Washington, DC, October 9, 2006—Venezuela once again demanded the extradition of the terrorist, Luis Posada Carriles, last Friday. The call was made by Venezuelan foreign minister, Nicolás Maduro on the thirtieth anniversary of the bombing of Cubana airline flight 455, which cost the lives of 73 passengers. Posada has been accused and implicated in the act, but has never stood trial. New documents were further put forth in his case last week as the US announced that he would not be immediately released from the El Paso jail where he is currently being held on immigration charges, for entering the United States illegally last spring.
During a press conference last Friday, Maduro called Posada guilty and the bombing, a “an abominable and monstrous event.” Maduro further criticized the double standard of the Bush administration regarding international terrorism.
“On the one hand, they attack terrorism, but on the other they protect terrorists. This immoral conduct has been condemned in diverse scenarios by the Venezuelan government, President Hugo Chávez condemned it recently in his speech before the UN and because of the impact which his speech made, for the first time in all of these years calling for the deportation of Posada Carriles, the North American press and television picked up the criticism of the US government’s protection. This objective was achieved with Chávez’ speech,” said Maduro.
Maduro went on to say, “For the first time since Venezuela solicited his extradition a year and a half ago, they have introduced a written document to be evaluated where for the first time they recognize that this sad character, this assassin, could be a danger for the community in the United States and recognize that there are public documents with evidence that he could be involved in terrorist acts such as the bombing of the Cuban airliner.”
Although the United States stopped short of naming Posada Carriles a terrorist, it responded with the harshest condemnation of him yet last Thursday. In papers filed by the Justice Department in the Federal Court in El Paso, he was described as “an unrepentant criminal and admitted mastermind of terrorist plots and attacks on tourist sites.”
This does not appear to be enough to try him, however, and the United States has decided to continue to treat the case as an immigration issue. It is unknown what the next steps may be. Some rumors in Washington hold that he could be up for release in less than two weeks.
In March, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement refused to release Posada because they said he was a, “danger to the community and a risk to the national security of the U.S.” Nevertheless, a Federal judge recommended last month, on September 11, that Posada be released because he could not be extradited for fear of torture, and no country had been found to which to deport him to. It is unknown how much weight these latest Justice Department recommendations will hold.
Deportation or Extradition
Although both Venezuela and Cuba have called for the extradition of Posada, the US has so far refused on the grounds that he may face torture in both countries.
Posada is wanted by both countries for the same airline bombing and was in jail in Venezuela and set to stand trial when he escaped in 1985. In Panama, Posada was implicated in a plot to kill Cuban President Fidel Castro during a visit there and pardoned in 2004 by the outgoing President.
The US has attempted to deport Posada, but so far it appears that no one wants the burden, and already over a half dozen countries have turned down the request.
Posada Carriles, a former CIA agent, has been in prison since being picked up on immigration charges of entering the US illegally last spring. This has put the United States in the awkward position of attempting to walk its talk of waging the war against terror, while still protecting one of their own.
According to the New York Times, Jose Pertierra, A Washington lawyer representing Venezuela in its effort to extradite Posada said, “The fights against terrorism cannot be fought a la carte… a terrorist is a terrorist.”
But Posada’s El Paso Lawyer, Felipe D.J. Millan, said, “How can you call someone a terrorist who allegedly committed acts on your behalf? This would be the equivalent of calling Patrick Henry or Paul Revere or Benjamin Franklin a terrorist.”
New unclassified documents were released last week by George Washington University’s Nation Security Archives, which further highlight Posada’s involvement in the bombing and his links to the CIA.
Book tour- Anniversary of Bombing
French author, professor and Cuban specialist, Salim Lamrani, is currently touring the United States with his latest book, Superpower Principles, which is a compilation of various essays written by himself and others including Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky and Leonard Weinglass regarding US foreign policy towards Cuba, Posada Carriles, and the Cuban Five.
Last Friday, on the 30th Anniversary of the Cubana bombing, the tour was at MIT in Boston, where Lamrani held a talk with acclaimed Chomsky, Michael Avery (President of the National Lawyer’s Guild) and others.
The tour will be in Northern California early this week at the following locations:
Monday October 9th
Sonoma State Universtiy, 7:30pm
1801 Cotati Ave , Darwin 103 , Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa, CA
Featuring: Peter Phillips and Salim Lamrani
Tuesday October 10
Black Oak Books, 7:30pm
1491 Shattuck Ave. , Berkeley, CA
Featuring: Michael Parenti and Salim Lamrani
Wednesday October 11
Stanford University , 7:30pm
History Corner, Building 200, Room 205
Featuring: Salim Lamrani