Luis Posada Carriles won't be extradited to Venezuela
Posted: 12/30/2010 12:00:00 AM MST
The U.S. government is not going to extradite Luis Posada Carriles to Venezuela because he faces possible torture by the authorities there, one of his lawyers said Wednesday.
The Venezuelan government is seeking Posada's extradition for his alleged role in the 1976 terroristic bombing of a Cuban jetliner that killed 73 people, something Posada has denied.
Felipe Millan, Posada's El Paso lawyer, said a Venezuelan court tried Posada twice on terrorism charges and acquitted him both times.
"Posada escaped because he grew tired of being in prison for nine years for nothing," Millan said. "He was the national director of intelligence in Venezuela at one time, and his job then was to keep the country in line within democratic principles."
Nicaragua also wants Posada, who is a native of Cuba, but Millan says he has not seen the arrest warrant.
Millan said Nicaragua wants Posada for his role in helping the Contras, the U.S.-supported group that fought against the Marxist Sandinistas during the 1980s. It was part of the U.S. government's effort to contain the spread of communism in Latin America.
Posada, a former CIA operative, faces a federal trial in El Paso on Jan. 10 on immigration-related charges. Although Millan said he cannot comment on the coming case, he was willing to discuss Posada's history.
According to a declassified U.S. government document, the CIA acknowledged having had a relationship with Posada in the past. The document states that Posada "lost his position with (the intelligence agency) in the Venezuelan government in March 1974 as a result of a change in the Venezuelan government and was amicably terminated."
On Jan. 9, former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark will be part of a "people's tribunal" to try Posada on terrorism charges. The people's tribunal is a symbolic proceeding that does not carry legal weight.
Posada, 82, was in Cuba when Fidel Castro launched his revolution and toppled the government. Posada joined Cubans who opposed Castro, and he has waged a lifetime battle to remove the Cuban dictator from power.
Diana Washington Valdez may be reached at dvaldez@ elpasotimes.com; 546-6140.
Luis Posada Carriles won't be extradited to Venezuela - El Paso Times