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Luis Posada Carriles

Venezuela’s embassy in the U.S. said today that it will continue to seek the extradition of Luis Posada Carriles, who is wanted for the bombing of a Cuban airplane in 1976. The U.S. government had turned down Venezuela’s request late last week to arrest Posada Carriles, saying that Venezuela had provided insufficient documentation for its request.

The Venezuelan embassy in the U.S. says that it is still interested in having the U.S. arrest Posada Carriles and that it would provide additional documentation to substantiate the Venezuelan government’s claim that Posada Carriles was indeed involved in the 1976 bombing in which 73 persons lost their lives.

Posada Carriles, a Cuban-Venezuelan, was detained two weeks ago by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), for having entered the U.S. illegally. The INS is currently considering whether to deport him to Mexico, the country from which he entered the U.S. According to the Venezuelan Embassy, “It is imperative for the Government of Venezuela that the request for provisional arrest with the purpose of extradition be fulfilled, so as to prevent Posada from avoiding the judicial actions against him in Venezuela once again.”

Posada had escaped from a Venezuelan prison in 1985, while his case was being appealed. He is thus wanted not just for the bombing, but also for being a fugitive. Tom Davis, a Republican Congressman from Virginia, said today that in his opinion Posada “is a terrorist” and that “we have to be vigilant that Venezuela’s demands are treated impartially and that the parties involved take everything into consideration.” He also said that it would take weeks before a final decision would be reached on whether Posada will be turned over to Venezuela. Davis was part of a larger delegation of Republican U.S. Congress members who were visiting Venezuela as part of a Latin America tour.

[Representative Frank Wolf also of Virginia dropped in on a Committee meeting of the Venezuelan National Assembly, where the fiery pro-Chavez legislator Iris Valera gave a strongly worded declaration attacking U.S. intervention in Venezuela, particularly with regard to the U.S. government’s support of the opposition group Sumate. Wolf told the committee that he would advocate increasing U.S. aid to Sumate.]