with planting the bombs or plotting the bombings but with lying in an immigration court about his role in the attacks at hotels, bars and restaurants in the Havana area. The perjury counts were added to the previous indictment that accused Posada of lying in his citizenship application about how he got into the United States. Another new charge is obstruction of a U.S. investigation into "international terrorism."

The indictment marks the first time since Posada arrived in the United States seeking asylum in March 2005 that the government has said he was involved in the Cuba bombings. A federal grand jury in New Jersey had been investigating Posada's alleged involvement in raising money for the bombing campaign among Cuban exiles in Union City, but no charges have been handed up there.

The new charges almost certainly will dismay Posada's supporters in the Cuban exile community who view the exiled militant as a hero in the continuing struggle against the Cuban regime.

Posada could not be reached for comment, but his Miami attorney, Arturo V. Hernandez, said his client is innocent.

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