The Guardian 18 May, 2005

Anti-Cuban terrorist seeks asylum in US

Luis Posada Carriles is the prime suspect in the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner which cost 73 people their lives. He is believed to have entered the US illegally seven weeks ago. “Mr. Posada, 77, sneaked back into Florida … in an effort to seek political asylum for having served as a cold war soldier on the payroll of the Central Intelligence Agency in the 1960s, his lawyer, Eduardo Soto, said at a news conference last month”, the New York Times reported last week. “Mr Posada was involved ‘up to his eyeballs’ in planning the attack, said Carter Cornick, a retired counter-terrorism specialist for the Federal Bureau of Investigation who investigated Mr Posada’s role in that case.”

Cuba is calling for his arrest and extradition for trial, not only for the airliner attack, but also for other terrorist attacks that he has acknowledged planning, including one in 1997 that killed an Italian businessman visiting Havana.

Venezuela has made an extradition request as it was the main base of Posada’s operations during the period of the airliner bombing. According to the New York Times a newly declassified 1976 FBI document places Mr Posada, who had been a senior Venezuelan intelligence officer, at two meetings where the bombing was planned.

The Bush administration which has already locked up five Cubans for their pursuit of genuine terrorists, is now faced with another test of its double standards. The strict “anti-terrorist” security provisions in place have so far resulted in making it much harder for genuine refugees fleeing deadly persecution in their home countries to find sanctuary in the US. Will the Bush administration put out the welcome mat to a self-confessed terrorist?

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