Why there should be no asylum for Posada Carriles

Campaign News | Monday, 6 June 2005

CSC Briefing Paper June 2005

In 1985, Luis Posada Carriles escaped from custody in Venezuela where he was awaiting trial for the 1976 bombing of Cubana Airlines flight 455, in which 73 people were killed.

Between 1985 and 2000, Posada was involved in supplying arms to the Contras in Nicaragua, bombing tourist hotels on the Cuban mainland resulting in the death of an Italian tourist in 1997, and several assassination attempts on President Fidel Castro. During one such attempt, in November 2000, Posada was arrested and convicted in Panama and imprisoned until being pardoned by the outgoing Panamanian President in 2004.

Prolific terrorist seeks asylum in the US

On April 12 this year, Posada appealed for political asylum in the United States through his attorneys in Miami. After living openly in Miami for over a month, the Bush government, bowing to intensifying public and international pressure, detained and charged Posada with illegally entering the United States.

On June 13 he will have an immigration hearing during which his lawyer plans to resubmit his petition for asylum and argue that he should be considered a U.S. resident and be allowed to remain in the country.

United States ignores calls for extradition

Venezuela has formally requested the extradition of Luis Posada Carriles, to face trial for the 1976 airline bombing. The Bush administration has so far refused to honour the extradition treaty between the U.S. and Venezuela.

The US authorities claim that the evidence presented by the Venezuelan authorities has not been sufficient to merit the extradition, and add that they will not extradite Posada to Venezuela because from there he will be sent to Cuba.

Fidel Castro has repeatedly renounced Cuba's right to try Posada and has instead argued that he should be turned over to Venezuela or an international tribunal. Venezuela's Vice-President has also given assurances to the United States that they will not hand over Posada to Cuba.

Double standards of the Bush administration's "war on terror"

George W. Bush, November 21 2001

"America has a message for the nations of the world: If you harbor terrorists, you are terrorists. If you train or arm a terrorist, you are a terrorist. If you feed a terrorist or fund a terrorist, you're a terrorist, and you will be held accountable"

The transparent discrepancy between the official position that any country that harbours a terrorist is equally culpable for terrorist activities, the detention without trial of those the US suspects of terrorism in Guantanamo Bay, and the Bush administration's support and coddling of Posada and other anti-Cuban terrorists, such as Orlando Bosch, has made plain the reality of Bush's so-called "war on terror."

As Duncan Campbell, writing in the Guardian (18 May) says:

"the state department has to make its choice: it can acknowledge that blowing up civilian airliners is unacceptable even when the victims are citizens of an "axis of evil" country and duly dispatch Mr Posada for trial to Venezuela, or it can ignore the issue and face further international cynicism."

What is the position of the British government?

An international campaign is being fought to keep up the pressure on the US authorities to extradite Posada Carriles to Venezuela. Already more than 20,000 letters have been sent to the US Government demanding his extradition. Public protests, information and letter writing campaigns have been organised across to globe.

However, so far, the British Government, together with other EU nations, has remained conspicuously silent on the issue of Posada’s extradition. The Cuba Solidarity Campaign is asking Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, to make clear Britain’s opposition to international terrorism and call on the US to extradite Luis Posada Carriles to Venezuela so that he can stand trial.

What you can do

Ensure that Posada Carriles stands trial - Please write to Jack Straw and your MP today

▪ Please write to Jack Straw today asking him to express his concern to US government on its apparent double standards in its treatment of terrorist suspects and to call for the extradition of Luis Posada Carriles to stand trial in Venezuela.

▪ Please write to your MP, asking them to raise this issue in Parliament and with the Foreign Office.

Please send protest letters to: The Rt Hon Jack Straw MP, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, FCO, Old Admiralty Building, London, SW1A 2PA. You can contact your MP by writing to them at House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA, or online at www.faxyourmp.org.uk

Further information:

Posada Carriles and the CIA. George Washington University National Security Archive at www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/index.html

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