US immigration judge William L. Abbott issued a written ruling on Sept. 26 in El Paso, TX, that the Convention Against Torture (CAT) bars the US from deporting Cuban-born right-winger Luis Posada Carriles to Venezuela. Abbott accepted the contention by Posada’s legal team that he might be tortured in Venezuela, where he is a naturalized citizen. Abbott also ruled out Cuba as a destination for Posada but didn’t rule out deportation to a third country.
Posada is a longtime “asset” of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) who has been accused of several terrorist acts against Cuba, including the 1976 bombing of a Cubana de Aviacion airliner in which 73 people died. US immigration authorities detained him in Florida on May 17 of this year, two months after he entered the US illegally; they have held him in El Paso since then. Venezuela filed an extradition request on May 27 in connection with the 1976 bombing, but the US has yet to act on it. The immigration judge’s ruling has no bearing on the extradition request, which “remains in effect more than ever,” according to Washington, DC attorney Jose Pertierra, who is representing Venezuela.
Bernardo Alvarez, Venezuelan ambassador to the US, said on Sept. 28 that there “isn’t a shred of evidence” that Posada would be mistreated in Venezuela. “Venezuela is prepared to offer him a house made of gold and feed him caviar every day if he is extradited to stand trial,” Alvarez said in a statement, calling Posada “the Osama bin Laden of Latin America.” “I believe that when they refer to the existence of torture in Cuba they must be referring to their base in Guantanamo,” Venezuelan vice president Jose Vicente Rangel said, in a reference to reports of abuses against some of the hundreds of Muslim men the US is holding at its naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (AP, Sept. 28; South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Sept. 28; Venanalysis.com, Sept. 28; Chicago Tribune, Sept 29)
From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Oct. 9
See our last post on the Posada Carriles case.