Caracas, Venezuela, September 14, 2006 - A US Judge ruled Monday that suspected terrorist Luis Posada Carriles should be released because no third party country would accept his deportation. Venezuela and Cuba have both applied for his extradition but Judge Norbert Garney ruled that Carriles could not be extradited to either country as he would face the threat of torture. Garney said the United Nations Convention Against Torture prevented it. Posada Carriles is accused of involvement in blowing up a Cuban Airliner in 1976 when 73 civilians lost their lives.
Carriles was caught by US immigration authorities crossing the Mexican-US border in May of last year and has since been held in El Paso on immigration charges. US authorities have been seeking to deport him, “Posada Carriles should be released because no country can be found to accept him, other than Cuba and Venezuela, both of which want to try him for a series of bombings”, said Garney.
Among the countries that refused to allow him to enter were Canada, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Mexico.
If the recommendation is accepted by a Federal Judge he could be freed in 30 days. This, despite the fact that US Immigration and Customs Enforcement refused to release him in March this year because he was a, “danger to the community and a risk to the national security of the U.S”.
Posada Carriles, 78, was arrested and charged for the bombing in Venezuela in 1985 where he was subsequently held in prison awaiting trial. However, he managed to escape the same year where he fled to Central America. There, he reportedly worked for the CIA in El Salvador and Nicaragua.
There has been an extradition treaty between Venezuela and the US but with relations between the two at a low and the US hiding behind the UN Convention it is unlikely to be adhered to on this occasion. On hearing the recommendation José Pertierra, who represents Venezuela in the extradition proceeding, quoted George Bush, “He who harbours a terrorist is also a terrorist.”
He went on to say that the fact that the recommendation was released on September 11th is an insult not only to the victims of the Cuban bombing but also to all those who died in the terrorist attacks in New York in 2001.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has slammed the US governments, “double morality” for refusing to allow his extradition on the grounds he may be tortured in Venezuela. He cited the demands they make on other countries in their “War on Terror” and the detention centres in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba and Abu Ghraib in Iraq, both of which have come under international condemnation for abusing prisoners.
Meanwhile US-Venezuela Trade Soars
While political tensions remain high between the US and Venezuela economic relations keep getting better. According to the President of the Venezuelan American Chamber of Commerce, Edmond Saade, trade between the two countries will top $42 billion by the end of the year.
The main sectors of the Venezuelan economy benefiting from this trade are petroleum, agriculture, aluminium, petrochemical and textiles, “This figure represents 50% of the trade exchange between Venezuela and the rest of the world”, said Saade.