[Marxism] L.A. Times: "Venezuela Seeks Exile's Extradition"

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Fri May 6 15:03:06 MDT 2005

This is one of the best articles on Posada to appear in
the national media of the United States. It spears on the
third page of today's Los Angeles Times. 

Fidel Castro is speaking nearly every night about Posada's 
presence in the U.S. Given the peculiarly "agnostic" stance 
which the Bush administration has - they "don't know" if he
is here in the US - consider this incredible paragraph:

"One Cuban American familiar with Posada's asylum case 
said U.S. officials were encouraging the fugitive to 
leave before a formal response had to be given on his 
request for refuge or the Venezuelan extradition effort."

WALTER AGAIN: How can US officials encourage him to LEAVE 
if they don't know where he IS? This article further gives
the actual date of his "asylum" application. How can they
know such details? Have they seen the application? Applying
for asylum means you must give an address. Where does this
application say that Posada is LIVING???

Readers are strongly encouraged to write letters to the 
LA Times, thanking them for bringing this story to light.
How can the United States say it's fighting terrorism if
it permits such terrorists to enter here? Instead of
encouraging Posada to LEAVE, he should be arrested and
extradited to Venezuela. There he can face his charges
and not the death penalty, since they don't have it.

Write to letters at latimes.com and be sure you put your
name, address and telephone number and indicate that the
letter is for publication.

The L.A. Times ran an excellent story last September about
the welcome Posada's three collaborators got when they also
entered the United States. Posada was said not to be there:

"Amid Cheers, Terrorists Have Landed in the U.S." which
describes how Posada's accomplices entered the US freely
in August of 2004. 
by Julia Sweig and Peter Kornbluh"

And for still more details on Posada, see:

Venezuela Seeks Exile's Extradition
U.S. is asked to hand over a Cuban wanted in the bombing of a Havana-bound
plane. He has requested asylum.
By Carol J. Williams and John-Thor Dahlburg
Times Staff Writers

May 6, 2005

CARACAS, Venezuela - Challenging the United States to make good on its
pledge to hunt down terrorists, Venezuela on Thursday formally requested the
extradition of a radical Cuban exile who is reportedly hiding in Florida and
is wanted here in connection with an airline bombing that killed 73 people.

Accused bomber Luis Posada Carriles' April 13 petition for U.S. asylum has
roiled Washington's already strained relations with Venezuela and sparked
anger in Cuba, the target of the attacks blamed on him. The asylum request
said Posada, 77, had managed to evade homeland security measures and slip
into the U.S.

Posada is a Bay of Pigs veteran and collaborated with the Central
Intelligence Agency in numerous attempts to depose Cuban President Fidel
Castro. He is wanted in Venezuela in the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner en
route from Caracas to Havana. Many of the 73 victims were young Cubans
returning from an athletics competition.

Acquitted twice in the case, Posada escaped from a Caracas jail in 1985
while an appeal was pending. Venezuelan Foreign Minister Ali Rodriguez said
in an interview Thursday that his government had made a formal request
through Interpol that Posada be extradited to face a new trial. Rodriguez
dismissed U.S. officials' claims that they did not know where Posada was.

"Posada Carriles has a long history of relations with the security services
of the United States. It would be difficult for him to hide," Rodriguez

However, U.S. officials repeated Thursday that they had no solid
confirmation of the claim made by a Florida attorney that Posada was in the
country. "We are following up on leads as we would normally do," said
Barbara Gonzalez, spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
in Miami. She refused to speculate whether Posada, if found on U.S. soil,
would be allowed to remain.

On Tuesday, a State Department official suggested that Posada, as "someone
who committed criminal acts," would not merit asylum. "We are a country that
respects the rule of law," said Roger Noriega, the assistant secretary of
State for Western Hemisphere affairs.

Posada is also wanted by Cuba in connection with a 1997 series of hotel
bombings in which an Italian tourist was killed and a dozen other foreigners

In a 1998 interview with a freelance journalist while in hiding, Posada
acknowledged involvement in those attacks. He retracted the statement after
his November 2000 arrest on charges of plotting to assassinate Castro that
month at an Ibero-American summit in Panama.

In a book published in 1994, Posada denied involvement in the midair bombing
of the Cuban airliner, blaming it on the Cuban government.

Among Florida's Cuban exiles, there has been no major groundswell of support
for the old anti-Castro warrior. Luis Martinez-Fernandez, director of Latin
American, Caribbean and Latino studies at the University of Central Florida
in Orlando, said he thought the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, had
made violence in service of a cause seem much less palatable.

"People may identify with his cause, that is of course anti-Castro," he
said. "But the tolerance for these kind of actions is much less after 9/11.
There is a recognition that these are international problems, not a
Venezuelan problem or a U.S. problem."

One Cuban American familiar with Posada's asylum case said U.S. officials
were encouraging the fugitive to leave before a formal response had to be
given on his request for refuge or the Venezuelan extradition effort.

In Panama, Posada and three other Cuban exiles were tried in the alleged
assassination plot targeting Castro and were convicted on reduced charges.
Posada was less than halfway through an eight-year prison sentence when
outgoing Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso pardoned him and the three
others last August. The other three, who had U.S. citizenship, flew to a
hero's welcome in Miami. Posada, who holds both Cuban and Venezuelan
citizenship, apparently went to Honduras.

Castro has demanded Posada's extradition since Cuban media reported in early
April that he had slipped into the United States. In a speech days before
U.S. officials acknowledged receiving Posada's asylum request, Castro
lambasted Washington for "the worst hypocrisy" in claiming to lead the
global war on terrorism while allowing the CIA-trained militant to walk
Miami's streets.

Immigration attorney Eduardo Soto of Coral Gables, Fla., said at a news
conference last month that Posada had entered the U.S. from Mexico in March.
Soto did not respond to requests for an interview.

The reported arrival of Posada in the United States sparked concern among
some lawmakers that U.S. security remains lax. Rep. William D. Delahunt
(D-Mass.) called on the House International Relations Committee to
investigate how Posada could have gotten in and suggested that the U.S.
government, with its long-standing enmity toward the Castro regime, might
have "turned a blind eye."

Rodriguez, the Venezuelan foreign minister, also intimated that Washington
had been complicit. The United States "has intelligence services that are
reputed to be efficient, even if there have been indications of their being
not so efficient, as was clear on Sept. 11," he said.

The extradition request was approved Tuesday by the Venezuelan Supreme
Court, then forwarded to the Interior and Justice Ministry, which delivered
it to Interpol on Thursday.

Castro has said his country would agree to an international court trying
Posada even if that meant forgoing a death sentence. Venezuela does not have
capital punishment, and the Caracas extradition request specifies that
Posada would not face execution if convicted.

Williams reported from Caracas and Dahlburg from Miami.

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