Venezuela rallies over Posada

Campaign News | Sunday, 29 May 2005

Thousands march in Caracas

Caracas, 28 May: Tens of thousands of Venezuelans have rallied in the capital Caracas to demand the US extradites a Cuban exile accused of bombing an airliner in 1976.

The march came a day after the US rejected Venezuela's request for it to arrest Cuban-born Luis Posada Carriles, saying there was not enough evidence.

Mr Posada Carriles is in US custody on suspected immigration violations.

The ex-CIA employee denies involvement in the bombing that killed 73 people on the flight from Caracas to Havana.

The naturalised Venezuelan citizen is wanted by both Cuba and Venezuela in connection with the attack.

Supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez took to the streets of the capital, blowing whistles and chanting anti-US slogans.

The BBC's Iain Bruce in Caracas says there was good humour and dancing, but despite the festive mood among protesters it is clear that many people feel strongly about the issue.

Some accused US President George W Bush of double standards.

"Bush is protecting a terrorist while he is supposedly fighting against terrorism - that's hypocrisy," Pedro Caldera said.

Mr Posada Carriles was charged last week with illegal entry into the US.

The 77-year-old faces a hearing at a US immigration court on 13 June, at which he is expected to apply for asylum.

On Friday the US state department said it had rejected Venezuela's initial request for Mr Posada Carriles to be detained with a view to extradition, because they said it had not been backed up by adequate evidence.

Now the government in Caracas has announced it will be handing over the full 700 page extradition request on Tuesday.

Mr Posada Carriles was acquitted by Venezuelan courts of plotting to bomb the plane.

He escaped from a Venezuelan prison in 1985 while awaiting a trial on appeal.

The US says it will not deport Mr Posada Carriles to any country that would hand him over to Fidel Castro's regime in Cuba.

Caracas says it will not hand Mr Posada Carriles over, and Mr Castro has said he will be happy to see him tried in Venezuela.

Caracas, May 27 (Prensa Latina) One million Venezuelans will march in Caracas Saturday against terrorism and for the extradition of Luis Posada Carriles, the president of Venezuela?s National Assembly (AN), Nicolas Maduro, affirmed Friday.

The parliament official explained the nearly 9.4-mile march will also pronounce in favor of the state PDVSA oil company, which is being barraged by media campaigns both in the country and abroad.

The AN president pointed out recent polls reveal over 80 percent of the Venezuelan population supports the anti-terrorist fight.

"The US has only one alternative: extraditing Posada to our territory to try him for the explosion of the Cuban plane in 1976 and other crimes. This will finish off his impunity and terrorist activities," he stated.

"We want democracy, stability, world peace and equilibrium, and the only way to achieve them is by unmasking and trying terrorists," Maduro stressed.

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