Thirty-three years ago today, October 6, Luis Posada Carriles orchestrated an act of international terrorism that resulted in the cold-blooded murder of 73 innocent civilians aboard a passenger plane. While awaiting trial in Venezuela for first-degree murder as the mastermind of the terrorist plot, Posada Carriles escaped from prison. There is a warrant for his arrest in Venezuela, as well as pending criminal proceedings against him.
After continuing his reign of terror in Central America in the ensuing years, Posada Carriles eventually made his way illegally into the United States in March of 2005. On June 15, 2005, Venezuela requested that the United States detain and extradite him, pursuant to treaties and international conventions. The United States has thus far sidestepped our extradition request and instead charged him for minor immigration-related infractions. The terrorist remains free in the streets of Miami.
On this sad anniversary, the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Washington, D.C., wishes to remember the victims of Cubana de Aviación 455: Sabrina Paul, the little nine-year old Guyanese girl aboard the aircraft. Nancy Uranga, the twenty-two year old Cuban fencer, pregnant with a child who never had a chance at life. Raymond Persaud, the nineteen-year old medical student from Guyana on his way to medical school in Havana. Carlos Cremata Trujillo, the forty-one year old flight dispatcher and amateur dramatist. Gold medal nineteen-year old fencer from Havana, Enrique Figueredo del Valle. Let us remember them, and all the 73 persons aboard that ill-fated passenger airplane who were brutally murdered by Luis Posada Carriles on October 6, 1976. Each of them left family members behind: mothers, fathers, wives, husbands and children. Only nine of the 73 bodies were recovered at sea. The families have yet to bring their grief to closure.
The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela will remain committed to bringing Luis Posada Carriles to Justice in Caracas for 73 counts of first-degree murder. We will never forget one of the most terrible acts of modern terrorism committed in the hemisphere.
Bernardo Alvarez Herrera
Ambassador of the Bolivarian
Republic of Venezuela in the United States
October 6, 2009.