Luis Posada Carriles
has been arrested
Urgent Action Needed:
Extradition to Venezuela
About 3:30 pm ET today, Luis Posada Carriles was detained by customs and immigration police, according to a live report from Andres Gomez of the Antonio Maceo Brigade in Miami. Posada was reportedly flown by the Department of Homeland Security to Homestead Air Force Base, although that base is not in operation.
It is not clear what the U.S. government plans to do with him. It is urgent that the demand of extradition to Venezuela be honored by the U.S. government. It is from Venezuela that Posada and Oslando Bosch planned the 1976 bombing of Cubana Airlines Flight 455.
In the past month more than 20,000 letters have been sent to Bush and Congress as part of the "No Asylum for Posada" campaign initiated by the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition. On May 13, we held a press conference in Washington, DC that received widespread media coverage. On April 21 a press conference was held by leaders and activists in Miami opposing asylum for Posada Carriles. This public pressure campaign has effectively ripped away the mask the Bush Administration wears on the issue of "terrorism." The transparent discrepancy between the official position that any country that harbors a terrorist is equally culpable for terrorist activities, and the Bush administration's support and coddling of Posada and other anti-Cuban terrorists, has made plain for many people in the United States the reality of Bush's so-called "war on terrorism."
As we pointed out at the May 13 press conference, the Administration's claims to ignorance about Posada's whereabouts - and therefore their assertion that there was nothing for them to do - were baseless, particularly in light of his asylum petition, which requires that he be called in for an asylum interview and if he failed to appear his request be denied. Also on May 13, Venezuela submitted a direct formal request to the U.S. for extradition of Posada (previously it has been submitted through Interpol) which the Bush Administration is now forced to contend with. Today Posada was scheduled for that asylum interview at 7 a.m., and reportedly did not go.
Posada and his representatives announced today that he was now going to leave the U.S. because of the pressure on the Bush Administration. Just prior to his arrest today, 1.5 million Cubans took to the streets, marching past the U.S. Interest Section in Havana. According to the Associated Press, "'This is not a march against the people of the United States,' said the 78-year-old Castro, differentiating between Americans and their government. 'It is a march against terrorism, in favor of life and of peace.'"
The question now for U.S. authorities is whether they will take Posada Carriles to some safe haven either inside or outside the U.S. or whether they will extradite him to Venezuela from which he is a fugitive. Venezuela is the site of the planning of the horrible bombing of the Cubana flight. People of the United States must keep up the pressure to demand extradited to Venezuela for trial.
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