Friday, June 17, 2005

Venezuela Watch: 6/17/2005

Hard Cases Make For Bad Law

From The BBC: 'Plane bomber' extradition sought
Venezuela has made a formal request to the US to extradite a militant Cuban exile wanted over the downing of an airliner which killed 73 people.

Caracas says Luis Posada Carriles is a "terrorist" and is urging the US not to protect the ex-CIA informant.

The case has strained ties between the two countries, with Venezuela accusing the US of double standards.

Mr Posada Carriles, 77, who denies involvement in the 1976 bombing, is in US custody seeking political asylum.

"It is up to the state department to decide if it will protect a terrorist or not," said Venezuelan Vice Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez.

The request was based on a 1922 bilateral extradition treaty and other international accords, said the Venezuelan ambassador in Washington, Bernardo Alvarez.

He said the extradition process should not be held up by the immigration charges against Mr Posada Carriles.
So, what exactly is the problem here?
He is also wanted by President Fidel Castro's regime for a series of bombings of hotels in Havana in 1997.

The US says it will not extradite people to any country which could then hand them over to Cuba.
Please note that it is not necessary for the Venezuelan government to "hand over" Carriles, as the Cubans have been granted the right to make arrests within the borders of Venezuela (see Democracy Venezuelan Style). I doubt that Carriles will stand trial in Venezuela and would expect him to be transported almost immediately to Havana. The Venezuelan government can claim the same propaganda victory whether he is tried in Havana or in Caracas. The Havana option allows them to avoid the cost of the trial.