Venezuela to request Posada's extradition from Obama administration

Venezuela will soon ask the Obama administration to extradite accused terrorist Luis Posada Carriles to Venezuela on charges that he masterminded the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner that killed 73 people, the New York Times reported.

According to the Times, the request will "test the new administration's willingness to engage on a festering issue that has further strained America's relations with Venezuela and Cuba."

Posada was imprisoned in Venezuela for nine years while facing charges of plotting the bombing with another Cuban exile, but escaped in 1985 to El Salvador aboard a shrimp boat. He has lived freely in Miami since 2007, when a federal judge in Texas threw out an indictment on immigration violations.

"The Bush administration did not want to extradite Posada, because of its close ties to extremist elements in Miami that protect Posada," said José Pertierra, a lawyer in Washington who represents Venezuela's government. "We are hopeful that the Obama administration will see the case differently."

Venezuela first submitted its request in 2005. Mr. Posada still faces immigration charges and a criminal investigation in New Jersey linking him to a separate bombing campaign in Cuba in the 1990s.

"U.S. credibility on fighting terrorism makes it imperative for the new administration to move the Posada case toward justice," said Peter Kornbluh, a Cuba specialist at the National Security Archive.

Source: CCT

Pix of the victims of the 1976 bombing. Havana in 2007.
(A Roque/AFP)