The United States formally charged Luis Posada Carriles, wanted by Cuba and Venezuela to face terrorism charges, with illegally entering the country, as Venezuela pressed hard for his extradition.
“US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has served Mr. Posada with a charging document alleging that he entered the United States without inspection in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA),” it said in a statement.
“ICE has also notified Mr. Posada that it plans to hold him in custody without bond,” it added.
“If he so desires, Mr. Posada will have the opportunity to seek a re-determination of his custody status at a bond hearing before an immigration judge. At such a bond hearing, ICE would present its arguments for holding him without bond,” the agency said.
“There are no charges of anything else, whether it is terrorism or other allegations,” Posada Carriles’ lawyer, Eduardo Soto, said.
Still, Posada Carriles might be in and out of court for some time, even if he is released on bail, Soto said.
“You could be looking at a two-year process,” he said.
Declassified US documents released last week link Posada Carriles, a Cuban-born naturalized Venezuelan, to the bombing of a Cuban airliner in 1976, in which 73 people died. They also said he worked for the CIA at least from 1965 until June 1976.
US federal agents arrested Posada Carriles, 77, Tuesday in Miami but he was moved to Texas, a close friend said.
In 2000, Panama convicted and sentenced Posada Carriles to eight years in prison for trying to kill Castro at a summit in the Central American country, but he was pardoned in 2004.
Venezuela formally has requested his extradition. Officials there want Posada Carriles to stand trial for the plane bombing.
Cuba also wants Posada Carriles for the 1997 bombings of Havana hotels, one of which killed an Italian tourist. Posada Carriles admitted in a New York Times interview that he plotted the bombings, though he later recanted the admission. But Cuba has said it supports Posada’s extradition to Venezuela.
“We are demanding consistency,” Venezuelan Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel stressed in Caracas, saying Washington appeared to be trying to skirt its extradition treaty obligations.
“It cannot be that there is good terrorism and bad terrorism. Every terrorist deed that is against human life is reprehensible,” Rangel said, insisting it would be “a perverse contradiction if (the United States) refuses to extradite” Posada.
The United States has said it would not extradite Posada Carriles to Cuba or any country acting in Cuba’s name—in a clear reference to Venezuela, a close ally of Havana.
Venezuela, Rangel said, “Even if there were no Cuba, would be demanding Posada Carriles, because this is about the Venezuelan state carrying out justice,” he said.
In Havana Cuban President Fidel Castro charged the United States is protecting Posada Carriles, an ex-CIA collaborator.
“It is evident that the US government’s goal is to protect Posada Carriles and avoid him being tried,” Castro said on official television late Wednesday.
The United States “is experiencing a horrible fear of what he might tell an impartial court—so many secrets,” said Castro.
“The world has the duty, in my view, to support Venezuela,” Castro said. “There must be no secret trial; that is what they would like (in Washington). The ‘Empire’ (as he calls the United States) must not be allowed to keep acting with such impunity.”
Among the secrets Posada Carriles could spill, Castro charged, are his close cooperation alongside anti-Castro militant Orlando Bosch with Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship in Chile “in the assassination of Chilean communists and anti-fascist fighters in that country.”