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Posada Carriles Hopes To Escape From Castro’s “Terrorist” Label

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MIAMI (CBS4) – He has been called one of the world’s most dangerous terrorists, but Luis Posada Carriles insists he concentrates on art, not terror

Posada Carriles is proud of the work he does on canvas, eager to show me his oil paintings of Cuban landscapes, and sketches of Cuban historical figures.

“I like to paint patriots,” he tells me as he shows me a painting of Cuban independence hero Antonio Maceo.

Posada Carriles, 83, is not as eager to talk about why his face is on billboards in Cuba, where the Cuban government considers him a terrorist and public enemy number one.

“Everything that happens, he (Fidel Castro) blames me for it,” he says.

The Cuban government blames him for the bombing of a Cubana Airlines jet in 1973 that killed 73 people, including members of Cuba’s national fencing team. Cuba also claims he paid a former Salvadoran soldier to smuggle explosives into the island inside a television monitor. The explosives were used to bomb Havana hotels, and killed an Italian tourist in 1997.

Flanked by his two attorneys, Posada Carriles would not discuss the Havana bombings, but he did talk about his 16-week trial in El Paso, Texas where a federal jury found him not guilty of lying to U.S. immigration officials about his role in the bombings.

“I feel wonderful, I don’t what to say,” he said. “For other countries like Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, it’s an example how justice works in the United States.”

A Bay of Pigs veteran, Posada Carriles served in the U.S. Army, and worked for the CIA in Central America. He was shot in the face by would-be assassins in 1990 and has trouble speaking He prefers to express himself on canvas, creating peaceful images, a world away from the covert CIA-backed wars he waged against his arch enemy Fidel Castro.

“I do not believe Mr. Posada is a terrorist,” says his attorney Arturo Hernandez. “I think Mr. Posada is a relentless Cuban patriot who has risked his life numerous times for the cause of freedom.”

“I live here under the law of the United States,” Posada Carriles said. “I love the United States.”

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