Havana, Cuba, Feb 10.- Lt. Col. Roberto Hernandez Caballero, of the Cuban Interior Ministry, testified on Wednesday in the ongoing trial against international and self-confessed terrorist Luis Posada Carriles in El Paso, Texas.
The Cuban military officer, who was in charge of a task force that investigated a series of bomb attacks against tourist facilities in Havana and Varadero in 1997, presented evidence of the damages caused by the bombings, including a photo of the blood-stained lobby of Havana’s Copacabana Hotel after a bomb exploded killing Italian tourist Fabio Di Celmo.
Hernandez described how that bomb destroyed a crystal ashtray sending shards of glass flying that killed Di Celmo. “You could see a lot of destruction and the shrapnel from the ashtray,” he said.
In reference to other 1997 attacks, the witness described how a bomb exploded in a bathroom sink inside the discotheque of the Melia Cohiba Hotel, which was at that time the most-popular among tourists visiting Havana. He also explained how an explosion rocked the lobby of Havana’s
Hotel Capri on July 12, and how, only a few minutes later, a bomb destroyed a bank of phone booths at the Hotel National. He also mentioned the August 22 bombing of the hallway linking the rooms and lobby in the Sol Palmeras Hotel in Varadero and another that blew up that same month near the reception desk of the Melia Cohiba.
Posada Carriles is being tried only for lying during citizenship hearings in El Paso about how he sneaked into the US in March 2005, and of failing to acknowledge planning the bombings of the Cuban hotels and a restaurant in 1997.
In 1998, during an interview with journalist Ann Louise Bardach published by the New York Times, Posada Carriles admitted that he was behind the bombings, which he said were meant to hurt Cuban tourism.
Two other Cuban experts —medical examiner Ilena Vizcaino, who examined Di Celmo’s corpse, and Major Misael Fonte, with Havana’s Central Crime Lab— are ready to testify.(acn).