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Posted August 31, 2005 by publisher in Cuba Human Rights

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Ex-CIA operative won’t be sent back to Havana

REUTERS

EL PASO, Texas—A U.S. immigration judge ruled yesterday that if an asylum-seeking former CIA operative from Cuba is deported, he would be sent to Venezuela—where he has been charged in connection with the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner—and not returned to his Communist homeland.

The decision by U.S. Immigration Judge William Abbott came in advance of a hearing on the asylum application of 77-year-old Luis Posada Carriles, which was expected to last three to five days.

Posada, who has admitted working against Cuban President Fidel Castro and to a role in the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion, has been wanted in Venezuela since escaping from prison there in 1985.

He is accused of plotting the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner that killed 73 people. The Venezuelan government has asked the United States for his extradition. Posada has denied involvement in the bombing and is seeking asylum in the United States. The U.S. hearing related to his immigration status and did not address the criminal charges he faces in Venezuela.

The case has placed President Bush’s administration in a difficult position as it tries to balance its support among the powerful anti-Castro Cuban-American community with its global campaign against terrorism.

Left-wing Venezuelan President Hugo Chvez and his ally Castro say Posada is a terrorist and accuse Washington of protecting the Cuban exile because of his past work for U.S. intelligence agencies.

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