Posada has been convicted in absentia in Panama of involvement in various terrorist attacks and plots in the Americas, including 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner that killed 78 people; admitted involvement in a string of bombings in 1997 targeting fashionable Cuban hotels and nightspots; involvement in the Bay of Pigs invasion; and involvement in the Iran-Contra affair. In addition, he was jailed under accusations related to an assassination attempt on Fidel Castro in Panama in 2000, although he was later pardoned by Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso in the final days of her term. Posada Carriles has always denied involvement in the airline bombing and the alleged plot against Castro in Panama, but has admitted to fighting for “freedom” in Cuba.
In 2005, Posada was held by U.S. authorities in Texas on the charge of illegal presence on national territory before the charges were dismissed on May 8, 2007. On September 28, 2005 a U.S. immigration judge ruled that Posada cannot be deported, finding that he faces the threat of torture in Venezuela. Likewise, the US government has refused to send Posada to Cuba, saying he might face torture. His release on bail on April 19, 2007 elicited angry reactions from the Cuban and Venezuelan governments. The U.S. Justice Department had urged the court to keep him in jail because he was “an admitted mastermind of terrorist plots and attacks”, a flight risk and a danger to the community. On September 9, 2008 the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reversed the District Court’s Order dismissing the indictment and remanded the case to the District Court. On April 8, 2009 the United States Attorney filed a superseding indictment in the case. Posada-Carriles’ jury trial had been set for February 26, 2010 but it was announced on February 22 that it would be postponed for at least three months. Posada-Carriles’ trial ended on April 8, 2011 with a jury acquitting him on all charges.
Peter Kornbluh of the National Security Archive has referred to him as “one of the most dangerous terrorists in recent history” and the “godfather of Cuban exile violence.” In Miami however, where Posada currently resides, he is considered “a heroic figure in the hardline anti-Castro exile community.”