Venezuela Submits Large File to U.S. Documenting Extradition Request

The Venezuelan embassy in the U.S. says it submitted many new documents to the U.S. government to substantiate its request for the arrest and extradition of Luis Posada Carriles, the Cuban-Venezuelan terrorist accused of bombing a Cuban airliner in 1976. The U.S. government had previously rejected the request because of insufficient documentation.

Luis Posada Carriles during his press conference shortly before his detention at an undisclosed location near Miami.
Credit: AP

Caracas, Venezuela, June 10, 2005—Venezuela’s Embassy in the U.S. submitted additional materials today that document Venezuela’s reasons for requesting the arrest and extradition of Cuban-Venezuelan terrorist Luis Posada Carriles. The U.S. had turned down the initial request for Posada’s arrest, submitted last May 13th, saying that it had received insufficient documentation. According to the embassy’s communiqué, “The documents presented include ample evidence of probable cause that Luis Clemente Posada Carriles is responsible for the explosion aboard the plane on October 6, 1976.”

The communiqué goes on to list 11 items of documentation the renewed extradition request includes, such as evidence of his escape from Venezuelan prison in 1985, evidence of his participation in the conspiracy to bomb the Cubana de Aviación flight in 1976, statements in which Posada admits to his relationship with those who placed the bomb, and the history of litigation of the case. 73 people died in the bombing of the Cuban airliner, which was flying from Venezuela to Cuba.

Posada is also said to have planned bombings of various tourist facilities in Cuba, which led to the death of one tourist, and in an assassination attempt of Fidel Castro. While Posada has admitted his involvement in these cases, he denies it in the case of the Cuban airplane.

Many media outlets in Venezuela and internationally have said that Posada was twice exonerated and was awaiting the prosecution’s attempt to appeal. The history of the litigation shows, though, that the first so-called exoneration, was a case that was dismissed because a military court had inappropriately tried Posada. The second trial never reached a conclusion because Posada escaped from prison before a verdict was reached.

The embassy’s documentation further specifies that the statute of limitations has not been reached because of Posada’s status as a fugitive from justice, in which case the statue of limitations does not apply.

According to the embassy statement, “the government of Venezuela reiterates to the government of the United States its duty to honor agreements established in the Extradition Treaty in place between the two countries.”

The U.S. Justice Department, in consultation with the State Department, had turned down Venezuela’s first request to have Posada arrested, saying that the documentation Venezuela submitted was insufficient to justify his arrest. At that time Posada had already been detained by the Immigration and Naturalization Service for having entered the country illegally. He is scheduled for an immigration hearing on June 13. Posada is seeking political asylum in the U.S.

Declassified CIA Documents Show Posada’s Involvement

The Washington-based National Security Archive, a non-profit organization dedicated to researching U.S. intervention in other countries, presented declassified CIA documents yesterday that quote Posada as saying, “We are going to hit a Cuban airplane,” shortly before the bombing took place in 1976.