The government of Venezuela headed by President Hugo Chávez has requested Posadas extradition. Posada Carriles, 77, a Venezuelan citizen, would face trial if sent to his country of origin for his role in the 1976 mid-air bombing of a Cuban airliner over Barbados that killed all 73 people aboard.
The Homeland Security Department issued a statement after the arrest saying the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) has 48 hours to rule on Posada Carriless immigration status. As a matter of immigration law and policy, ICE does not generally remove people to Cuba, nor does ICE generally remove people to countries believed to be acting on Cubas behalf, the statement said.
The arrest occurred the same day as a demonstration in Havana of about a million people demanding that Washington act against Posada Carriles.
Posada Carriles has a long history of carrying out violent activity against the Cuban Revolution with U.S. government complicity. In 1961 he was part of the U.S.-organized mercenary invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs, which was quickly crushed by the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces and militia. Afterward, according to his own account in a 1998 New York Times interview, he was recruited by the CIA to carry out assassination attempts against Cuban leaders.
In the 1970s he worked as chief of operations for the Venezuelan secret police. Arrested there for his part in the 1976 Cuban airline bombing, Posada Carriles was allowed to escape from prison in 1985 without being convicted. He then turned up in El Salvador where he worked closely with Lt. Col. Oliver North and other U.S. officials in supplying weapons to Nicaraguan counterrevolutionaries fighting to overthrow the workers and farmers government in Nicaragua.
In the Times interview, Posada Carriles bragged about his involvement in a series of 1997 bombings in Havana, including one at a hotel that killed an Italian tourist. In November 2000 he led a failed assassination attempt in Panama against Cuban president Fidel Castro. He and three other ultrarightists were convicted of charges related to this crime, but were later pardoned by the Panamanian government.
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