On June 15, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez dispatched the following complaint from his Twitter account, which spanned two tweets and was couched between expressions in Venezuelan slang:
The gringo government accuses us of anything and everything, but today marks 5 years since the extradition request of the granterrorista Posada Carriles, to which they haven’t even responded. The world is full of hypocrisy. Long live the revolution!”
Current gringo accusations against Venezuela range from Chávez’ purported effort to stamp out free speech—despite the fact that the majority of national media outlets belong to the Venezuelan opposition—and the existence of commercial flights between Caracas and Tehran. As for accusations against Luis Posada Carriles, an 82-year-old Cuban exile and Venezuelan national who was formerly on the CIA payroll, these include masterminding the 1976 bombing of a Cubana de Aviación flight which killed all 73 passengers on board, trying to assassinate Cuban leader Fidel Castro, and contributing to the 1997 Havana hotel bombings.
The New York Times summarizes Posada Carriles’ recent history, following Venezuela’s 2005 request for his extradition from the U.S.:
Mr. Posada has lived freely in Miami since 2007, when a federal judge in Texas dismissed an indictment against him on immigration fraud charges. He had entered the United States from Mexico, and was detained for two years until his release. He now spends his days painting landscapes, which are sold by the dozens at shows in Miami frequented by a shrinking but powerful group of hardened anti-Castro exiles.”
It thus appears that aircraft-related crimes merit a less severe U.S. response when not committed by Arabs or Muslims, a distinction that has presumably contributed to Chávez’ detection of hypocrisy in the world. As for seasoned Middle East observers appalled whenever Muslims kill other Muslims, Cubans who kill other Cubans do not apparently affect the moral standing of the community in general.
An article in the July/August 2010 issue of The Atlantic purporting to rectify American perceptions of terrorists deals only with the Arab/Muslim variety, citing the following evidence as a means of debunking the jihadist reputation for operational sophistication:
- The tradition of the pre-suicide bombing “manly embrace” in Afghanistan, which often results in the premature explosion of the embracers.
- The failure of the Nigerian “Jockstrap Jihadist” to detonate his underwear.
- U.S. Predator drone footage of Taliban fighters having sex with a donkey.
- Pornographic images found on Taliban and Al Qaeda laptops.
Posada Carriles has thus far avoided a similar exposure and continues to be permitted more cerebral endeavors such as landscape painting in Miami. As for Chávez’ post-flotilla massacre assertion that “the Obama administration condemns terror, as long as it’s not committed by the U.S. or Israel,” it remains to be seen whether Israel’s auto-inquiry into the raid will reveal that it was actually triggered by a manly embrace between alleged humanitarian activists.