Chavez threatens to break US relations over Posada Carriles affair

Posada Carriles – the 77-year-old former CIA asset and accused terrorist – was charged last week with illegal entry into the US and is being detained by the Homeland Security Department at Florida’s Homestead Air Force Base. US authorities have remained silent on whether he will be extradited to Venezuela to face terrorism charges. (Prensa Latina, May 18) (See our last blog post on the affair)

Yesterday, Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez publicly broached breaking diplomatic ties with the US if Washington refuses to extradite. “If they don’t extradite him (Mr Posada Carriles) in the time allowed in our agreement, we will review our relations with the United States,” Chavez said in his regular Sunday TV programme. Washington has up to 60 days to consider Venezuela’s extradition request under a 1922 treaty between the two countries.

Chavez said Caracas would decide “if it worth having an embassy in the United States, wasting money, or for the United States to have an embassy here.” He aded: “It is difficult, very difficult, to maintain ties with a government that so shamelessly hides and protects international terrorism.”

Chavez last week described Mr Posada Carriles as “a self-confessed terrorist.” (BBC, May 23)