Thursday, May 19, 2005

Posada Update IV 

Luis Posada, who was arrested on Tuesday has finally been charged with entering the U.S. illegally. This may, I repeat, may, lead to his extradition to Venezuela. We will have to see if that legal requirement as per the U.S. - Venezuelan mutual extradition treaty is lived up to.

Despite the clammer of loonies in South Florida like Andres Oppenhiember of the Miami Herald, who just want to deport him to Mexico or Panama ?!?!?! (why, so he can blow up more airplanes?) there are some in the media who realize what is at stake. For instance, check out exerpts of the L.A. Times editorial:

Send Him to Caracas
It may outrage the radical fringe in the Cuban exile community in Miami, but the Bush administration did the right thing in ordering Tuesday's arrest of Luis Posada Carriles. Washington now needs to send the old anti-Castro fighter to Venezuela to face charges that he was involved in blowing up a Cuban airplane in 1976, causing 73 deaths.
Washington has pursued a lot of flawed policies to placate anti-Castro activists in the past, but surely no one in this administration will want to go soft on terrorism — or try to define away the problem by claiming that Posada is a legitimate freedom fighter.

Venezuela's judiciary admittedly does not have all the due-process guarantees Posada might have found in a U.S. court, and it may be tempting to try him here under the theory that terrorism is a crime of universal jurisdiction. But it would be a misguided move, seen elsewhere as politically driven and hypocritical. In prosecuting terrorism, the U.S. works with many countries whose legal systems are no worse than Venezuela's.

Moreover, there is a process already underway against Posada in Venezuela. He was tried and acquitted there twice but escaped from jail while awaiting an appeal by prosecutors in 1985. Venezuelan law allows the jailing of defendants until all appeals have been dealt with.

According to recently declassified FBI documents from 1976, Posada was present at two meetings in which the bombing of the Cuban plane departing from Caracas was discussed. In 2000, Posada resurfaced in Panama in the company of three other terrorists previously convicted of serious crimes. The four were tried, convicted and jailed. But then, in August 2004, Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso pardoned the four a few days before she left office. Three of the men went to Miami, where they were greeted like heroes by hard-line exiles. The whereabouts of Posada remained unknown until now.

Why these four violent men were pardoned is a mystery. The fact that three of them were admitted into the U.S. is alarming. Doesn't President Bush mean it when he says no country should harbor those accused of terrorism? To answer that question in the affirmative, U.S. authorities must extradite Posada to Caracas and review the status of any other Cuban exiles in this country who stand accused of terrorism.

I know money is kind of tight in Washington these days with the deficits and all so in an effort to help the Bush Administration do the right thing at a reasonable price here are some possibly usefully links to help get this terrorist on a plane bound for Caracas: Expedia, Travelocity, Priceline.com, CheapTickets.com.


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