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Venezuela Demands that the Law be Observed in Posada Carriles Case

(Washington, D.C., May 23, 2005 ? Embassy of Venezuela Press) ? The Ambassador of Venezuela to the United States, Bernardo Alvarez, stated today that Venezuela demands that the case of Luis Posada Carriles be treated as a legal matter, not a political one. Alvarez was responding to statements made today by the spokesman of the U.S. State Department, who declared that the United States was dealing with the matter in accordance with the law. ?This is exactly what Venezuela has been requesting and what we expect that be done,? stated Alvarez.

Alvarez added that Venezuela respects the legal processes of the United States, but cannot accept that the Posada Carriles case be treated as a simple immigration-related matter. ?No one would understand this and it would prove to contradict everything the Bush Administration has said and fought for in the war on terrorism,? he noted.

Venezuela hopes that the terms of the extradition treaty between the United States and Venezuela be respected, specifically those provisions related to fugitives of the law. Posada Carriles, who is of Cuban and Venezuelan nationality, is accused of homicide and escaped from a Venezuelan prison in 1985.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has stated that he will await the outcome of the case, but has also stated that if the terms of the existing extradition treaty are not respected, he will evaluate diplomatic relations with the United States, much as any other country would do.

Ambassador Alvarez explained that on May 13, 2005, Venezuela delivered to the U.S. State Department a request for the preventative detention with the purpose of extradition of Posada Carriles. On this he stated: ?We are still awaiting that the competent authorities on this matter study the case and inform the Government of Venezuela of their decision and what procedures they will follow.?

Venezuela introduced the request prior to Posada Carriles? capture by U.S. immigration authorities and after he appeared at a press conference. Venezuela made the request once it was apparent that Posada Carriles was residing in the city of Miami.

Ambassador Alvarez similarly ratified that the Government of Venezuela has no intentions of sending Posada Carriles to Cuba, because ?there are no legal grounds on which to do so,? he stated. ?The Constitution prohibits this from happening, a fact that various government ministries have verified,? he continued.

Alvarez reiterated statements made by President Chavez this last Sunday, when he insisted upon continuing the international fight against terrorism and using international instruments that further that fight. ?In this he was referring to the presence of Posada Carriles in the United States and the crimes this man has committed,? explained Alvarez.

Rumors have spread that Posada Carriles? lawyers will have a hearing a request that he be freed on bail. ?We hope that this is simply a matter of rumors,? stated Alvarez, ?since sufficient evidence exists to link this individual to various terrorist attacks over the years. We hope that if this hearing be granted, the U.S. government heed our request for Posada Carriles? preventative detention with the goal of extradition,? he continued. ?It would be contradictory that a man accused of terrorism be freed on bail.?

Various different sectors within the United States have requested that U.S. President George W. Bush not allow Posada Carriles to be granted political asylum, and that he support his extradition to Venezuela.

Ambassador Alvarez highlighted a letter sent by twenty members of the U.S. Congress to President Bush, in which they recounted the crimes Posada Carriles has been accused of. The text of the letter states: ?On August 26, 2003, President Bush stated that ?if you offer refuge to a terrorist, if you feed a terrorist, you?re as guilty as the terrorist.??

The letter sent to President Bush also noted that ?many innocent victims that were Cuban were killed at the hands of Posada, in crimes similarly horrifying as those that killed innocent victims in the United States on September 11, 2001. Not only is it unimaginable to grant this terrorist asylum, but also to deny justice to all the victims of his crimes.?

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